European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker today hosted a working lunch for a group of Nobel Laureates. Sir Paul Nurse, Jules Hoffmann, Serge Haroche, Jean Tirole and Edvard Moser, and Wolf-prize laureate László Lovász were joined by Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness; and Commissioner Moedas, responsible for Research, Science and Innovation.
They exchanged views on the proposed European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), and proposed budget cuts for Horizon2020. The laureates were there to defend the ERC budget, hoping to avoid a proposed 221 million Euro cut in basic research funding.
Edvard Moser is optimistic after the meeting.
–My impression is that the Commission understands the importance of basic research and that they will act on our advice and spare the ERC from significant budget cuts, Moser says.
The President also endorsed Commissioner Moedas’ recommendation to set up a mechanism for high quality, timely, independent scientific advice. The future mechanism will draw on the wide range of scientific expertise in Europe through a close relationship with national academies and other bodies, coordinated by a High-Level Group of Independent Scientists.
This is a long awaited initiative for scientists and the world of research. See news story in Sciencemag.