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EU’s research and innovation councils plan ways to cooperate

Joint thematic workshops planned for areas including cell and gene therapy

The European Research Council and European Innovation Council—flagship EU funders of basic research and the growth of R&D-based businesses respectively—have said they are working on ways to collaborate more.

A joint statement published on 18 May by the Scientific Council of the ERC and the advisory board of the EIC said that the two bodies met a day earlier to consider the opportunities presented by both funders operating within the EU’s 2021-27 R&D programme, Horizon Europe. Although the ERC has been running since 2007, the EIC only this year became a fully fledged scheme following a multi-year pilot.

“We are fully committed to ensure that the ERC and the EIC support the best European talent and we look forward to harvesting the benefits of further cooperation aimed at reinforcing this shared community, because there is no future for Europe without research and innovation,” the bodies said. They listed common goals, including nurturing “the best talent in research and in innovation”, recognising “that many ERC researchers are also innovators and many EIC innovators also are researchers”.

One previously announced initiative for fostering cooperation between the two funders is the creation of an EIC Transition scheme intended to help recipients of ERC Proof of Concept funding to further develop their research-based ideas for innovations with commercialisation potential.

An additional area for cooperation set out in the joint statement was “the identification of research trends emerging among ERC-funded projects, which can inform the development of revolutionary technologies that the EIC can fund”. The bodies also said that the ERC and EIC will host joint thematic workshops on topics including cell and gene therapy, and energy storage, in 2021.

The R&D commissioner Mariya Gabriel said the EU society and economy “need research and innovation to thrive”, adding that she was “happy” to see the ERC and EIC strengthening their collaboration.