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NSF head planning ‘global research council’

Subra Suresh, director of the US National Science Foundation, is keen to start talking about establishing a “global research council”, he told a meeting in London on 13 July.

Speaking at the Royal Society, Suresh said such a council would support multilateral collaborations on big science projects and on work to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges.

He plans to host an international meeting in Washington on the process of scientific merit review as a “first step” towards this goal.

He gave the talk after meeting the heads of research councils from the G8 group of industrialised countries at a two-day summit in Warwick this week.

Suresh said that he had already held discussions with Research Councils UK on sharing data on issues such as obesity as an important part of scientific collaboration.

Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, told Suresh that he could envisage at least a global “alliance” of research councils.

He added that the European Research Council, another example of international cooperation in this area, had made an impact since its inception in 2007, despite its tendency to be “a bit bureaucratic”.