[Reblog]: Europe’s New Basic Research Chief Ready to Defend Fundamental Science


© Jean-François Dars

Jean-Pierre Bourguignon

Today, the European Commission announced that French mathematician Jean-Pierre Bourguignon has been appointed the new president of the European Research Council (ERC), the European Union’s main funding agency for basic research. (News of his appointment leaked in late October, but the commission did not confirm it at the time.)

Bourguignon, who will formally start on 1 January, comes to the agency just at the start of Horizon 2020, the European Union’s new 7-year research program, in which ERC sees its budget increase to about €13 billion, or almost €2 billion annually. That’s almost double its budget under Horizon 2020’s 7-year predecessor, which ends this month.

Bourguignon retired in August after 19 years at the helm of the Institute of Advanced Scientific Studies, a private institute near Paris; he has also been a fellow at France’s National Center for Scientific Research for the past 45 years. ScienceInsider talked to Bourguignon about his views and plans; questions and answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Q: Why did you decide to take the job?

European Research Council (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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