The launch of Science Europe was announced at a festive launch event held in Berlin on 21 October this year. The organisation, based in Brussels, will act to bring together 50 research and funding organisations from across Europe, to foster excellence in European research by promoting the interests of its members and streamlining the coordination of policies and activities.
The event, held following the final general assembly and dissolution of the European Heads of Research Councils the day before, was attended by around 150 prominent figures from the scientific and political community: including the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan Quinn; the German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Annette Schavan; and the Director of the US National Science Foundation Subra Suresh.
In 2012, Science Europe will form six scientific committees, composing leading European researchers and covering all scientific disciplines, to guide the organisation in its strategic outlook, policies and direction.
Science Europe has been being planned for two years, and a Pilot Board, with a pilot office in Brussels having been operating since February this year. It is planned to expand the secretariat in 2012 with 15 to 20 full time staff to carry out the day to day operation of the organisation.
“I am convinced that Science Europe will bring benefits not only to its members, but also to the European Commission, by being a strong partner for dialogue between the actors of the European Research area,” says Dieter Imboden, President of the Swiss National Science Foundation, and the chair of the Science Europe Pilot Board.
At the launch event the founding General Assembly of Science Europe approved the organisation regulations, the plans for the upcoming year and elected the governing officers for their first two year term. Paul Boyle, of UK Research Councils and the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council was elected president.
Boyle said: “Science Europe will provide a strong single voice for research funding and performing organisations in Europe; it is essential for us to work together to support research to address the global challenges we face today”.
In addition, André Syrota, the Director General of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research; and Pär Omling, a former General Director of the Swedish Research Council; were elected vice-president. Franci Demšar,Matthias Kleiner, Christoph Kratky, Toivo Maimets, Karl Ulrich Mayer, Elisabeth Monard and József Pálinkás will form the members of the Governing Board.