Jean-Pierre Bourguignon has just been nominated president of the European Research Council (ERC). He gives his first exclusive video interview as ERC president to EuroScientist.
Jean-Pierre Bourguignon’s ambitions in this new role as well as issues related to research in Europe
He notes the challenges ahead, associated with working at European level with the very best scientists of all disciplines. When doing research, he views the need to respect diversity among various research disciplines as key.
From his experience of working as a mathematician, he also believes that research has to be open ended. There is a need to leave the door open to build flexibility to allow researchers to perform their work and avoid being too bureaucratic when managing research.
When asked about what areas of the ERC he wants to improve, he explains that the the Council is about frontier research, which funds new ideas, completely non-traditional ways of looking at science, and thus requires grant committees to take risks when allocating funding.
He shares his views on the role that ERC has to play, among other similar funding bodies, to encourage the next generation of young people to embark on a scientific career in Europe. He talks about the potential threats to Europe, should the next generation of scientists not become a reality.
Finally, now that a new map of research has emerged on the global stage, he thinks that Europe has to understand its new position to ensure that it continues its long tradition of research.
Find out more about his vision for the ERC in our separate print interview.