Jean-Pierre Bourguignon appointed next President of the European Research Council

Source: European Commission (EC) i, published on Tuesday, December 17 2013.

European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 17 December 2013

Jean-Pierre Bourguignon appointed next President of the European Research Council

The European Commission has today appointed Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon as the next President of the European Research Council (ERC), the EU's premier funding body for investigator-driven frontier research. Professor Bourguignon, a mathematician and French national, will take over in his new role as of 1 January 2014, replacing Professor Helga Nowotny. He will be the first ERC President to be based in Brussels, in a new reinforced role where he will devote most of his time to the job. He joins the ERC at a vital moment for its further development, with a strongly increased seven-year budget of over €13 billion under Horizon 2020, the new EU programme for research and innovation.

European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "Just six years since its launch, the ERC has won a global reputation for funding the best curiosity-driven research. It now needs continued strong leadership and imagination to elevate its standing further. Professor Bourguignon is the right choice for this task, given his distinguished academic career, international renown, and proven record of leadership. I am confident that he will defend the ERC principles of excellence and independence. I also pay tribute to outgoing President Professor Helga Nowotny, who has led the ERC from strength to strength."

The appointment today brings to a close a process of almost exactly one year involving a search committee, led by Lord Sainsbury of Turville, Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and a former British science minister.

Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn added: "I take this opportunity to address my warmest thanks to all the eminent individuals who expressed interest in this important function. I am indebted to the distinguished members of the search committee and its chair Lord Sainsbury of Turville, for the commitment, seriousness and speed with which they accomplished their task. I also thank the ERC Scientific Council for its swift approval of the search results."

Professor Bourguignon is appointed by the Commission for a term of office limited to four years, renewable once. The ERC was led by Greek biologist Professor Fotis Kafatos from 2007 to 2010, and then by Austrian social scientist Professor Helga Nowotny from 2010 to 2013.


The European Research Council was established under the European Union's FP7 research programme. It awards grants through open competitions to projects headed by starting and established researchers, irrespective of their origins, who are working or moving to work in Europe. The sole criterion for selection is scientific excellence. The aim is to recognise the best ideas, retain the best brains in Europe, and attract talent from abroad. Under the next, seven-year EU research funding programme, Horizon 2020 (2014-2020), the ERC's budget will rise to over €13 billion, a nearly 60% increase over the current period.

For more info

Biography of Professor Bourguignon:

ERC press statement:

ERC website:

Contacts :

Michael Jennings (+32 2 296 33 88) Twitter: @ECSpokesScience

Inmaculada Martinez Garcia (+32 2 298 73 03)