Skip to content

Sierd Cloetingh appointed new Vice President of the European Research Council

Press release by the European Research Council New Vice Presidents and members of the ERC Scientific Council
17 February 2015

Professors Sierd Cloetingh and Mart Saarma have been appointed new Vice Presidents of the European Research Council. This news was coupled with the European Commission’s appointment today of three new members of the Scientific Council.

Sierd Cloetingh, who also serves as a President of Academia Europaea, is a Dutch professor of Earth Sciences and Tectonics at the Utrecht University. He will be in charge of supervision of the ERC activities in the domain of Physical Science and Engineering. Mart Saarma, an Estonian national, is a professor and a director of the Centre of Excellence in Molecular and Integrated Neuroscience Research at the University of Helsinki. He will take over the Life Sciences domain. Both were already serving as ERC Scientific Council members (Sierd Cloetingh since 2009; Mart Saarma since 2011).

ERC President Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon said: “I very much look forward to working closely with the two new Vice Presidents, elected by the ERC Scientific Council. One of the key tasks of the Vice Presidents is supervising the selection of the peer review panels, which lies at the heart of the ERC.

These appointments come after the term of office of the former Vice Presidents, Professors Pavel Exner (Doppler Institute for Mathematical Physics and Applied Mathematics,CZ) and Carl-Henrik Heldin (Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, SE) came to an end in December 2014. Prof. Núria Sebastián Gallés (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, ES) will remain ERC Vice President in the domain of Social Sciences and Humanities. The Vice Presidents are elected by the members of the ERC Scientific Council, in accordance with its autonomy.
At the same time, the European Commission appointed today three new ERC Scientific Council members:

  • Prof. Tomáŝ Jungwirth (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, CZ, and University of Nottingham, UK)
  • Prof. Dame Janet Thornton (European Molecular Biology Laboratory – European Bioinformatics Institute, UK)
  • Prof. Fabio Zwirner (University of Padua, IT)

Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas said: “The European Commission places great importance on appointing accomplished, top-level scientists to the Scientific Council, the governing body of the European Research Council. The independent committee tasked with identifying new members has done an excellent job as demonstrated by the calibre of today’s three nominations.”

President Bourguignon added: “I would like to warmly welcome three new members of the Scientific Council, who will have the challenge of living up to the standards set by their predecessors. With their engagement, I’m sure they will offer new perspectives at a critical time.”

These new members have been selected by an independent Identification Committee, composed of six distinguished scientists appointed by the European Commission. The scientific community was consulted in this process. The Committee will announce further new members in the first half of the year.