AN EVENT AT COMENIUS UNIVERSITY ABOUT THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS EUROPEAN RESEARCH GRANTS
On Monday 20 June 2016, the ERC Day in Slovakia was held in the Comenius University Auditorium. This event was organized by Comenius University in partnership with the Slovak Academy of Sciences, the Slovak Liaison Office for Research and Development in Brussels, and the European Research Council.
By: CU Public Relations Office
This event, which had the aim of supporting and creating a stimulating environment for Slovak scientists so that they can undertake cutting-edge research and succeed when applying for financial resources from the ERC grant system within the Horizon 2020 programme, was opened by the Comenius University Rector, Prof. Karol Mičieta. Touching on Slovakia’s upcoming presidency of the Council of the EU, Prof. Mičieta pointed out that one of the priorities of the presidency in education and research was the development of talent and young scientists, and particularly the development of their careers and support for their participation in the Horizon 2020 programme. “There is no doubt that our scientists are talented. This is why I believe that today’s special event will help bring about a positive change and a more effective use of the ERC grant scheme,” the rector added.
Prof. Pavol Šajgalík, who is the President of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, highlighted the need for the academic community and political authorities to work together. The fact that Slovakia was one of the least successful countries in receving ERC grants was not ignored by Prof. Peter Moczo, the Vice-Rector for Science and Post-Graduate Study. He pointed out the need to create a creative and competitive academic environment and the need to improve the quality of doctoral studies.
The ERC Day in Slovakia included the participation of the ERC President Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, who was visiting Slovakia for the first time. The establishment of the ERC in 2007 was an important milesone for the support of top-level research in Europe. Indeed, ERC grants are the most prestigious in Europe. The ERC president presented the structure of the ERC and the grant scheme, which is made up of three basic types of grants (Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, and Advanced Grants). “The ERC is recognized as a symbol of quality. It provides independence, recognition, and the opportunity to make one’s research known,” Prof. Bourguignon stated.
Dr Ján Tkáč, the only Slovak holder of an ERC grant, then shared his experiences with the audience. “ERC grants are about powerful innovative ideas,” he said in words of encouragement to young scientists and ERC grant applicants. “You have to be persistent and competitive,” stated Dr. Tkáč, who was only successful in his second application.
The event also saw speeches by Prof. Tomáš Jungwirth (a member of the ERC’s Scientific Council), Iveta Hermanovská (ERC National Contact Point), Daniel Straka (Slovak Liaison Office for Research and Development in Brussels), Dr Pavlína Rychterová (Austrian Academy of Sciences), Prof. Darina Malová (Faculty of Arts, Comenius University; a member of the ERC Evaluation Panel for the Social Sciences and Humanities), and Prof. Daniela Ježová (Slovak Academy of Sciences, a member of the ERC Evaluation Panel for the Life Sciences).
A number of speakers highlighted the need for national financial support for those projects which had gained the highest evaluations in the ERC’s A category, but which had not received financing. A number of EU member states use such a mechanism to support talent which has been identified by the ERC.
More information about the European Research Council can be found at: https://erc.europa.eu
Photographs from the event: CU Facebook
An edited video of the event will be available on Comenius University’s YouTube channel.