As part of the European Research Days organized by the European Commission, Axel Cleeremans (President) launched the Association of ERC Grantees AERG together with Karin Roleofs (vice president), Maria Rentetzi (treasurer), and Patrick Haggard (secretary). The AERG was founded by a group of former and current ERC grantees to increase the voice of (fundamental) researcher in politics and with stakeholder groups within and beyond the European Union, but also to create a closer relationship with the wider public. The group will unite the by now 10.000 researchers who have received bottom-up research grants from the European Research Council since its foundation within the EU’s Seventh European Framework Programme for Research in 2007. These competitive and prestigious grants are awarded to individual researchers for fundamental research projects. This type of research funding is of outstanding importance to researchers and societies across the world, as advancements in science and knowledge depend on the freedom to conduct projects solely driven by a future application.
In line with the ERC’s mission to support investigator-driven research projects, the AERG aims to become an advocate for bottom-up research in Europe and beyond. Furthermore, the AERG founders wish to provide support for ERC candidates with a specific focus on a diverse field of applicants. The AERG will also serve as a network for grantees, so the lively debates within the international scientific community can be encouraged and supported beyond the funding period.