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Coimbra Group Executive Board exchanges views with ERC President Maria Leptin

26 April 2022

On 26 April, the Coimbra Group Executive Board met with European Research Council President Maria Leptin. The meeting was an opportunity to look at current and future challenges for the European research community and exchange views about ways to join efforts in addressing them.

Ludovic Thilly, Chair of the Executive Board, gave an overview of the participation of Coimbra Group universities in the ERC programme. The figures show that CG universities, all European comprehensive higher education institutions, are major players in the field of fundamental research.

The discussion revolved around several issues of common interest such as the research assessment reform, interdisciplinary research, UK and Switzerland association to Horizon Europe and funding for research and innovation. “We are far away from the goal to reach 3% of GDP investment in science in the EU Member States. Covid-19 have demonstrated the value of basic research”, Maria Leptin commented.

The CG and the ERC will continue working together on all these topics. “We want to build a meaningful cooperation with you where we both serve the scientific community”, Ludovic Thilly said. The Executive Board will now follow up on this discussion with the rectors of CG universities at the upcoming Annual Conference and General Assembly in Padova on 7-10 June.

Overview of CG universities ERC results (2007-2022)

Since the ERC creation in 2007 by the European Commission, the Coimbra Group universities have been awarded with more than 1.500 projects in all disciplines, consisting of an investment of more than €2 billion. Overall, CG universities received 10.5% of the budget allocated to the ERC programme in FP7 (€7.5 billion) and H2020 (€13 billion).

Regarding the research areas, in terms of funded projects CG universities have been more successful in the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH), followed by Physical Sciences and Engineering (PE) and Life Sciences (LS). However, in average, SSH projects have received less funding than PE and LS projects.

According to the latest results published on 15 March and 26 April 2022, the trend in the ERC Consolidator and Advanced schemes in Horizon Europe is similar. CG members have received 33 of the 327 CoG (10,1% of total grants awarded) and 26 of the 253 AdG (10,3% of total grants awarded).

More detailed data can be found through this link (for CG members only).