The European Research Council @ 10: Whither hopes and fears?
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While 10 years is too short a time to draw broad conclusions, the ERC does seem to have succeeded in promoting excellent and basic research in Europe, both through its own projects and by affecting standards and aspirations more broadly. It has affected widely shared conceptions of scholarly excellence and introduced new measures of academic esteem, with more attention to rigorous peer review—in the social sciences and the humanities as well as in the natural sciences. One concern is that the portability of grants may have fuelled the clustering of research talent and reputation towards some institutions and some states, away from others. The benefits of the ERC in promoting research quality across Europe in the longer term may be at risk unless some parties take steps to correct this imbalance.
KeywordsERC European Research Council Europeanisation Bibliometrics European research area
The observations and research leading to this article were partially funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013)/ERC Advanced Grant Agreement N° 269841—MultiRights, and partly supported by the Research Council of Norway through its Centres of Excellence Funding Scheme, Project Number 223274—PluriCourts The Legitimacy of the International Judiciary. A draft version was presented at a panel called “The ERC @ 10: what has it done to us?” at the ECPR General Conference in Oslo, 8 September 2017. I am grateful for comments received then and afterwards, especially from Thomas König and Geir Ulfstein.
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