Directorate-General for Research & Innovation logo Horizon: the EU Research & Innovation magazine | European Commission logo
Receive our editor’s picks

French mathematician takes over as new ERC president

Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon was appointed as the new ERC president at the start of 2014. Photo: Jean-François Dars
Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon was appointed as the new ERC president at the start of 2014. Photo: Jean-François Dars

French mathematician Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon has taken over as president of the European Research Council (ERC), the first pan-European funding organisation for frontier research.

The appointment coincides with the start of the EU’s biggest ever research funding programme, Horizon 2020, worth nearly EUR 80 billion over the next seven years. The ERC’s budget has been increased to over EUR 13 billion under the new programme.

Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon will be the first ERC president to be based in Brussels in a reinforced role that will enable him to ensure closer cooperation with the European Commission, and monitor the implementation of the ERC Scientific Council’s strategy.

‘Professor Bourguignon is the right choice for this task, given his distinguished academic career, international renown, and proven record of leadership.’

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science

‘Professor Bourguignon is the right choice for this task, given his distinguished academic career, international renown, and proven record of leadership,’ said Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. ‘I am confident that he will defend the ERC principles of excellence and independence.’

He is the third president of the ERC since its launch in 2007, and succeeds Austrian social scientist Professor Helga Nowotny, who headed the organisation from 2010 to 2013.

Prof. Bourguignon, who took over at the start of the year, was the first chairman of the ERC’s mathematics peer review panel. As the ERC president, he has been given a four-year mandate, which is renewable once.

Discussing his new role in an interview posted on the ERC’s website, Prof. Bourguignon said: ‘I measure the responsibility ... in particular because of the fantastic success that the ERC has been in such a short period of time.’

Prof. Bourguignon was the Director of the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHÉS) from 1994 till 2013. This international research institute located near Paris, France, was built as the European counterpart of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, US. 

He is a fellow of the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). He has received several awards for his research from the French Academy of Sciences in Paris. He is also a foreign member of the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences, and has been made Doctor Honoris Causa of Keio University, Japan, and Nankai University, China.

The interview with the new president of the ERC, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon:

More info