A Social Scientist in the Land of Frontier Science: My Experience with the European Research Council (ERC) By Prof. Dr. Helga Nowotny, Ph.D.
When the European Research Council (ERC), was set up in 2007 with the aim to become a world-class funding agency for basic research, the scientific strategy was entrusted to twenty-two independent scientists. Nobody knew whether we would achieve our ambition.Today, the ERC is widely acknowledged as unique success story.
I will reflect on my experience by putting the following issues into a general science policy context:
- What does frontier research mean for innovation?
- How can a peer-review system for scientific excellence accommodate interdisciplinary research?
- Funding the social sciences & humanities: is it an issue?
- Excellence attracts excellence: intended and unintended Consequences
- What to fund: follow the scientists or the policy-makers?
My argument is for recognizing the importance of the radical openness of science for the future, while emphasizing the equally important task of opening science towards society.
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