Visit by the president of the European research council

date: 02.12.2019

category: Sporočila za javnost


Today, on 28th November, 2019, The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport is hosting the President of the European Science Council (ERC), Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon. We are honoured that the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of UL was chosen to host the main event of the visit, since we are a research organisation which is one of the most successful in acquiring the ERC projects. The knowledge of modern technology must be transferred to real life, and we are proud to have received two of the most prestigious European projects within the last two years, e.g. the ERC projects which Slovenia has received only eleven in the last two decades. The ERC projects are the most prestigious part of the European research field, since they connect the high-tech science and the applicative value of knowledge in a wider social environment, which should be the goal of most of the science we create ‒ to be directly involved and help society toward better life, toward a better future of us all.

The President of ERC began his visit by visiting both labs at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of UL, which received the ERC funds, headed by Prof. Dr. Matevž Dular and Assist. Prof. Dr. Jaka Tušek, respectively. This was followed by a session with an introduction from the Vice Dean of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Prof. Dr. Andrej Kitanovski, and the Rector of the University of Ljubljana, Prof. Dr. Igor Papič, who then handed the podium to the main guest, Prof. Dr. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon. The President pointed out that, “The fundamental research, which EFC facilitates, is borderline research; we are truly striving not to draw the lines between basic, applicable and technical research. This approach has been proven successful, and we can see that by applying it we can support numerous engineers, which receive the basic support for the fundamental research, and transfer these results into a wider society. In the future ERC shall give priority to the projects, who are going to pursue breakthrough research. The scientific excellence is important, and mechanical engineering is a field, which should not be overlooked,” stated the President.

The Slovene Minister of Education, Science and Sport, Dr. Jernej Pikalo, said, that the Ministry is increasing their efforts to help our researchers to win at one of the most competitive tenders in the science community. He also stressed, that sharing of experiences among the winners and future applicants is also important, so the main activity of today's visit was a discussion between the past and the future winners. Six receivers of ERC funds, who came from different institutions, shared their experiences and knowledge with us. The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering was represented by the previously mentioned Dr. Dular and Dr. Tušek. The successful applicants shared little secrets behind their big success, especially for the application phase. But the Ministry is thinking one step further ‒ about the time after the project is completed. Together with the Slovenia Research Agency (ARRS) they would like to form a mechanism, which would provide financial support to the grant winners after the project is finished, and thus enable them to continue with excellent work.

Predictions for the future of funding of science projects are bright. The President revealed that the European Commission proposed to spend €100bn in the following 7-year period, while the European Parliament went a step further by proposing €120bn. Of course, we can expect hard negotiations with the EU member states. He also stressed that his main task at the moment is to convince as many ministers of finance of member states as possible, that high-tech science is the field we should invest in. High-tech science also found home at our Faculty, therefore, financial support for the revolutionary ideas from our scientists is not something we should be concerned about.

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