European chemists unite

02/05/04

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has a key role in a new European chemistry initiative, the ERA CHEMISTRY network. This has recently been granted EU funding and is the first step towards the Chemical Sciences section of a possible future European Research Council.

Ten European countries have joined forces to form the ERA CHEMISTRY network. This cooperation must result in new European subsidies for chemical research, simpler procedures for the applicants and a quicker processing of the applications. The new network will also use its European base to gain ideas for new international research programmes in chemistry.

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) is one of the three founding members of the European network. Together with France and Germany, NWO will implement the majority of the programme.

The Netherlands' primary task is setting up a website. This must form the most important means of communication between the different countries and the international research community. Furthermore, the Netherlands will contribute its unique expertise in the area of funding applied chemical research. In the other participating organisations the research supervision is mostly directed towards the fundamental aspects of chemistry.

The European Union has awarded 1.4 million euros for network costs. This sum must be sufficient to set up the necessary infrastructure and data management systems within a period of four years and four full time members of staff will be employed for this purpose. Furthermore, the 'European area Chemical Sciences' will use this start-up phase to develop European programme proposals that the European Union will subsequently fund.

The network will be a virtual office. The staff will not work at the same physical location. Some will work at the NWO office in The Hague and others will work in Bonn or Paris. The researchers who will eventually benefit from this network will be located throughout Europe.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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