€1 billion a year with which to fund projects across the research spectrum, chosen on the basis of peer review. But in the early years, its budget will be significantly tighter, noted Frédéric Sgard, vice president of Euroscience. "The biggest challenge in my opinion will be to fit the objectives of the ERC within the funding it will have in those early phases," he told The Scientist. For the first few years, the group will have to restrict what is funded and make difficult choices about where to channel funds, Sgard said. Mark Walport, head of the Wellcome Trust, also mentioned the challenge of the budget. "It is good news that the ERC has such an excellent Council and has been able to recruit Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker as its first secretary general," he told The Scientist. "The important thing now is that the ERC gets a decent budget so that it can really make a difference to the support of European science." As secretary-general, Winnacker will serve as the liaison between the chair of the ERC's 22-member scientific council, Fotis Kafatos, and the European Commission. He will hold the post until July 2009, the ERC said, after which he will hand the reins to Spanish economist Andreu Mas-Colell, who will remain in the post until December 2011. Stephen Pincock email@example.com Links within this article ERC secretary general announced http://erc.europa.eu/pdf/press_statement_erc_secgen_300806_en.pdf Peter Tindemans http://www.initiative-science-europe.org/ISE_group.html A. Scott, "ERC gains support," The Scientist, October 8, 2003. http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/21662/ S. Pincock, "Who will head the ERC?" The Scientist, May 26, 2006. http://www.thescientist.com/news/display/23498/ Frank Gannon http://www-db.embl.de/jss/EmblGroupsHD/per_862.html John Smith http://www.eua.be/eua/en/about_organisation_secretariat.jspx Frederic Sgard http://www.euroscience.org/MBSHIP/bmembercv.htm Mark Walport http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_WTD004529.html
Researchers isolate stem cells from the mouse cochlea and convert them into auditory hair cells, potentially paving the way for therapies to treat hearing loss.