A week after the European Commission announced the names of scientists who will make up the European Research Council's (ERC) Scientific Council, senior researchers contacted by The Scientist have expressed concern that European Union budget cuts may result in the council being a less credible funding body than they hoped.

The ERC is envisaged as a source of much-needed funding for fundamental research at an EU level. The goal has been for it to support research purely on the basis of excellence. But the future of EU science funding is in doubt at the moment, following the collapse of negotiations over the region's overall budget. Scientists are concerned that the squeeze may have a detrimental effect on the ERC.

Frédéric Sgard, vice-president of Euroscience, noted that even under the European Commission's current proposals, funds for curiosity-driven research-including the ERC-only amount to about 20% of that allotted to program-driven research....

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