PARIS — The only way to reverse the drain of Europe's brightest young brains to the US and elsewhere is to set up a pan-European body to fund long-term basic research, was the opinion expressed by the majority of scientists at a meeting on the mooted European Research Council (ERC) in Paris yesterday.

The meeting was organized by the European Life Sciences Forum (ELSF), in conjunction with EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organization), FEBS (Federation of European Biochemical Societies), and the Division of Basic and Engineering Sciences of UNESCO.

The concept of the ERC is not new. It was first touted a decade ago as a way of cutting through the bureaucracy of the existing funding system, preventing duplication and fragmentation of resources, and improving the quality of Europe's scientific output.

But with the gap still widening between the quality of research produced by Europe on the...

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