The founding meeting of the Initiative for Science in Europe (ISE), a new lobbying group of European science organisations, was held in Paris this week alongside its inaugural conference (from October 25 to 26) discussing the plans to set up a European Research Council (ERC).

Prior to this formal launch, the ISE had already published a strong statement in Science magazine promoting the need for an ERC.

The meeting in Paris comes shortly after the Italian government added controversy to the debate with a submission to the European Commission (EC) containing trenchant criticism of the proposed ERC. It said the concept "raises strong perplexity," arguing that distributing research funding solely on the basis of excellence would reduce the proportion of EU funds that is spent on collaborative EU-wide projects.

"I think this has come as a shock in most European capitals," ISE Secretary Luc van Dyck told The Scientist....

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