With only days to go until applications close for the post of secretary general of the European Research Council, scientists in the European Union (EU) are watching closely to see who will be appointed to the challenging position.The head of the new EU science funding body will need to have substantial scientific and political clout, plus a dedication to funding based on peer review, senior EU science figures told The Scientist. "I think there are dozens of excellent people who have a good combination of science and scientific policy who could do the job," said Frederic Sgard, vice-president of Euroscience. The ERC has been a major talking-point in EU science for years. It is envisaged as an independent funding body that will support fundamental science on the basis of peer-review, not the matrix of social and political agendas that constrain other forms of EU funding.In late April, the...

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