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03.03.2015 08:49

A strong mark for fundamental research: First LERU Science Deans Meeting at the University of Zurich

The Faculty of Science hosted on February 28 the first LERU science deans meeting. LERU stands for the League of European Research Universities and promotes basic research. The 21 LERU member universities strongly believe that basic research plays an essential role in the innovation process and significantly contributes to the progress of society.

LERU Science Deans meeting in Zurich. From left: Jouko Väänänen (Univ. of Helsinki, front), Olov Sterner (Lund University, back), Pere Cabot (University de Barcelona), Katrien Maes (LERU Office), Floor Frederiks (Leiden University), Bernhard Schmid (UZH), Peter Lievens (KU Leuven), Michael Schaepman (UZH), Pierre Désesquelles (Université Paris-Sud), Geert de Snoo (Leiden University), Maria Hijman (Utrecht Universtiy), Andres Jäschke (Universität Heidelberg), Brigitte Galliot (Université de Genève, back), Andy Mount (University of Edinburgh, front), Athene Donald (University of Cambridge, not on photo). Photo: Fabian Schneider, UZH.

In 2014 under the lead of Leiden University (NL), a LERU working group of Deans of Natural Sciences was established. This working group has set four strategic goals, namely 1) demonstrating the impact of fundamental research in the natural sciences, 2) strengthen the position of fundamental research in the natural sciences in the Horizon 2020 work programmes of the European Commission, 3) putting major ‘science’ issues on the long-term agenda of the European Commission, and 4) create a platform for the exchange of experience, ideas and information. Prof. Dr. Geert de Snoo (Leiden University, NL) has been nominated its first chairperson. 

In Zurich, the working group discussed three major items, namely the position of natural science in the Horizon 2020 work program and its potential ‘underrepresentation’. The agenda continued with a discussion on the demonstrating the impact of natural science research, in particular demonstrating the impact of transformational research. Finally, the discussions centered around the optimal use of research infrastructures and beneficial access sharing between LERU members. It is planned to draft three position papers for the European Commission on the above topics. 

The social program included a visit to the Zoological Museum of the University of Zurich, organized by Prof. Dr. Lukas Keller, while the meeting was hosted by Prof. Dr. Michael Schaepman from the University of Zurich. The Deans of Natural Sciences will meet in September in Leuven (B) for their second meeting.

Further information:
For further information on LERU contact Sandra Engler (sandra.engler@rektorat.uzh.ch) or on the working group of Deans of Natural Sciences Michael Schaepman (Michael.schaepman@geo.uzh.ch).

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