Europe casts the scientific net wide

The EU is on a drive to recruit talented scientists from around the world, and three Kiwis are already leading the way.

On her visit to Wellington last week, Professor Helga Nowotny, president of the European Research Council, said Europe was investing in its researchers and scientists, and welcomed overseas candidates with venture and investment capital.

The 5-year-old ERC funds scientists and technology researchers. Those funded are the crème-de-la-crème and receive anywhere between 1.5 and 3.5 million euros for up to five years of research.

Three New Zealanders are currently funded by the scheme, as researchers who move to Europe can be covered provided they spend 50 percent of their time in Europe.

Meanwhile, the EU is looking to consolidate its scientific position through project Horizon 2020. The European Commission has proposed an 80 billion euro budget to be invested in research and innovation from 2014, including a 77 percent funding boost to the ERC.