Professor Maria Leptin has been appointed as the new President of the European Research Council, the main public funding body for research within the European Union. She will take office on October 1st 2021 and her presidency will run for a four-year term. She takes over from Dr Mauro Ferrari, an expert in nanomedicine.
“[The ERC] is really a fantastic institution,” Prof Leptin said when interviewed by the ERC about her appointment. “I completely chime with the mission of frontier research and promoting basic research.” Prof Leptin outlined three things she will focus on during her presidency: stability and expansion of the financial side; making sure that the ERC serves all communities, both geographically and discipline-wise; and continuous updates and tweaks to the ERC’s processes.
Prof Leptin is based at the University of Cologne, where she’s been a Professor since 1994. In addition, she leads a research group at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, an intergovernmental research institution with premises across Europe. Her two groups focus on both developmental biology and immunology. In particular, they work on the mechanisms and forces behind the development of cell shape, as well as the signalling involved in immune responses.
Previous heavy-weight posts will have prepared Prof Leptin perfectly for her new role: She only stepped down earlier this year as Director of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) after eleven years at the helm, and she has previously served the ERC as panel chair for both Advanced Grants and Synergy Grants. (© AcademiaNet)