The morning began with a lecture at the University of Primorska Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies (FAMNIT), where Bourguignon was introduced by Chair of the 8ECM Organizing Committee, Prof. Tomaž Pisanski, and director of the InnoRenew Centre of Excellence, Prof. Andreja Kutnar. The event was attended by UP faculty members, the 8ECM Committee and members of the press.
Prof. Bourguignon discussed the structure and focus of the ERC within Horizon 2020, the current EU research programme, and its mission to support “excellence in frontier research through bottom-up, individual-based, pan-European competition.” He highlighted its achievements, including promoting international collaboration, supporting women academics in the early stages of their careers, the success of ERC-funded projects, and the number of major prize winners who have held ERC grants. He also noted the increasing success of Slovenia in making grant applications to the ERC (8 grants within Horizon 2020). He concluded by outlining the role the ERC will play within the framework of the next EU research programme, Horizon Europe.
From this meeting, Bourguignon travelled to Vipava to join the Slovenian Rectors’ conference, before returning to UP for a committee meeting of the 8ECM, which also welcomed graduate student volunteers and representatives of the 8ECM Local Scientific Committee. Special guest was 8ECM Plenary speaker Prof. Franc Forstnerič. Newly-inaugurated rector of University of Primorska, Prof. Klavdija Kutnar, provided an update on the progress of the 8ECM, including developing cooperation with the EuroScience Open Forum - ESOF 2020, which will take place in Trieste concurrently with the 8ECM. In an informal discussion, Professor Bourguignon related the history and aims of previous congresses, and shared insights and experiences from his professional career both as a mathematician and during his leadership of the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHÉS), the Société Mathématique de France, the European Mathematical Society (EMS) and ERC.
We sincerely thank Professor Bourguignon for his visit, and look forward to his live interview at the 8ECM. Please follow us here on the website for more news and updates.
(Photo: Mirella Baruca, University of Primorska)