An event organised by the Science Technology Options Assessment Panel (STOA) and the European Research Council (ERC) aimed to bridge the gap between policy and science. Some of Europe’s top young researchers met with members to plunge into some of the questions and challenges facing the world of scientific research.
From levitating trains to 3D organs to eating only lab-grown meat, the future isn't so far away. And Europe wants to be ready to meet it. Scientific parliamentary group STOA brought together top young researchers with policymakers to tackle some of the challenges facing the world of scientific research. It's really important to have a dialogue between researchers and politicians basically for researchers to understand that we are here to support them when we understand how to do that. The European Union helps young researchers to work on ambitious scientific projects by awarding them grants through the European Research Council. Young ERC grantees met with MEPs to delve into major issues such as energy solutions, AI, big data and breakthroughs in health. Martin Vechev is one of the award-winning ERC researchers. The ERC grant that I received has been very important for me. It has helped me establish a very strong research group, to push the research and the science in terms of impact and in terms of reach of the project. To date, the ERC has funded more than 9000 scientific projects in all fields of science, from mathematics and engineering, to biology and social sciences. Last year more than 60% of completed projects funded by the ERC were considered major scientific breakthroughs. For young people to be involved in research is very decisive, because they bring new ideas, they relook at problems in a different way. Being able, early in their career, to get good support, and long-term support, makes a big difference. The event was a unique chance to bring members of parliament face to face with the very people pushing the frontiers of knowledge. Together, they want to ensure that better policy leads to better research.