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European Chemists Demonstrate Strong Bonding

CERC3 is an Association of Research Decision-Makers in Chemistry from Across Europe

The CNRS' Department of Chemical Sciences and its counterparts in European chemistry have built close partner relations since the inception a few years ago of the CERC3 group (Chairmen Of European Research Council's Chemistry Committees). This assembly of academic decision-makers in European chemistry, begun in 1990 at the instigation of the CNRS Chemistry Department, serves to develop European trans-national collaboration and has inspired an exemplary "bottom-up" program of bilateral collaboration between France and Germany.

CERC3 aims to promote research through two vital types of activity:
workshops: Since 1991 member organisations have been taking turns organising bi-annual workshops of fifty or so young European researchers participating in structured exchanges around specific themes proposed by CERC3 member scientists;
transnational programs: Since 1999 CERC3 has been organising three-year research programmes on a call-for-tender basis around themes selected by senior conferences which bring together 30 or 40 leading chemists named by each member organisation. The themes are then subject to approval by all members.

Between the end of 2001 and the beginning of 2002, the CNRS' Department of Chemical Sciences and its German counterpart (DFG) decided within the framework of the CERC3 to commit themselves to a strong partnership around bilateral collaboration in specific topics drawn from the whole discipline of chemistry. A process of calls for tender was spelled out, with the first criterion being the identification of the specific added value to be gained by Franco-German collaboration for a particular proposed project. By Fall 2002 projects involving three or four French and German laboratories got off the ground after approval by a Franco-German scientific committee representing all fields of chemistry. The call for tender met with a very lively response as more than 300 French and German research teams responded.

This experience proved to be an example of good practice to all CERC3 partners, who then decided to launch two new rounds of calls at the end of 2002 for projects to be selected during 2003. CERC3 senior conferences were held to determine two priority themes which then served as the basis for the calls. One theme concerns chemistry as a basis for sustainable development, and the other focuses on the chemistry of nucleic acids.
With positive collaborative experience under its belt, the CERC3 is ready for the next step in building the European Research Area, as called for by the Sixth FPRtd. This recent momentum gives the CERC3 a head start on consolidating transnational collaborative efforts for a sustainable and profitable future for the European community of chemical researchers via scientific collaboration.

CERC3 Partners
Austria: Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF)
Belgium: Fonds national de la recherche scientifique (FNRS), Limburg University, FWO
Denmark: Copenhagen University, Statens Naturvidenskabelige Forsknngsrad (SNF)
Finland: University of Helsinki, Academy of Finland - Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering
France: CNRS/Département des sciences chimiques
Germany: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), University of Göttingen
Greece: National Centre for Scientific Research (NCSR 'Demokritos')
Irland: University College Dublin
Italy: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)
The Netherlands: Nederlandsie Org. voor Wetenschappelij Onderzoe (NWO)
Portugal: Fundaçao para a Ciência a Tecnologia (FCT), Universidade de Lisboa
Spain: Universidad Autonoma de Madrid
Sweden: Chalmers University of Technology, Swedish Research Council for Natural and Engineering Sciences
Switzerland: Schweizerischer National Fonds (SNF), université de Neuchâtel
United Kingdom: Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), University of Bristol




Annie Dalbéra
Département des sciences chimiques du CNRS
Partenariat régional et européen
with Hélène Blavot

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