ERIC Forum announces new leadership

John Womersley has been elected new ERIC Forum Chair.
ESS Director General, John Womersley, has been elected new ERIC Forum Chair. Credit: ERIC Forum

Yesterday in Brussels, the ERIC Forum, which brings together 21 leading European Research Infrastructures, named a new Chair, Vice-Chair, and Executive Board.

ESS Director General, John Womersley, has been elected as the new Chair, and will be working closely with  the new Vice-Chair, Anton Ussi, currently  Operations and Finance Director at European Research Infrastructure for Translational Medicine ( EATRIS-ERIC). The Chairs are responsible for the strategic planning of the Forum, and coordinate external relations with the European Commission, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), and other stakeholders.
The Chairs, elected by the ERIC Forum Assembly and will remain in office for one year, and will be supported by other members of the executive board, each representing a specific science cluster: 
  • Franciska de Jong, Executive Director, CLARIN ERIC, for the social sciences cluster
  • Wolfgang Fecke, Director General, EU-OPENSCREEN, for the life sciences cluster
  • Juan Miguel González Aranda, Chief Technical Officer, LifeWatch ERIC, for the environment cluster
Group photo from the ERIC Forum meeting held in Brussels.

Group photo from the ERIC Forum meeting held in Brussels.

Credit: ERIC Forum

“2020 is a year of opportunities,” says John Womersley. "Policy at the EU level is advancing rapidly as the new Commission firms up its plans in several key areas that will be extremely relevant for research infrastructures: Horizon Europe’s novel mission and challenge-led approach; the European Research Area’s “new narrative”; and the European Open Science Cloud – just to mention a few.
"The ERICs have a clear commitment to work together,” he continued, adding, "The ERIC Forum is the right platform, not just to share experience but to communicate the relevance and importance of research infrastructures in the emerging European science landscape.”
What is an ERIC
The community legal framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) is a specific legal form to facilitate the establishment and operation of research infrastructures with European interest. Among others, it provides a legal capacity recognised in all EU Member States, a faster process than creating an international organisation, and exemptions from VAT and excise duty.

What is the ERIC Forum?

The ERIC Forum brings together all European Research Infrastructure Consortia (ERICs). The ERIC Forum aims to provides information, best practices and potential solutions to challenges which ERICs can face in the preparation phase or throughout the implementation of the ERIC Regulation. The ERIC Forum is also a consultation body for all EU policies related to Research Infrastructures. It centralises the type of challenges that ERICs face in this regard and the potential solutions which are being implemented.