GRC Meeting addresses a key question: how to fund scientific breakthroughs?

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The participants of the 4th Annual Meeting of the Global Research Council (GRC) endorsed the "Statement of Principles for Funding Scientific Breakthroughs" and stressed the importance of basic research.

​The 2015 GRC Annual Meeting was held on May 26-28 2015 in Tokyo. It was hosted jointly by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa. Participants included approximately 60 heads of research councils from around the world, as well as high-ranking observers from global science agencies, university associations and research policy organizations.

Three main topics and two statements

The meeting addressed three main topics: Funding Scientific Breakthroughs; Building Research and Education Capacity; Follow-up on Open Access. During the meeting, the participants endorsed two documents:

  • Statement of Principles for Funding Scientific Breakthroughs
  • Statement of Approaches: Building Research and Education Capacity

The official meeting of the GRC was preceded by a symposium on scientific breakthroughs.

Basic research: origin of every key development

Regarding the topic of Funding Scientific Breakthroughs, several points were raised during the presentations and discussions at the official meeting. First of all, the need of a general definition of breakthrough research was stressed, based on the introduction of novel paradigms of development of enabling technologies. As a further essential point it was stated – and also written in the preamble of the corresponding statement – that “a robust and broad foundation for researcher driven basic research is needed as a source for future scientific breakthroughs and innovations”. But even if basic research is at the origin of every key technological development, the participants agreed, that breakthroughs are possible in any kind of research and are finally driven by people.

GRC: sharing of data and best practices for collaboration

The Global Research Council is a virtual organization, comprised of the heads of science and engineering funding agencies from around the world, dedicated to promoting the sharing of data and best practices for high-quality collaboration among funding agencies worldwide.