Keith-Jeffery Michel_Cosnard
by Keith Jeffery and Michel Cosnard

It is an honour and pleasure for us to inform you about the evolved ERCIM (sometimes known as ERCIM 2.0). After more than 20 years of success in ‘cooperating for excellence in research’ and helping to realise the ERA (European Research Area) - by linking together research groups around single node institutions in each country - we are evolving.

As explained in ERCIM News 86 and on the website, the increased cooperation across European research groups in ICST (Information and Communications Science and Technology) and AM (Applied Mathematics), changes in both European and national research strategies and the shifting balances of international research require ERCIM to evolve to continue to serve those communities.

As announced in EN86 Joint ERCIM Actions section, in June 2011 the evolved ERCIM structure was defined as having two components: firstly, an AISBL (Association International Sans But Lucratif) responsible for cooperating for excellence in research and secondly, the existing EEIG (European Economic Interest Grouping) responsible for the management of W3C Europe and the ERCIM Office.

The two components may be characterised as ‘front office’ and ‘back office’ functions respectively. They are co-joined through an agreement as ‘ERCIM’ and thus present a single face to the community.

Furthermore, in June 2011 we held the first General Assembly of the ERCIM AISBL including the board elections (with Keith Jeffery as President) for 2012. Similarly the present ‘old ERCIM’ President (Michel Cosnard) continues as President of the EEIG in 2012 with existing board members.

So much for the structural changes; the practicality is that we now have an evolved ERCIM which acts as one entity (although having two underlying legal structures) and this:

  • removes the previous restriction of one member per country that was implicit in the ‘old ERCIM’ thus allowing much broader participation of members in all areas of ERCIM activity and evolving ERCIM to include all the best research institutions
  • ensures the management of W3C Europe is on the solid foundation of the EEIG
  • provides for a single ERCIM Office to handle management, administrative, legal and financial matters for both the EEIG and the AISBL.

It is gratifying that our evolution has resulted in new members joining ERCIM and more applying to join.

Since June 2011 the AISBL board - working jointly with the EEIG President and the ERCIM Office Manager - has been extremely active.

Thus we preserve the best of the ‘old ERCIM’ and provide the launch pad for the ‘new ERCIM’. With the new ERCIM in place, we expect more active participation in Task Groups and Working Groups not only from our existing members but also the new members that we are welcoming.

Our expectation and intention is that this evolved ERCIM will be better placed to serve the ICST and AM community in Europe with greater participation and representation so continuing to reach and fulfil our mission ‘cooperating for excellence in research’.

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