Geoscientist Donald Dingwell has been named as the new Secretary General of the European Research Council

A geoscientist, Donald Dingwell, head of the Department for Earth and Environmental Sciences at Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, has been appointed as Secretary General of European Research Council (ERC), replacing Andreu Mas-Colell, who returned to his academic position as professor at Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, a year ago. Since then, the post has been vacant.

Dingwell will takes up office on 1 September, but changes to the organisation of the ERC mean his term will end in December 2013, when the post will be merged with the role of ERC president.

The new secretary general, appointed by the ERC’s Scientific Council, is himself an ERC grant holder, being awarded an Advanced Grant in 2009.

Dingwell holds German and Canadian nationalities. The ERC President Helga Nowotny said this international vantage point and background will enable Dingwell to contribute “to the ERC’s international outreach and strategy”.

The role of the Secretary General is to act as the ERC Scientific Council’s permanent representative in Brussels, liaising between the Council, the ERC’s Executive Agency and the European Commission. Changes in governance, due to be introduced at the start of the next EU Framework Research programme Horizon 2020, in January 2014, will see the ERC appoint a permanent Brussels-based ERC President, making the role Secretary General redundant.

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