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Representation in Ireland
News article7 December 2022Representation in Ireland4 min read

Professor Luke O’Neill joins the governing body of the European Research Council

Professor Luke O’Neill was today appointed by the European Commission as a new member of the governing body of the European Research Council (ERC), the Scientific Council.

Professor Luke O'Neill

The European Commission has today appointed Professor Luke O’Neill of Trinity College, Dublin, among five new members of the governing body of the European Research Council (ERC), the Scientific Council. They are appointed for an initial period of four years and will replace members, whose second term of office expired or will expire. The new members will take office on 1 January 2023.

The new members are:

  • Professor Luke O’Neill, Trinity College, Dublin, Professor of Biochemistry, founder of the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI), and leading immunologist.
  • Professor Harriet Bulkeley, Durham University, Professor of Geography whose research focussed on environmental governance and the politics of climate change, energy and sustainable cities.
  • Professor Thomas Henzinger, Institute of Science and Technology, ISTA, Austria, Professor of Computer and Communication Sciences, researcher, and Founding President of ISTA.
  • Professor Leszek Kaczmarek, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Professor of Neurobiology who researched the brain-mind connection.
  • Professor Björn Ottersten, University of Luxembourg, Professor and Founding Director of Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust. His research is focused on security, trust, reliable wireless communications, and statistical signal processing.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:
“The ERC Scientific Council is composed of outstanding European scientists and scholars who oversee Europe’s premier frontier research funding organisation. To name just one recent example of its success - three of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates have received substantial funding for their research from the European Research Council. Today, I am delighted to give a warm welcome to the five new members who bring to the ERC Scientific Council exceptional scientific expertise, which will complement that of the sitting members. I also want to thank the eminent members whose second term of office expired or will expire at the end of this year for their important contribution to the ERC Scientific Council’s work.

Professor Maria Leptin, President of the ERC, said:

We very much look forward to working with the new members who come from diverse backgrounds in science and scholarship. This breadth is essential as the ERC’s independent governing body represents the entire scientific community in Europe. With these appointments, the quality and continuity of the Scientific Council is upheld, thanks to the work of the identification committee that was tasked with finding these new members.”

The ERC Scientific Council, composed of 22 distinguished researchers representing the European scientific community, is the independent governing body of the ERC. Its main role is setting the ERC strategy and selecting the peer review evaluators. It is chaired by ERC President Maria Leptin since November 2021.

Short bio

Luke O’Neill is Professor of Biochemistry in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. He is a world expert on innate immunity and inflammation. He is listed by Thompson Reuters/ Clarivates in the top 1% of immunologists in the world, based on citations per paper. Profe. O'Neill is co-founder of Sitryx, which aims to develop new medicines for inflammatory diseases. Another company he co-founded, Inflazome was recently acquired by Roche.

He has won many awards for his research including the Royal Dublin Society / Irish Times Boyle Medal for scientific excellence, the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal for Life Sciences, the European Federation of Immunology Societies Medal, and the Landsteiner Award from the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy, EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organisation) and a Fellow of the Royal Society.

He also has a passion for communicating science to the public. He has a weekly radio slot on Irish radio and has published several popular science books, most recently ‘Never Mind the B#ll*cks Here’s the Science’, which won the 2020 Irish non-fiction book of the year, and ‘Keep Calm and Trust the Science – an extraordinary year in the life of an immunologist’, which was his diary during the COVID19 pandemic.

About the ERC

The ERC, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premier European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. It funds creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based across Europe. The ERC offers four main grant schemes: Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants and Synergy Grants.

The ERC is led by an independent governing body, the Scientific Council. Since 1 November 2021, Maria Leptin is the President of the ERC. The overall ERC budget from 2021 to 2027 is more than €16 billion, as part of the Horizon Europe programme, under the responsibility of the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel

More information:

Full press release: Distinguished scientists and scholars to join the ERC Scientific Council


Publication date
7 December 2022
Representation in Ireland