ESF names University of Helsinki’s Marja Makarow its Chief Executive

The European Science Foundation announced Professor Marja Makarow will succeed Dr. John Marks to be its Chief Executive; making her the first woman to take the top post in the science organisation’s 33-year history.

Marja Makarow Over the past decade Makarow, who is an active scientist in the field of molecular cell biology, has been in positions of trust serving a number of national and intergovernmental research funding and research performing organizations in Europe. In Finland she is a member of the National Advisory Council for Science and Technology Policy reporting to the Ministries and Parliament. She is also the Vice-Rector for Research and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Helsinki.

“I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to be able to concentrate completely on the promotion of research and its impact for society,” said Makarow.

Professor Makarow is joining ESF at a time when the European science community is at a crossroad with the consensus recognising that Europe has clear weaknesses in common platform and pan-European collaboration when it comes to scientific activities due to the fragmented nature of the continent.

“ESF is more relevant than ever, having an essential role in complementing the national research funding and research performing organisations and academies, and the framework programmes of the EU, “ commented Professor Makarow. “These organisations, together with the scientific community, indeed are able to affect the European science agenda. They must aim at capitalising the benefits for society and mankind that research generates in the form of new knowledge, technologies and interpretations.”

As for Professor Makarow herself, she has every intention to work closely with the Member Organisations, policy makers and the ESF staff to transform the fragmented nature of European science. “Speaking for all scientific disciplines, ESF is in a unique position to take centre stage in influencing the science policy agenda in Europe. “

“I get inspired by the tasks that I undertake, and drive them forward in a goal-oriented, pragmatic way,” said Professor Makarow. “I would like to see the ESF staff and other stakeholders as colleagues who are catalysed to accomplish goals in the same spirit.”

The current Chief Executive, Dr. Marks, will stand down on 31 December 2007. He will then resume his previous post with the ESF as the Director of Science and Strategy. Marks took the helm from Professor Bertil Andersson who left the ESF for Singapore to become the Rector of Nanyang Technological University in April 2007.

The European Science Foundation, which is based in Strasbourg, France, is an association of 75 member organisations from 30 European countries. Since its inception in 1974, it has co-ordinated a wide range of pan-European scientific initiatives.

ESF webpages

Text: Academy of Finland
Photo: Ida Pimenoff

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