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Top EU Scientist Resigns

Mauro Ferrari, the top European Union scientist, has resigned, the Financial Times reports.

Ferrari, who only became president of the European Research Council in January, tells the FT in a statement that he had "been extremely disappointed by the European response" to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ferrari sought to set up a special research program at ERC to study and counter the virus, but the ERC Scientific Council rejected his proposal as the ERC is only allowed to fund "bottom-up" research and not "top-down" research, as the FT reports. A second plan also went nowhere, it notes.

Ferrari further bemoans the lack of coordination in healthcare policies among European Union member nations in reacting to the pandemic.

"The commission regrets the resignation of Professor Ferrari at this early stage in his mandate as ERC President," a spokesperson for the European Commision tells the New York Times

The commission adds that a number of research projects have already been funded by ERC to fight the coronavirus, the Associated Press reports. "The European Union has the most comprehensive package of measures combating the coronavirus and it is deploying different instruments in order to have the biggest impact for solving the crisis," the EU's executive Commission says, according to the AP.

Ferrari tells the FT he plans to set up an international research initiative to fight COVID-19 from the US, where he remains a professor at the University of Washington.