European Science Foundation
The European Science Foundation (ESF) is an association of 11 member organizations devoted to scientific research in 8 European countries. ESF is an independent, non-governmental, non-profit organisation that promotes the highest quality science in Europe. It was established in 1974 and its offices are located in Strasbourg, France (headquarters).
ESF Member Organisations are research-performing and research-funding organisations, academies and learned societies across Europe.
After four decades of success in stimulating European research through its networking, ESF undertook a re-alignment and re-calibration of its strategic vision and focus. The launch of its Expert division "Science Connect" beginning of 2017 marks the next phase of its evolution and has been born out of a deep understanding of the science landscape, funding context and the needs of the research community.
More information about the new role of ESF and SCIENCE CONNECT can be found on .
Up to 2015 ESF provided a platform for research scoping, planning and networking on a European and global scale for ESF member organisations. ESF activities were organised around three operational bases: strategy, synergy and management. In line with its then mission and strategic plan, the European Science Foundation ran programmes in science; programmes to enhance science synergy such as research networking programmes and collaborative research projects for European scientists; along with activities dedicated to science management, such as providing administrative services to independent scientific committees and other organisations.
In June 2008, ESF in collaboration with EUROHORCs (European Heads of Research Councils) published a policy briefing ‘The EUROHORCs and ESF Vision on a Globally Competitive ERA and their Road Map for Actions to Help Build it’, detailing essential requirements to build a globally competitive European Research Area within the next five to ten years. Unfortunately, in 2014 this instrument disappeared from the European landscape and has not been replaced by any other funding mechanism.
ESF has recently changed its scope of work. ESF has closed its traditional research support activities (European Collaborative Research Projects, Exploratory Workshops, Research Networking Programmes, etc.) and is focused now on supporting the scientific community through scientific-support services delivered by its Expert division .
The annual assembly is the highest level decision making body of the ESF. It elects the ESF president, the Executive Board, ratifies the budget and accounts and admits new members. The assembly delegates are appointed by ESF member organisations.
The Executive Board sets and direct the overall strategy of the ESF and coordinates the relations with EU and other institutions. The Executive Board consists of the ESF president and 3 to 8 member organisations. The Executive Board meets twice a year.
The President officially represents the ESF to the public and in relations with other national or international organisations.
The Chief Executive is responsible for the implementation of the strategy and policy set by the Executive Board, for administration of the ESF office and its finance and for ensuring the execution of the decision of the assembly and the Governing Council.
Science Connect is ESF's Expert services division dedicated to support scientific decision-making through a range of science-support services, such as Grant Evaluation, Career Tracking, coordination of EU-funded Projects and the hosting of scientific platforms and Expert Boards.
ESF’s Community of Experts is a quality driven network of international recognized experts that covers the full spectrum of the scientific landscape (Humanities, Economics and Social Sciences, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Engineering Sciences, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Life and Biomedical Sciences). Its role is to sustain scientific collaboration, support excellence in research grant peer-review and proposal evaluation across all scientific disciplines.
Since 1974 ESF has set up and hosted expert boards and committees in several scientific domains. These include space sciences; radio-astronomy frequencies; nuclear physics; marine and polar sciences; and materials science. At present ESF hosts the following Expert Boards:
Established in 1974, the ESSC provides unbiased, expert advice to the space scientific community including but not limited to the European Space Agency, the European Commission, EU national space agencies. Over the years, the ESSC has become the reference body in Europe for independent scientific advice on space matters and a key partner for international research collaboration.
NuPECC’s aim is to strengthen European collaboration in nuclear physics through the definition of a network of complementary facilities within Europe. NuPECC issues recommendations on the development, organisation and support of European nuclear physics and particular projects.
Established in 1988, CRAF represents all the major radio astronomical observatories in Europe. CRAF initiates and encourages scientific studies aimed at reducing radio astronomy interference at source and the effects of interference. Throughout the years CRAF has become an active voice in Europe and engages with other groups of radio astronomers in discussions with international organisations that decide on the use of radio spectrum.