European Science Foundation

The European Science Foundation (ESF) is an association of 9 member organizations devoted to scientific research in 7 European countries.[citation needed] 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).

European Science Foundation
ESF Logo ScienceConnect Color ED.jpg
MottoYour Partner in Science
HeadquartersStrasbourg, France
Martin Hynes[1]
Chief executive
Jean-Claude Worms[1]
ESF headquarters in Strasbourg.

ESF Member Organisations are research-performing and research-funding organisations, academies and learned societies across Europe.

After 42 years 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

Past ActivitiesEdit

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.

ESF-EUROHORCs - The Funding Gap

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’,[2] 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 Unfortunately, in 2014 this instrument disappeared from the European landscape and has not been replaced by any other funding mechanism.

A change of focusEdit

ESF has recently changed its scope of work.[3] 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 Science Connect.


ESF is structured as follows:

  • Governing bodies
  • Science Connect Division
  • Community of Experts
  • Expert Boards

Governing bodiesEdit

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. Currently the ESF president is Martin Hynes.

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. At present the ESF Chief Executive is Dr. Jean-Claude Worms (ex-ESSC Executive Secretary).

Science Connect DivisionEdit

Science Connect is ESF's Expert services division dedicated to support scientific decision-making through a range of science-support services, such as Peer Review, Career Tracking, Project Management and Expert Boards Hosting. More information about Science Connect services can be found here.

Community of ExpertsEdit

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.

ESF’s Community of Experts comprises 3 colleges:

  • The College of Review Panel Members. Review Panel Members have a broad expertise in several scientific disciplines and their mission is to build consensus during the evaluation of research proposals.
  • The College of Expert Reviewers. Expert Reviewers are scientists specialized in a specific scientific domain and are in charge of assessing and evaluating several types of proposals such as fellowship applications and research projects.
  • The College of Expert Associates. Expert Associates are scientists that support ESF on temporary missions through the identification of scientific peers and the undertaking of quality check of peer-review reports.

Expert BoardsEdit

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:

European Space Sciences Committee (ESSC)

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.

Nuclear Physics European Collaboration Committee (NuPECC)

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.

Committee on Radio Astronomy Frequencies (CRAF)

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.

ESF Member OrganisationsEdit




  • Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER)(French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea)
  • EuroScience (EuroScience)





ESF PresidentsEdit

ESF Secretaries General and Chief ExecutivesEdit

  • 1974-1979 Friedrich Schneider
  • 1980-1986 John Goormaghtigh
  • 1986-1993 Michael Posner
  • 1991-1993 Umberto Colombo
  • 1993-1998 Peter Fricker
  • 1998-2003 Enric Banda
  • 2004-2007 Bertil Anderson
  • 2007 John Marks
  • 2008-2011 Marja Makarow[5][6]
  • 2012-2015 Martin Hynes[4]
  • 2016 Dr. Jean-Claude Worms [7]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Our Team - ESF - Science Connect". ESF - Science Connect. European Science Foundation. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  2. ^ EUROHORCs, ESF commit to play key role in shaping a competitive ERA Archived 22 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine ESF press release, 25. June 2008
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "The European Science Foundation elects Pär Omling as new President at its Assembly, Martin Hynes appointed as new Chief Executive". ESF. 24 November 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  5. ^ "Professor Marja Makarow becomes new CEO for the European Science Foundation". ESF. 3 January 2008. Archived from the original on 9 May 2008. Retrieved 29 April 2008.
  6. ^ Marja Makarow, chief executive, European Science Foundation, Strasbourg, France, Nature 452, 1030 (23 April 2008)
  7. ^

External linksEdit