European Science Foundation

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Who we are

Our purpose

ESF's core purpose is to promote high quality science at a European level.

Our commitments

The ESF is committed to facilitating cooperation and collaboration in European science on behalf of its principal stakeholders (Member Organisations and Europe's scientific community). This cross-border activity combines both 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' approaches in the long-term development of science.
The Foundation is committed to providing scientific leadership through its networking expertise and by ensuring that there is a European added value to all of its initiatives and projects.

Our values

The work of the various parts of the ESF’s organisation is governed by a series of shared values.

ESF believes that there is value in bringing together scientists and organisations from different countries to cooperate on projects at a pan-European level. It believes that this diversity offers the potential for European added value.

The background to current scientific enquiry is a complex and fluid one. New specialisms are emerging, the boundaries between existing disciplines becoming blurred. Many of the breakthroughs of tomorrow are likely to be the result of inter-disciplinary endeavour between specialists from a broad range of backgrounds. Multidisciplinarity is therefore essential, and the ESF promotes this, providing a clear, relevant voice across the whole science spectrum - from humanities and the social sciences, to biology and physics.

The ESF is a relatively small organisation. One benefit of its size is that it remains flexible and responsive. It is free to move rapidly into new and emerging areas; it can respond to the changing needs of the interest groups it serves.

While the ESF speaks with its own voice, it is open to influence from a wide range of sources. With 75 Member Organisations and links to the wider scientific community, it speaks with great authority and independence. This independence gives us the freedom to encourage cooperation and collaboration wherever it is relevant.

Rigour informs everything that the ESF does; the way it is structured; the way it operates; the values it promotes. Quality is paramount, at the very heart of our remit - to promote high quality research, and encourage effective cooperation with existing and emerging avenues of scientific enquiry throughout Europe.

The ESF exists to make possible greater openness in European scientific cooperation. Our scientific Standing Committees’ role is to provide broader opportunities for scientists to work together and share knowledge. Through a wide range of networking activities the ESF provides focus and support for scientists throughout Europe.

More information

For more details about the ESF, see the following pages :

  • Member Organisations: an introduction to the research councils, academies and funding agencies who are members of the ESF, listed by country
  • How we are organised an overview of our structure, with a brief explanation of roles and functions
  • Who to contact: a list of ESF contact names and numbers