European Science Foundation (ESF) is the European association of 66 national organizations from 29 countries that are responsible for support of scientific research. It is a nongovernmental organization established in 1974 with its official headquarters in Strasbourg. The Czech Science Foundation (GACR) and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (AS CR) have been the member organizations of ESF for the Czech Republic since 1999.
Currently ESF is focusing on the winding down of its research instruments and the transfer of policy activities to Science Europe. The ESF’s activities concentrate mainly on providing of services to the science community, including peer review, evaluation and conferences, as well as support career tracking. ESF also hosts high-level expert boards and committees to support them in achieving their objectives. The policy activities have been transferred to Science Europe which now handles the mainstay of the strategic and policy activities that ESF initiated and executed in previous years. In the past ESF was promoting the development of science by bringing together leading scientists and funding agencies to implement pan-European scientific and science policy initiatives.
Organization structure of ESF
The main decision-making body of ESF is the Assembly. It meets once a year and all member organizations are represented. The Governing Council is responsible for setting, approving, directing and monitoring the strategy of the Foundation. It consists of representatives of the individual member organizations. Each country has one representative. It is chaired by the President, currently Pär Omling. In 2009 Professor Ivan Netuka, vice-president of the Czech Science Foundation, became a member of the Governing Council for the Czech Republic. Martin Hynes has been the Chief Executive since 2012.
ESF’s former scientific Standing Committees, composed of leading scientists nominated by the ESF’s Member Organizations, have been transformed into five smaller Scientific Review Groups (SRGs):
- Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences
- Biomedical Sciences (Profesor Josef Syka is a member of this Scientific Review Group)
- Physical and Engineering Sciences
- Social Sciences
The SRGs are designed to work more efficiently on the decreasing number of programmes and advise ESF and its Chief Executive on research matters.
There are no new calls for the activities EUROCORES, European Collaborative Research Projects (ECRPs), Exploratory Workshops, Research Networking Programmes (RNPs) and Forward Looks. ESF continues to manage the project ”Mapping of the European Research Infrastructure Landscape” (MERIL) in 2014 and also Research Conferences will continue in 2014. The other ESF’s activity concentrates mainly on providing peer review and evaluation for the science community.