It is the main decision-making body of the ESF. It meets once a year and all Member Organisations are represented. The Assembly appoints the President, Vice-Presidents and the Chief Executive of the ESF. It also approves the reports of the Governing Council, the Expert Boards and Committees, and the Scientific Review Groups. It ratifies the budget and accounts of ESF, admits new members, and approves and amends the Statutes. The Assembly also provides a venue for debate and interaction between the Member Organisations.
The Governing Council
It is responsible for setting, approving, directing and monitoring the overall strategy direction of the Foundation. It is chaired by the President and is composed of one representative from each ‘national group’ of Member Organisations. The representatives are the Heads of organisations within the ESF membership. The Governing Council normally meets twice a year (in spring and autumn).
The Finance and Audit Committee
The Finance and Audit Committee (FAC) advises the Governing Council on the preparation and the management of ESF budgets and accounts as well as on matters relating to ESF administration and on audit processes. The FAC reviews on a regular basis the risks to which the organisation is exposed and the measures undertaken to mitigate these risks. The FAC is composed of high-level finance and science managers nominated by Member Organisations.
Scientific Review Groups (SRGs)
ESF has restructured the organisation to adapt to the reduced number of research instruments it manages, leading to the creation of small Scientific Review Groups to replace the previous Standing Committees which have been disbanded. The ESF has 5 SRG’s composed of leading scientists nominated by the ESF’s Member Organisations. The SRGs are responsible for identifying scientific priorities, formulating strategies, developing research agendas and conducting peer review. The 5 SRGs are as follows:
- Bio-medical Sciences
- Life, Earth & Environmental Sciences
- Physical and Engineering Sciences
- Social Sciences
Expert Boards and Committees
Expert Boards and Committees are established as the need arises, giving ESF the flexibility to adapt to the changing scientific landscape. They provide advice and initiate strategic developments. The six Expert Boards and Committees are as follows:
- Committee on Radio Astronomy Frequencies (CRAF)
- European Polar Board (EPB)
- European Space Sciences Committee (ESSC)
- Marine Board – ESF (MB-ESF)
- Materials Science and Engineering (MatSEEC)
- Nuclear Physics European Collaboration Committee (NuPECC)
The ESF headquarters are in Strasbourg, France with 2 offices in Belgium: a meeting room in Brussels and the Marine Board Office in Ostend. The ESF Office is directed by the Chief Executive, and assisted by an international staff.