In the past few years, ESF has undergone significant restructuring and has now set out on a new direction. After 40 years of success in stimulating European research through its networking and coordination activities, ESF is reorganising so as to underpin scientific decision-making. Its aim is to generate a solid evidence-base to support the decision-making work of clients and other scientific associations in Europe.
At the ESF’s Governing Council meeting on 16-17 June 2015, members noted that the financial viability check (by an external contractor) was positive and recognised the potential for a services-based organisation that will continue to contribute to the European Research Area (ERA).
ESF is able to provide expert reviews for specific competitive calls or full-scale call management across all scientific domains, building upon its integrity and independence, strong experience and know-how, and wide support from a network of independent highly-skilled reviewers. At the same time, it is developing its activities to become a high-quality international evaluation service provider, providing excellence in research, development and innovation. It connects evaluation with strategy and process improvement - implementing lessons from evaluation in practice and helping to apply them.
2015 is the final year of winding down the traditional networking activities of ESF (EUROCORES, European Collaborative Research Projects, Exploratory Workshops, Research Networking Programmes); policy activities have already been taken up by Science Europe. ESF continues to host 5 Expert Boards and Committees that provide in-depth and focused scientific expertise in selected disciplines.
In 2016 the organisation will have a reduced core membership – around 15 full or associate Member Organisations will make up the governance. A different trading name and style will be introduced in order to differentiate between the ‘old’ ESF and the ‘new’ one. These and changes to its governance structure will be introduced in early 2016.
ESF is working towards a sustainable future that will be focused on activities built on core strengths developed in peer review, evaluation and project management services. The brochure “Serving and Strengthening Science” provides an overview of these activities.