2016 marks a new direction for ESF. After 40 years of success in stimulating European research through its networking, funding and coordination activities, ESF is now a services-based organisation that will continue to contribute to the European Research Area (ERA). Although the association will retain its legal name European Science Foundation, a different trading name and style will soon be introduced in order to differentiate between the ‘old’ ESF and the ‘new’ one. A new website is under development.
The new ESF will build on core strengths developed in peer review, evaluation and project management services as well as maintaining support for the authoritative Expert Boards and Committees. Indeed ESF will continue to host five Expert Boards and Committees that provide in-depth and focused scientific expertise in selected disciplines.
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. The brochure “Serving and Strengthening Science” provides an overview of these activities.
Its traditional research support activities (EUROCORES, European Collaborative Research Projects, Exploratory Workshops, Research Networking Programmes) have been wound down and archives transferred to the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) in Florence, Italy. Resulting publications may still be downloaded from the ESF website. ESF would be happy to continue to support research networking, but funding networking is outside its current capacity.
In 2016 the organisation has eight full Member Organisations and five associate Member Organisations. New statutes have been proposed by the Governing Council that met on 8 January 2016. The new statutes have since then been adopted unanimously by the Members of the Association with voting rights and are in the process of being submitted formally to the Tribunal d'Instance in Strasbourg. Decisions have also been taken concerning the President, Executive Board Members and Chief Executive Officer, and will be announced on 2 March 2016.