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Scientific Community marks the establishment of Science Connect

The establishment of the new expert services division of the European Science Foundation, Science Connect, was marked formally at an event in Strasbourg City Hall, France, on 3 April 2017.  The event was attended by senior figures from the worlds of science, research, academia and public life, including European and international guests.

With 43 years’ experience in all areas of research, the European Science Foundation (ESF) was originally set up to act as a coordinating body for Europe’s main research funding and research performing organisations. As the research landscape evolved, so too has ESF’s role in supporting scientific endeavours. With its new division, Science Connect, ESF remains committed to providing valued and effective services to its Member Organisations and science stakeholders in Europe and beyond.

Guests of Honour at the event included Mr. Nicolas Matt, Vice-President of the Eurometropole, responsible for Higher Education and Research and a member of Strasbourg City Council; Prof. Michel Deneken, President of the University of Strasbourg and Mrs. Catherine Trautmann, Vice President of the Eurometropole in charge of economic, European and international development, also a member of Strasbourg City Council, former Minister of Culture and Communications of France, former Mayor of the City of Strasbourg and twice a Member of the European Parliament, and Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn, 1987 Chemistry Nobel Prize.

Mr. Nicolas Matt said "Science needs strong ethics and no borders. The more that we can do to support the continuing progress of science across all boundaries, the better that will be for our society and humanity globally. Science Connect will play an integral part in the future development of European Science and I wish ESF continuing success in all of its endeavours.”

Mrs. Catherine Trautmann said, "I warmly welcome the establishment of Science Connect, where ESF is a vibrant organisation ready to advise, manage and facilitate research collaborations throughout Europe."

Prof. Michel Deneken, President of the University of Strasbourg, addressed the challenge of evaluating research proposals, for example in the framework of the French Initiatives d’Excellence (IdEx), and in particular in Strasbourg. He said that ESF–Science Connect could play an essential role in this regard given its expertise in peer-review and evaluation of research excellence, among other key services offered by the organisation.

The event was also attended by Professor Martin Andler, Vice-President of Euroscience and President of the Initiative for Science in Europe, who highlighted the challenge for postdocs in reaching full time tenure in research.  Professor Andler said that innovative new measures and supports are required to reverse an apparent ‘brain drain’ from science. 

The European Science Foundation was represented by its President, Martin Hynes and CEO, Dr. Jean-Claude Worms.

ESF President Martin Hynes said“The work of ESF, Euroscience and Science Europe is fundamental for the voice of scientist to be heard. Once funding programmes and research facilities are in place, funding agencies must design systems to objectively and transparently allocate funding to individual researchers or consortia of researchers. This is where the most recent work of Science Connect has been directed. We are working with philanthropic as well as national (and regional) funding agencies in designing and implementing funding systems that provide excellent scientific outcomes as well as clarity and feedback for those who have been unsuccessful in winning funds.  In doing this work we are supported by a large community of scientists who contribute to our peer review campaigns.”

“We must also reflect on broader political and economic developments and see science in that context. The big opportunities of today - energy collaboration, environmental management, health improvements all demand international collaboration. Open scientific publishing and collaboration in open data will make even more rapid strides and generate impact. In this world, even greater coherence in Europe is a pressing requirement. Properly supported, science will always play its part, and ESF will continue to support science with expert services through Science Connect.”

Dr. Jean-Claude Worms, CEO of ESF and Science Connect said, "We are most grateful to the city of Strasbourg for its continuous support of the European Science Foundation. After 43 years of success in stimulating European research through our networking, funding and co-ordination activities, the ESF continues to contribute strongly to the development of the ERA. We are doing this by enabling and supporting the science community and science stakeholders with unique strengths, insights and technical capabilities. This involves partnering with customers in leading successful projects and facilitating informed decision-making through evidence-based science and through a wide range of support services.

“We have a highly qualified international and interdisciplinary team with a deep understanding of science matters and research infrastructures across Europe. Through Science Connect, we are providing that experience, along with forward thinking and planning, to all our members, partners, and customers, both public and private. We are currently engaged in over a dozen key projects including participation as Partner or Coordinator in the highly visible European Commission’s Graphene Flagship or in the inventory and web portal of European research infrastructures, MERIL.

“We are also expanding our resource network of research expertise and talent by establishing the ESF Community of Experts. We already have over 2,200 new members on board, including our College of Review Panel members. Our Community of Experts reactivates the ESF network of international academics, science policy experts, key decision-makers and stakeholders across the European and global research landscape.”

“We look forward to working with the European science community in partnership in the years and decades ahead.”

Click below to see a video of the event