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Suspension of EUROCORES scheme has left a gap in funding for collaborative research in Europe - ISE

The suspension of the EUROCORES Scheme, which promoted large- scale collaborative research programmes across Europe, has undoubtedly left a funding gap in the European Research Area. There is no other scheme which addresses the promotion of bottom-up, cross-border collaborative research in a similarly comprehensive way, according to a report by the Initiative for Science in Europe (ISE).

The ISE is an independent body of learned European societies and scientific organisations. Its aim is to promote mechanisms supporting all fields of science at a European level, to involve scientists in the design and implementation of European science policies, and to advocate for strong independent scientific advice in European policy making.

The ISE Report follows a meeting convened in Brussels in April, attended by the European Science Foundation (ESF), Science Europe and a large number of other science stakeholders to examine the current and future landscape of research funding mechanisms in Europe. 

The ISE recommended that an analysis be carried out as to whether and how the ERANET Scheme should be modified to address the gap. ISE will present a full document on its recommendations at the Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF16) in July in Manchester (UK).

Dr. Jean-Claude Worms, Chief Executive, European Science Foundation (ESF), said: “The former EUROCORES research networking activities run by ESF were wound down in December 2015 under the guidance of our Member Organisations. The independent evaluation of the EUROCORES Scheme has demonstrated the importance of that programme for the European research landscape.  Just as important is the recommendation forwarded to European research stakeholders by ISE and other workshop participants that there is a necessity to close the resulting funding gap in Europe.”


Issued By:

Rachel Graham, MKC Communications, +353 1 703 8600

Note to Editor:

The European Science Foundation

ESF is a services-based organisation that contributes to the European Research Area (ERA). It is building on core strengths developed over the past 42 years in peer review, evaluation and project management services, and it hosts five Expert Boards and Committees that provide in-depth and focused scientific expertise in selected disciplines. We are taking on this new endeavour with a commitment to high quality for our Member Organisations and the science community to provide valued services to Europe and beyond.


The European Science Foundation’s (ESF) EUROCORES (EUROpean Collaborative RESearch) Scheme was ended in December 2015 after almost 12 years of activity. Started in 2003 under a 5.5-year contract with the European Commission in the 6th Framework Programme for Research, it was continued as of 2009 with direct funding support from the Member Organisations (MOs) of ESF.

The cost of scientific coordination and networking for all EUROCORES programmes was supported by the European Commission during the period 2003-2009 and centrally managed by the EUROCORES Scheme at ESF. The research grants for each of the participating Individual Projects was directly granted by participating ESF MOs (national research funding or performing organisations and academies).

By the end of the FP6 contract in 2008 the ESF MOs made a strong commitment to the continuation of EUROCORES by deciding that the Scheme should continue in the absence of a new EC funding in FP7 and that they would (i) continue to fund the research component of their projects, and (ii) they would also contribute to the required additional networking and coordination costs centrally through ESF.

The EUROCORES Scheme and the related ECRP Scheme (in the social sciences area) have funded 48 programmes during their twelve years of existence.