Nicolas Walter

Nicolas Walter is the Chief Executive Officer of the European Science Foundation.  

Nicolas joined the European Science Foundation in 2002 as Junior Science Officer. He moved on later to the position of Science Officer, occupied the position of Corporate Science Officer from 2016-2019 and was appointed ESF's Chief Executive on July 1, 2019.

Through his 17 years in the organisation, he has been serving ESF and its expert boards and committees and has been involved in many science policy initiatives in the domains of European marine, space, polar and materials science. He has also initiated and managed over 12 projects and studies financed by the European Commission and the European Space Agency; and started developing the ESF grant evaluation services in 2009.

In his last position as Corporate Science Officer, Nicolas supervised and developed ESF scientific operations, including overlooking the implementation of external contracts and developing the ESF grant evaluation partnerships. He was also the Executive Scientific Secretary of the ESF’s European Space Sciences Committee, ESSC, that represents the space science community in Europe. In this role, Nicolas has coordinated the ESSC activities and the production of high-level independent scientific advice to key stakeholders, including ministerial delegations, space agencies and the European Commission.

Over the past years, Nicolas has been instrumental in the development of the executive offices of the Europlanet Society, the recently created European platform for planetary scientists, and of the European Astrobiology Institute, the first institutional grouping of research organisations interested in astrobiology, soon to be hosted by ESF.

Nicolas has also restructured ESF’s grant evaluation activities, from the development of a state-of-the-art online platform to the setting up of ESF’s Community of Experts as well as the refinement of processes and procedures, in line with international best practices. He has negotiated several multiannual partnerships with national and regional research funding organisations, public and private, leading ESF to be a lead player in the field.

Before joining the ESF, Nicolas served as Project Engineer at the French space agency (CNES) in Kourou, French Guyana. He holds a Master of Space Studies from the International Space University and a bachelor’s degree in business management and innovation from the University of Strasbourg.