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European Science Foundation

An association of national science-funding organisations that aims to promote high quality science at a European level. The Foundation currently has 78 Member Organisations (MOs) including Research Councils, academies and other scientific institutions from 30 countries. BBSRC acts as a focal point for funding and dissemination of ESF activities in the non-medical biosciences for the UK.

ESF co-ordinates co-operative research in Europe through the following activities:


This scheme enables researchers in different European countries to develop collaboration and scientific synergy in areas where European scale and scope are required for leading edge science. The scheme provides a framework that allows national funding organisations to join forces to support top class European research in and across all scientific areas.

The ESF provides programme coordination and support for the networking of funded scientists. The research funding remains with participating national organisations. BBSRC has no specific budget for UK participation: our principle is that EUROCORES activity may potentially be funded from current or planned science budgets in competition with current scientific priorities.

Contact us as early as possible to initiate or participate in a EUROCORES bid.

ESF Research Networking Programmes (RNPs)

RNPs bring together nationally funded research activities for 4-5 years through networking of researchers. They address a major scientific issue or a science-driven topic of research infrastructure, at the European level.

ESF Forward Looks

These develop medium to long term views and analyses of future research developments in multidisciplinary topics, and interact with the policy makers from ESF Member Organisations. Recent Forward Looks include: Systems Biology: A Grand Challenge for Europe, and European Food Systems in a Changing World.

ESF Exploratory workshops

The workshops enable scientists to examine topical scientific issues, and frequently lead to longer-term collaboration. A single call for proposals is normally issued each spring for events in the following year.

ESF Research Conferences

Provides the opportunity for leading scientists and young researchers to meet for discussions on the most recent developments in their fields of research. Conferences are open to scientists worldwide, whether from academia or industry. They may be single events, or series, usually with a biennial meeting focusing on specific aspects of the same general topic. Topics are at the forefront of scientific research and interdisciplinary when appropriate.