The 40-year archive of the European Science Foundation (ESF) has been officially presented to the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) in Florence, Italy. The presentation of the archive marks a new era for ESF as it continues its evolution into a dedicated research support services organisation for the European Research Area.
Through this special deposit by ESF Members, the HAEU will now make the ESF archive and resource available to the next generation of science researchers and policy makers. To coincide with the handover, a seminar was also held in Florence to discuss the heritage of the ESF and the experience it can bring in meeting the future needs of European Research.
Dr. Jean-Claude Worms, ESF Chief Executive, said: "This transfer of the ESF's archives will ensure that a corporate and scientific memory are preserved for the future and that the heritage of ESF itself, as a pioneer in building a common platform for science in Europe, can be understood. This is particularly significant as ESF refocuses its energies to meet the challenges and modern needs of the scientific research community today".
HAEU Director Dieter Schlenker, host of the seminar, said: "The archives constitute the main body of knowledge for studying the history of ESF as a unique organization that promotes all branches of science and research cooperation in Europe and as an exciting element of the European integration process".
Scholars attending the seminar, e.g. Professor Merle Jacob from the Lund University, have already initiated several research projects using the ESF archives with support from the University of Strasbourg's Institute for Advanced Studies or the Swedish Riksbankens Jubileumsfond. The ensuing discussion emphasized lessons learned from the ESF legacy and the unique role the ESF has played in setting research agendas during the construction phase of the European Research Area. The debate also highlighted future opportunities for the continuing organisation.
ESF, driven by its original mission to promote scientific developments through collaboration across the EU, is refining its organisation to provide public and private clients with expert research support services derived from the organisation's core technical and independent skill base.
Also speaking at the seminar was Ulrike Decoene, Head of the AXA Research Fund, who confirmed the quality and robustness of the support provided by ESF in the context of the collaboration started in 2013 between both organisations "ESF's multi-disciplinary expertise and robust processes have proven instrumental in designing and managing competitive calls and evaluations for our research programmes, in particular our AXA Post-Doctoral Fellowships. ESF has also supported an impact assessment of AXA's philanthropic research programmes including a Career Tracking Pilot", said Ms. Decoene, and added that "Our initiatives promote fundamental research and understanding of Life, Environmental and Socio-Economic Risks in order to improve awareness and prevention, and eventually contribute to the wellbeing of society. We are looking forward to expanding our strategic partnership with ESF in order to increase the effectiveness of our funding towards academic institutions and researchers in Europe as well as in other Regions such as Asia, Africa and Latin-America".