2013 Call for Proposals

for workshops to be held in 2014, across all scientific domains

This is now closed.  Information remains available for information purposes only.

The ESF invites proposals across all scientific domains under the 2013 Call for Exploratory Workshops.

The focus of the scheme is to foster meetings that aim to open up new directions in research or to explore emerging research fields with potential impact on new developments in science. Proposals should also demonstrate the potential for initiating follow-up actions. Proposals will be evaluated on the potential to create breakthroughs and form the basis for new areas of research and/or innovative applications, or the changing of paradigms.

Proposals may be submitted in any or across several of the following broad scientific fields:

Biomedical Sciences
Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Physical and Engineering Sciences
Social Sciences

The 2013 Call for Proposals is for workshops to be held between 1 February and 31 December 2014. The deadline for submitting proposals is 18 April 2013, 16:00 CET.

Based on experience and recent budgetary trends, ESF does not anticipate being able to support more than 10% of the proposals received, selected from the most promising ones. Applicants are therefore encouraged to only submit proposals which are exceptional in terms of their potential impact.

Required Format

ESF Exploratory Workshops are small, interactive and output-oriented discussion meetings following the format below:

  • A number of participants comprised between 15 minimum and 30 maximum (including speakers and convenors).
  • A usual duration of 1-3 days.
  • Ample time for discussion must be provided in the scientific programme.
  • A workshop shall conclude with plans for follow-up research activities and/or collaborative actions or other specific outputs at the international level.
  • A workshop should have wide participation from across Europe, with no country, including that of the convenor(s), represented by more than 25% of the total participants. Proposals with participation from less than 4 ESF Member Organisation countries will not be considered.
  • ESF encourages promotion of gender equality in all its activities: representation from either gender at a workshop must be at least 1/3 of the total participation.
  • The standard language at a workshop is English.

Level and use of ESF support

  • The award will be up to a maximum value of 15 000 €.
  • The award will cover the costs of workshop activities and travel, accommodation and subsistence for participants.

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Criteria for applicants and participants

Applicants (convenors) must be active scientists or scholars based in European universities or research institutes in countries having agencies that are Member Organisations of the ESF. Proposals may have co-applicants from other countries. In this case, the co-applicants should assure their funding through their respective national agency or through other funding bodies. Main applicants cannot belong to the private sector.

Participants should be selected on the basis of their scientific excellence and potential contribution. The aim should be to have wide participation from across Europe, with due regard also to age, gender and geographical balance (see "required format" section above). The involvement of younger, independent researchers and scholars with leadership potential is encouraged.

Priority should be given to scientists and scholars based in ESF Member Organisation countries. A limited number of participants from European countries not having ESF Member Organisations and from countries outside Europe may be included in the workshop where such involvement is essential on scientific grounds. Such participants should normally obtain support from their appropriate national agencies or from relevant international organisations. Any request for financial support from the ESF for participants based outside countries with ESF membership must be justified on scientific grounds.

Consult the directory of ESF member organisations and countries.


Preliminary screening phase

All proposals will be screened by the ESF Office on the basis of the requirements outlined in the present call including compliance in terms of proposed programme contents and budget (see detailed descriptive of expected contents under the relevant section of “Contents of Proposals” in the “Guidelines for Proposal submission”). Only proposals passing successfully through this stage will undergo peer review.  

Resubmission:  Applications not funded under a previous Call may be re-submitted once only. In such a case, it is strongly recommended that the Referees' feedback and Scientific Review Group comments on the previous application be taken into account in the revised proposal.  Further resubmissions (same topic, same proposer(s), similar list of attendees) will not be accepted.

Assessment phase

The main criterion for the assessment of proposals is the potential to create breakthroughs and form the basis for new areas of research and/or innovative applications, or the changing of paradigms.

Other criteria:

  • Potential for initiating follow-up research activities and/or developing future collaborative actions or other specific outputs at international level
  • Suitability of the principal applicant(s) to convene the workshop.

The final funding decision on proposals will be made by the ESF Chief Executive on the recommendation of the appropriate ESF Scientific Review Groups (SRG). The SRGs formulate their recommendations on the basis of written assessments provided by expert reviewers and taking into account the scientific balance of their Exploratory Workshops portfolio. The selection outcome will be announced by the end of November 2013.

To access the assessment form for information, click here: (PDF 243KB)

Conditions of award

  • The workshop must take place in an ESF Member Organisation country between 1 February and 31 December 2014.

  • The workshop must comply with the profile of Exploratory Workshops as defined under "Format".

  • ESF supports scientific meetings through a range of mechanisms. ESF will not consider for support under the Exploratory Workshop scheme workshops in scientific topics covered by current ESF activities (e.g. Research Networking Programmes, EUROCORES).

  • The workshop should be financed mainly by ESF (i.e. minimum of 51% of total funding); awards are not meant to contribute to or subsidise the funding of meetings mainly funded or organised by other organisations. However partnership funding arrangements for individual workshops are welcome.

  • ESF will not consider for support under the Exploratory Workshop scheme:

    • Events which are part of a series of workshops or regular meetings of existing formal or informal networking groups.

    • Events designed as summer schools, training/lecture/examination courses for students, or large conferences (whether upon application or open to the public).

    • Events integrated into another event (i.e. as one or more sessions) or organised “in parallel” to a large event on a similar topic on the same premises. “Back to back” organisation is accepted.

    • Events open to an audience or “observers”.

  • The meeting should be clearly identified as an ESF event, in particular by including the ESF logo and announcing the meeting as an "ESF Exploratory Workshop on: ..." in any advertisements, posters, websites, abstracts, proceedings, etc. Additional support from other organisations should also be acknowledged.

  • No participant should be requested to pay a registration fee.

  • A concise report of the scientific/strategic output of the workshop, as well as a financial report on workshop expenditure and statistical information on the workshop participants, must be submitted within two months of the event. The scientific report will be submitted to the relevant ESF Scientific Review Group(s) and published on the ESF website.