News, Announcements & Press Releases

14. May 2014 16:55

ESF’s 40th birthday – A celebration of 40 years of European Science

On 15-16 May 2014, the European Science Foundation (ESF) holds a celebratory event in Strasbourg to commemorate its 40 years of scientific networking and collaboration.

The event will feature a round table debate on “ESF’s added-value”, moderated by science writer Tim Radford, and a panel discussion on “New Science: the evidence-base”, moderated by Mr. Richard Hudson from Science Business.

Guest speakers include:

  • Professor Bertil Andersson, President of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Professor Godefroy Beauvallet, Director of AXA Research Fund
  • Professor Paul Boyle, President of Science Europe
  • Dr. Monica Dietl, Director of COST Office
  • Professor Dirk Helbing, Chair of Sociology at ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)
  • Dr. Ingrid Wünning-Tschol, Senior Vice President for Health and Science, Robert Bosch Foundation

The President of ESF, Professor Pär Omling, will host an audience of renowned scientists, past Presidents and Chief Executives, representatives of Member Organisations, special guests and current and former staff members. The key-note speech will be given by Professor Jean-Marie Lehn, Nobel Prize Chemistry 1987.

“At the time of ESF’s inception,” said Martin Hynes, Chief Executive of ESF, “Science was largely a national or a corporate endeavour. The concepts of ‘open access’ and ‘open innovation’ had yet to be articulated. In the four decades that followed, science accelerated, new disciplines emerged, the idea of international partnerships took hold. A European research era was born.”

In the words of ESF President, Pär Omling, “So many of ESF’s networks, projects, partnerships and initiatives began as ideas sparked by individuals in laboratories and university common rooms across the continent; individuals who found kindred spirits and who began to gather a community of enthusiasts prepared to take the idea to Strasbourg for peer review, and then back to their own Member Organisations for support. Over the last four decades, these scientists and scholars can be numbered not just in thousands, but in hundreds of thousands.”

“Today ESF’s role is to adapt to the changing scientific landscape,” explains Martin Hynes.  “With a new approach as a service provider rather than a wholly member-funded organisation, we are providing valuable services to the scientific and academic communities – such as peer review, evaluation, career tracking, conferences, implementation of new research support mechanisms and the hosting of high-level expert boards and committees – in order to support and drive the future of a globally competitive European Research Area.”

Associated with its 40th anniversary and as a tribute to excellence in science, the European Science Foundation, in partnership with the City of Strasbourg and the University of Strasbourg, will host a photographic exhibition, on loan from the Lindau Foundation in Germany, of Nobel Laureates taken by the German photographer Peter Badge. A selection of 10 portraits will be displayed outside the Hôtel de Ville in Place Broglie, from Thursday 15 May for one month. These 10 portraits are an introduction to the exhibition of over 50 black and white photographs from the collection that will be held in the Hôtel de Ville, Salle Conrath, 9 rue Brûlée, Strasbourg from 24 May-13 June 2014.

ESF’s special web 40th anniversary web site, featuring an interactive timeline showing major dates and milestones in ESF’s and European history from 1974 to the present day:

The publication ‘A Celebration of 40 years of European Science’ chronicles some of the past activities of the ESF. It is available online:


For further information please contact:

Jane Swift, Team Leader Communications, ESF   
jswift[at];  Tel +33 (0) 388-767-129;  Cell +33 (0) 643-172-382

Notes for editors

The European Science Foundation (ESF) was established in 1974 to provide a common platform for its Member Organisations – the main research funding and research performing organisations in Europe – to advance European research collaboration and explore new directions for research. ESF provides valuable services to the scientific and academic communities – such as peer review, evaluation, career tracking, conferences, implementation of new research support mechanisms and the hosting of high-level expert boards and committees – with the aim of supporting and driving the future of a globally competitive European Research Area. ESF currently has 66 member organisations in 29 countries.


Jean-Marie Lehn is Professor at the University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Study (USIAS), Honorary Professor at the Collège de France in Paris and Emeritus Professor at the University of Strasbourg. In 1987, Jean Marie Lehn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, together with Donald Cram and Charles J. Pedersen.


Speakers in the Round table debate:

  • Professor Markus Arndt, University of Vienna
  • Dr. Helen Bridle, Heriot-Watt University
  • Dr. Anne-Marie Glynn, European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)
  • Professor Jean-Pierre Henriet, Ghent University
  • Dr. Maria Mota, University of Lisbon
  • Dr. Ineke Stoop, The Netherlands Institute for Social Research


Since 2000, German photographer Peter Badge has been commissioned by a number of renowned organisations such as the Deutsches Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of American History, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., as well as the Lindau Foundation to photograph Nobel Prize laureates.