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Press Release: European Science Foundation Archives now available for consultation

Posted on 06 February 2018

The European Science Foundation (ESF) and the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) are pleased to announce that the historical archives of the ESF are now available for consultation by researchers and the interested public at the HAEU in Florence.

The ESF archival collection covers the period since its establishment in 1974 until 2005 and was transferred from Strasbourg and deposited at the HAEU in October 2015.

A first set of 500 files has now been treated, described and is available to research. The papers provide insight into the governance documents of the General Assembly, Board, Executive Board, President, General Secretary and  into some  Steering Committees of the Scientific Activities. Also, a first part of scientific papers produced by the various scientific committees and working groups has been released. The material also includes some photographs and a collection of audio tapes, and video tapes produced during various past ESF events which are in treatment process.

Dieter Schlenker, Director of the HAEU, says: “The history of scientific cooperation in Europe and its contribution to the process of European integration is a field that has not received sufficient attention by historical research. The publication of the voluminous and well-preserved archives of the European Science Foundation, which has been a key player in the field of scientific cooperation in Europe for more than 40 years, will certainly help to close this gap and raise the interest of research.”

The fonds give researchers an exciting opportunity to delve into the incredibly varied scientific fields on which researchers in the European Union have previously cooperated on. Not only does it give insight into the type of research done within the EU in the fields of social sciences, humanities, physical and engineering sciences, but it also demonstrates how the EU cooperates on such scientific research. The dossiers provide the opportunity of further research into the connection between European integration and scientific research within the EU.

Jean-Claude Worms, Chief Executive of the ESF, says: “The transfer of the ESF’s archives in 2015 was undertaken to ensure that a corporate and scientific memory is 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 studied by scholars and scientists and this phase of European integration in science be better understood. Due to the work and efforts of HAEU this access to ESF archives to researchers is now possible. This is particularly significant as ESF is refocusing its energies to meet the challenges and needs of today’s scientific research community, research stakeholders and decision-makers.”

The ESF fonds facilitates the study of an independent organisation and its role in the evolution of European research, in particular its initiative and how it developed collaboration strategies to participate in the decision-making process. Due to its collaborative role in European research, the ESF provides insight into scientific cooperation between major research partners within Europe. This is not limited to cooperation between ESF and European Institutions but also leading scientific organisations within and outside Europe, for example NASA (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration), the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the Council of Europe, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the US’s National Science Foundation (NSF) amongst others.

The European Science Foundation (ESF) is based in Strasbourg, France, and it was established in 1974 as an independent, non-governmental, and non-profit organisation to provide a common platform for its Member Organisations to collaborate internationally on research programmes through its networking, funding and coordination activities. The launch of Science Connect, the new expert services division of ESF, marks the next phase of this development, borne out of the ESF deep understanding of the science landscape, funding context and needs of the research community at this critical juncture. Based on best international practice, ESF-Science Connect mobilises specialised experts and guarantees independence, probity and transparency in the assessment processes. ESF puts its expertise, experience and network at the service of its partners to ensure that research support is channelled to the most promising projects.The ESF works with humanities, jurisprudence, social sciences, economics, natural, medical and technical sciences.

The Historical Archives of the European Union preserve and make accessible for research the archives deposited by EU institutions, collect and preserve private papers of individuals, movements and international organisations involved in European integration, facilitate research on the history of the European Union, promote public interest in European Integration and enhance transparency in the functioning of EU institutions.