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< Contents ERCIM News No. 57, April 2004

European Science Foundation calls for Proposals in ICT Fields

ERCIM and the European Science Foundation, through its Physical and Engineering Sciences Committee (PESC), recognising that they share common interests, have developed closer links at the policy level and now seek to expand these links into the support of science networking. PESC's remit covers physics, chemistry, mathematics, information and computer sciences and the engineering sciences.

PESC's activities can be separated into three broad areas:

  • giving expert scientific advice on strategic issues, including undertaking independent review of major research and infrastructure programmes and proposals
  • initiating strategic science activities, such as ESF Scientific Forward Looks, which are foresight exercises (, and ESF Collaborative Research Programmes (EUROCORES - eurocores), which are major transnational basic research funding programmes
  • networking activities, which provide funds for European scientists to network over a range of timescales.

In this latter category, three 'instruments' are available:

Exploratory Workshops enable scientists to come together to discuss topical and emerging issues, usually with the objective of identifying future directions and collaborations. An annual ESF-wide call for proposals is made, with a closing date of 1 May, for events to be held in the following year. PESC normally supports at least 10 of these events at an average budget of 10-14k€ each (see

Scientific Programmes are long term activities on specific themes, and typically bring together research groups working in 7 to 10 countries. These activities are funded on an a la carte basis by ESF Member Organisations, and have an average budget of 100k€ pa over 5 years. PESC normally recommends between 4 and 6 new programmes each year. PESC operates a two-stage application procedure, with outline proposals being sought in October (see:

Scientific Networks are normally interdisciplinary and are aimed at coordinating activities to stimulate and consolidate the community in particular fields. There are two ESF-wide closing dates (31 May and 30 November) each year. Normally between 2 and 4 new Networks are supported in the PESC area each year, with funding on average at 75k€ pa over 3 years. (see: The Networks scheme is presently closed to new proposals.

PESC has supported a small number of Workshops, Networks and Programmes in various branches of Information and Computer Sciences, but would welcome an increased number of proposals.
The European Science Foundation is the European association of over 76 major national funding agencies devoted to scientific research in 29 countries.


To be informed of PESC news, programmes and closing dates, ask to join the PESC electronic mailing list.