International research collaboration in Europe: Strategy and role of the European Science Foundation
This book is one of the results of a project initiated by the European Science Foundation (ESF) through its Standing Committee for the Social Sciences (SCSS) to look at ways to promote the integration of the social sciences in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) into the European mainstream. It is hardly possible to understand the trends and problems, diﬃculties and
perspectives without looking at the broader landscape and considering the history of European collaboration in science in general. In this chapter a brief history of international research collaboration is
presented, without speciﬁcally limiting to Central and Eastern Europe or to social sciences. It then focuses on ESF as an illustrative example of the responses to the very diﬀerent needs the European scientiﬁc community has regarding collaboration. ESF has developed a variety of schemes in order to serve its Member Organisations and the scientiﬁc community in their European collaboration. The discussion about the European Research Area (ERA) and the creation of the European Research Council (ERC) have given both a boost to the collaboration and required a rethinking of the position of ESF and its Member Organisations. This is the topic of the third part of this chapter. In a concluding section, suggestions are made for how CEE countries could use ESF in their drive towards internationalisation and their integration into the European science eﬀort.