CERN takes over the EIROforum Chairmanship

On 1 July 2011, CERN took over the chairmanship of EIROforum for a period of one year. The EIROforum calendar of activities for the period of the CERN chairmanship includes the organisation of many events and the launch of new initiatives.


The CERN Director-General speaks about Science and Society at the EC Conference on the Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation Funding, 11 June 2011.

Founded in 2002 to “serve European science”, the EIROforum partnership today includes eight European intergovernmental research organisations - CERN, EFDA-JET, EMBL, ESA, ESO, ESRF, European XFEL and ILL - that cover a wide range of scientific disciplines and have several organisational models and different member states. This diversity has allowed informed debates about almost all areas of importance for the European Research Area and has also meant that the partners, speaking as a group, have been able to legitimately express their views on a whole range of science policy issues with a voice to be heard.

Over the years, a dual function of EIROforum has emerged: on the one hand as a platform for high-level interaction in European science policy, on the other hand as a framework for increasingly intense and valuable cooperation among the partners, e.g. in the fields of training, IT, scientific instrumentation, knowledge sharing, and outreach and education. “Our main priorities broadly align along two main axes: EU-relations and joint activities,” said Rolf Heuer, CERN Director-General in a letter to the members of the EIROforum Council. “For the former we need to ensure that our voice continues to be heard in the ongoing preparations for the next Framework Programme (Horizon 2020) and discussions with EU and Member State decision-makers. When it comes to EIROforum activities, I would like to adopt a more strategic approach to our work in common and our relationship with the European Research Area. This process must include a review of the thematic working groups to ensure that we have the right groups in place to achieve our common objectives. We should also review our current and past activities. For example, I would like to investigate the possibility of reintroducing the joint science conferences that we held during the early years of EIROforum.”

Member organisations sign the EIROforum Charter in Brussels, November 2002.

Given the challenges that EIROforum is preparing to face, the calendar is rich in activities for the year of CERN’s chairmanship. They include participation in the European Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) in Helsinki; the Career Development Symposia for Young Scientists in Heidelberg and Geneva; the organisation of the EIROforum Teachers’ School in Grenoble; the organisation of topical workshops on instrumentation; participation in careers fairs; and preparations for the Euroscience Open Forum 2012 (ESOF) in Dublin.

“CERN takes its responsibility as chair very seriously, but EIROforum is a partnership and the contribution from all EIROs is vital to our success,” said the Director-General. “With the CERN team in place, I look forward to a fruitful and exciting year for EIROforum. I am sure that, with the constructive participation of all the partner organisations, we will make progress in areas that are important to us all.”

by CERN Bulletin