The heads of Europe's national research councils, who gather regularly under the soubriquet EUROHORCS, look set to join forces with the European Science Foundation (ESF), which funds research, backs research networks and conferences, and develops science policy, mostly with money from EUROHORCS members. The aim is to create a single, and more powerful, voice for Europe's national science funding agencies that control some €25 billion annually—by far the largest slice of public money available to the region's scientists. "We will try to combine the best things that characterized the two organizations in the past and have the courage to leave out others," says Dieter Imboden, current EUROHORCS president.
The new body, which could begin work next year, has been given the tentative working title of the European Research Organization. Working groups are hammering out the details of the merger for approval this autumn by EUROHORCS and ESF's assembly. "We are in a process. A year ago it looked like mission impossible, and the situation is not solved yet," says Imboden.
More details of this merger are covered in a news story in the 11 June issue of Science.