This is an initiative by a number of senior solid earth scientists from different areas of the discipline. It is a result of a call by some leaders, from research funders and government and private sector for the Earth sciences sector community, to define more coherently the research questions and infrastructure needs in the solid earth science sector.

The principle target area is in solid earth sciences and its interactions with the hydrosphere and atmosphere. The discussions will not include atmospheric, ocean and climate science per se. Although we will be open to integration with these sectors where appropriate.

The organisers have no official mandate and this is not an initiative from the European Commission, although the EC are among those asking for coordination.

Through the process, beginning with a meeting to be held in Paris 17-18 October 2012 and subsequent actions, we hope the grass roots will self organise behind some key science initiatives for which we can define infrastructure needs and some broad programming initiatives; these we hope will be supported by national, European and international initiatives.

The Process

We invited key leaders on infrastructures in the Earth Science sector and the presidents of the science sections from EGU, from EAGE and also EuroGeoSurveys to an initial meeting in Paris on the 17-18 October 2012. Alongside these, leaders from the private sector were invited. To add scientific value we also invited the bearers of ERC senior and junior fellowships from section 10. With this group we developed a document for open consultation, to analyse and fill gaps in the community involved. Participants representing many geoscience initiatives focused on three key questions:

  1. What are the principal research questions in Earth Sciences?
  2. What Research Infrastructure is needed and how best to use / link what we have?
  3. What are key areas for Joint Programmes and their general characteristics?

Also discussed was how to best translate earth science into impact – both economic and societal.

In the wake of this productive meeting, many participants made immediate submissions of expressions of interest to the EC call for future infrastructures.

A meeting report was circulated to attendees, and an invited writing team drawn from attendees then compiled a roadmap concept note.

This concept note was put out to open consultation (January–May 2013).

Whilst a road map per see has not been compiled, this input fed directly into the first publication from this initiative, our brochure, providing a high–level vision aimed at policy makers, funders, industry and public, the digital version is available for download.

This was approved by the second meeting town meeting, where support for the continuation of the intiative was confirmed. A third meeting, at the Annual European Geological Union Assembly in April 2016, when the decision was taken to draft a white paper defining the scope of a European Earth Science Board.

While we are not an official grouping we have asked the community to decide if the Earth Science Europe banner should eventually be the basis of a platform for the diverse actors in our science on the same way as some other science boards have been developed in Europe. The proposal to form a European Earth Science Board (ESB) has received unanimous support, to give our community a voice and formal representation at European level.