Organiser behind EU’s largest science conference goes bust


The association organiser behind one of the Europe’s largest science conferences has gone bust after failing to secure funding for the 2026 event.

EuroScience, which organises the European Science Open Forum (ESOF), has gone bankrupt after the European Commission, which co-funds the conference, changed the way it allocates money for the biennial event.

While the Open Forum meeting will go ahead as planned in Poland, the fate of the 2026 conference remains unclear.

The first ESOF conference took place in Stockholm in 2004. The Commission then became an anchor funder, giving a total €10 million to organise events in 11 designated cities dubbed ‘European City of Science’. But last year, the Commission said that from 2026 it would no longer fund a single European City of Science, instead opening up the hosting to a wider consortium of European cities.

“The world after Corona and in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine was not the same,” said secretary general Matthias Girod.

“The increased costs of living and basically everything made it increasingly difficult to finance EuroScience normal operations, let alone pay back debts,” Girod said.

Without the guarantee of EU funding, EuroScience declared bankruptcy, with the ESOF brand name up for sale.

“We arrived in 2024 without any guaranteed income and perspective until 2026 and a loan on our back,” said Girod.