The ESRF is a French non-profit Société civile, subject to French law.

The ESRF is funded by an intergovernmental Convention and is an excellent example of international cooperation with 20 partner nations, of which 13 are Members and 7 are Scientific Associates. Each Member State designates official delegates to the ESRF Council, the highest governing body of the ESRF. The ESRF Council functions as the shareholders' assembly and decides on important issues of company policy.

The Director General, appointed by the Council, manages the ESRF laboratory. The Director General is assisted by a directorate, including two Directors of Research responsible for the experimental infrastructure and in charge of the Experiments Division, a director responsible for the synchrotron radiation source and in charge of the Accelerator and Source Division, a director of the Administration, and two heads of division, a head of the Instrumentation, Services and Development Division and a head of the Technical Infrastructure Division.

A series of advisory bodies support the ESRF and make recommendations to the Council and to the Director General in various matters: the Science Advisory Committee, the Machine Advisory Committee and the Administrative and Finance Committee.


As an international leader, the ESRF participates in many local, national, and international partnerships. The facility shares a physical site, called the European Photon and Neutron Science Campus, with the neutron source Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). Together, they have created a hub of excellence that has stimulated co-location of specialist laboratories such as the Institute for Structural Biology, the Partnership for Structural Biology, the Partnership for Soft Condensed Matter and industrial research collaborations. In Grenoble, the ESRF is also member of the GIANT campus and partner of the COMUE (University) Grenoble Alpes.

Internationally, as a member of EIROforum, the ESRF works with research institutions across Europe to support the development of the European Research Area and to promote science education. The ESRF-EBS project has been highlighted as an ESFRI landmark in the 2016 ESFRI roadmap.

Governance documents

  • The ESRF Data Policy as approved by the 64th Council meeting