The ESRF is a French Société civile and subject to French law. Its direction is the responsibility of the Director General and its Council, made up of representatives appointed by the Member Countries. In matters of science, the Director General draws upon the personal expertise of the members of the Science Advisory 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 Campus, with the neutron source Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). ESRF staff and users develop many formal and informal collaborations with these two facilities, as well as with the many other university and government research groups based in Grenoble. 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.