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 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.