ESI was founded in Archamps in 1994 at the initiative of CERN-based physicists and a group of European universities in order to develop high level training courses on technologies developed at CERN .
Under ESI’s first president, Denis Linglin (CNRS), two study-lines quickly emerged:
the first in the area of particle accelerators: the newly-established JUAS - Joint Universities Accelerator School - rapidly integrating with ESI under the direction of Marcelle Rey-Campagnolle (CERN),
the second in the fast-developing field of medical physics: a cycle of symposia, known as ACOBIO, on then cutting-edge topics such as magnetic resonance imaging and hadrontherapy being launched under the coordination of Yves Lemoigne (CEA/CERN).
In 1998, ESI’s second president, Giorgio Brianti (ret. CERN), obtained official recognition of ESI from CERN as a collaborating institution. Also in 1998, ESI signed the agreement with EFOMP (European Federation of Organisations of Medical Physics) which, following on from the ACOBIO symposia, led to the founding of ESI’s second thematic school, ESMP – the European School of Medical Physics – under the direction of Yves Lemoigne.
Keen to build on the success of JUAS and ESMP, ESI’s third president, Manfred Buhler-Broglin (ret. CERN) laid the foundations for a new school in the field of particle detectors with the ENIGMASS laboratory . The partnership was finalised by ESI’s fourth and current president Hans Hoffmann (ret. CERN) and the inaugural session of ESIPAP - European School of Instrumentation for Particle and Astroparticle Physics - was held in January 2014 under the direction of Johann Collot (University of Grenoble).
In August 2014, the summer school of the Erasmus Mundus Master degree BioHealth Computing (universities of Grenoble, Barcelona and Turin), under the coordination of Philippe Sabatier, became the fourth school to be organised by ESI in Archamps.