The ScienceTree project originated in the summer of 2002 when the idea of a tree to symbolize European integration was first suggested. The initial proposal was to plant a tree in soil originating from countries throughout the European Union to symbolize the importance of European integration for future generations and taking science as a leading example.
Over the years, renowned European scientists, including three Nobel laureates and 16 EMBO Members, provided soil samples from their countries. By May 2014, 29 samples had been collected, 28 samples from the 28 countries forming the European Union and one sample from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). The latter was included as an example of European integration that benefits the life sciences and to also recognize the roles of Israel, Norway and Switzerland in the support of European research.