Is the position of science changing in our society? Society has changed much (and is still changing rapidly) under the influence of science and technology. But it seems that, following the endeavour of growth after the Second World War, science now finds itself in an ambiguous situation. On the one hand, research promises a better future, yet on the other, new criticism arises from many sides and provokes a decrease of trust in science by the public. A consequence of this ambiguous position is the difficulty for democratic regimes to increase their support for science. This leads to the proposal that a new frontier has emerged for science policy: to include “science in society” (SiS) as a necessary and important component. This means that research must be respected and protected as a free-minded activity, but also harnessed to help to cope with future challenges, such as smart cities, ageing, renewable energy, care of the environment, development, new modes of transportation, and so forth. We propose that this requires an approach of both cooperating and keeping the right distance with society (in a balanced manner). This proposal, which should be understood in a long term perspective, reaches beyond the organisations represented by ESF Forum members themselves, and involves other social groups and their bodies across wider society. The Policy Recommendation focuses on the role that research organisations may play in future European society, based on a two-way communication with other principal social actors.