The European Long-range Research Initiative (LRI) was launched in 2000. The objective of this programme is to provide increased understanding of the potential impact of chemicals on human health and the environment. The aim has been to reduce uncertainty associated with innovation, and to promote evidence-based decision making. In pursuing these objectives the LRI has commissioned independent scientific research in institutions throughout Europe and beyond. The portfolio of research supported by the LRI has delivered significant contributions to risk assessment sciences. In addition, the LRI programme has benefited the broader scientific community. In this review article members of the Cefic European Scientific Advisory Panel (ESAP), the body charged with providing oversight of the LRI programme, illustrate some of those achievements by reference to specific areas of research (respiratory allergy, human biomonitoring, environment and wildlife), and also the contribution made to the development of European scientists through the annual LRI Award Programme.