Working together on large infrastructures in the European Research Area

Excellent joint research is served with firm joint infrastructures. Recently, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), a strategic instrument to develop the scientific integration of Europe and to strengthen its international outreach, presented their strategy report and updated 2018 roadmap. The Roadmap showcases eighteen ESFRI projects and thirty-seven landmarks: research facilities that will be implemented in the next ten years or are well on its way to being implemented. Six of the eighteen projects are new. Research Infrastructures  (RI’s) are facilities, means and services used to conduct excellent science in a large range of scientific disciplines, varying from environment, health & food; to data, computing and digital research infrastructures. As such, they are part of joint programming activities to coordinate research needed to tackle the Grand Societal Challenges: “A well interfaced RI system will be an important contribution to European research competitiveness by enabling research to yield responses to issues such as the Grand Challenges and industrial and social needs”.

The ESFRI infrastructures are funded through European Member States and the European Commission H2020 programme and aim to foster broader coordination at national and European levels. ESFRI also supports structuring the European Research Area (ERA) through its interconnections with other programmes and initiatives, and in this respect refers to the importance of strengthening links with relevant Joint Programming Initiatives. For the Environmental Sciences and Health and Food, the relevant JPIs that are explicitly addressed are JPI Climate, JPI Oceans, JPI Water, JPI-FACCE and the JPI More Years, Better Lives (MYBL). The strategy report notes that “excellent RIs is an instrument for increasing regional competitiveness, and thus a key component of European cohesion policy. RIs are boosting the generation of scientific knowledge, accelerating technology development, and enhancing both technological and social innovation. The effective investment in RIs and their exploitation are among the key priorities for realising the European Research Area”.

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