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Research infrastructures

Highlights

Call n°10 - FP7-INFRASTRUCTURES-2012-1 - RTD part: first outcome

The call was closed on the 23th November 2011. 41 proposals were submitted to the RTD part. The remote and central evaluation was carried out by external experts from December 2011 to February 2012. 34 proposals passed all thresholds: 27 Integrating Activities; 6 Preparatory Phases; 1 measure in Support to Policy.



Information on running projects

 

Objective

The overall objective of the ‘Research infrastructures’ part of the FP7 Capacities programme is to optimise the use and development of the best research infrastructures existing in Europe. Furthermore, it aims to help to create new research infrastructures of pan-European interest in all fields of science and technology. The European scientific community needs these to remain at the forefront of the advancement of research, and they will help industry to strengthen its base of knowledge and technological know how.

Why is it important?

Knowledge generation and, by implication, innovation, directly depend on the quality and availability of research infrastructures, which include facilities such as observatories, data banks, radiation sources and communication networks.

What will be funded?

Support to existing research infrastructures:

  • Integrating Activities - providing a wider and more efficient access to, and use of, the research infrastructures exiting in EU Member States, Associated Countries and at international level when appropriate (including: transnational access, joint research and networking;
  • ICT-based e-Infrastructures - supporting a number of interrelated topics designed to foster the emergence of a new research environment in which ‘virtual communities’ share and exploit the collective power of European scientific and engineering facilities.

Support to new research infrastructures:

  • Design Studies – concepts for new research infrastructures with clear European dimension and interest;
  • Construction of new infrastructures:
    • Stage 1 - providing catalytic and leveraging support for the preparatory phase for the construction of new research infrastructures
    • Stage 2 – providing support to the implementation phase involving the actual construction or deployment of the infrastructure, including all appropriate coordination activities as well as relevant technical work.

Support to Policy development and Programme Implementation

  • Policy development - supporting, in the context of building up the European Research Area and including international cooperation, the coordination of national and/or regional policies and programmes in the field of research infrastructures;
  • Programme implementation and support to emerging needs - supporting the effective implementation of this programme by fostering cooperation among National Contact Points (NCPs) and promoting measures to identify emerging needs.

Calls

The European Commission will fund ‘Research infrastructures’ activities by selecting project proposals submitted following the publication of a ‘Call for proposals’. The calls of the ‘Research infrastructures’ Work Programme are announced on this page. Read more…

Budget

The EU Member States have earmarked about € 1.8 billion for funding this theme over the duration of FP7.

Funded projects

Information on funded projects under FP7 and FP6 can be found at:
http://ec.europa.eu/research/infrastructures/index_en.cfm?pg=projects

Project management

In addition to the standard guidelines and procedures for FP7 projects, available in the left menu under "Find a document", SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS for the reporting and management OF INTEGRATING ACTIVITIES need to be followed.

Implementing the European Research Infrastructures' Roadmap

Europehas taken a major step forward in the development of a more coordinated approach for policy-making in the field of RIs with the establishment of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures ( ESFRI ) in 2002. ESFRI released the first ever European Roadmap for Research Infrastructures in 2006 entailing a list of 35 new RIs or major upgrade of existing ones to be developed by 2015-20. This list has been updated in 2008 with the identification of a set of ten additional RIs mainly in the fields of environment, biology and energy, and in 2010 with the addition of six RIs in the fields of energy and biological sciences.

The implementation of the roadmaps started in 2007 with funding within FP7 of the preparatory phase of 44 projects which aims to the finalisation of the legal organisation, the management and multiannual financial planning. Research Infrastructures are also funded in their implementation phase mainly through supporting common needs of a cluster of projects in the same scientific field.

A first report on the implementation of the ESFRI Roadmap was published in January 2010.
More information on the ESFRI Roadmaps and their implementation

Research Infrastructures within the ERA

In 2000, the EU decided to create the European Research Area (ERA) that became one of the central pillars of the EU 'Lisbon Strategy' for growth and jobs. The European Commission published in 2007 a Green Paper on ERA reviewing progress made and raising questions for debate. A public consultation was launched on the ERA Green Paper. Following the consultation results, the Commission and Member States took in 2008 new initiatives to develop the ERA, including an enhanced political governance of ERA, called the "Ljubljana Process", and five initiatives on specific areas of the ERA Green Paper.

Developing World-class research infrastructures is one of the key initiatives and an essential element to the reinforcement of the European Research Area. The main challenges that need to be addressed are: (i) to overcome fragmentation and prioritise effectively at EU level; (ii) to improve efficiency of management, services and access; (iii) to cope with the increasing cost and complexity; (iv) to further develop and better exploit the potential of e-infrastructures.

A report of an ERA expert group on research infrastructures emphasized the need for a strategic coordination mechanism at EU level involving all relevant stakeholders and recommended to create a European legal framework (ERIC) for the management of new research infrastructures.

Developing world-class research infrastructures for the European Research Area (2008) [PDF]

Building on the work of the first expert group, a second ERA expert group reviewed and re-examined the role of research infrastructures within the ERA. The experts drew a vision for 2020 on the status, role and scientific impact of research infrastructures in relation to the evolution of the ERA.

A vision for strengthening world-class research infrastructures in the ERA (2010) [PDF]

Previous initiatives relating to European research infrastructures

The Commission published in 2004 a Working document on research infrastructures in FP7 [PDF] setting out how Research infrastructures of European interest would be developed using a mechanism similar to the one used for the trans-European networks (TENs).

In the Stakeholder consultation [PDF] on the European Commission’s Communication on the future of European research in 2004 many participants stressed the importance of research infrastructure to Europe's research performance, citing examples such as CERN and the GEANT network. The need to cover a wide range of disciplines, including social sciences and humanities, as well as the need for industrially relevant infrastructure, was mentioned.

The European Research Advisory Board (EURAB) also published in 2004 its Recommendations [PDF] on European research infrastructures.

In response to the need of being aware of what research infrastructures already exist, the EC, in collaboration with the European Science Foundation (ESF) and EuroHORCs , conducted a comprehensive survey of the RIs of pan interest in Europe. A Report [PDF] on the "Trends in European Research Infrastructures, including analysis of data from the 2006/07 survey" was published.

Further information

Information on the development of research infrastructures and projects funded under FP7
Information on support to research infrastructures under FP6
RI database Portal

Last updated on: 2012-07-24