Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

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'Advanced Communities' are scientific communities whose research infrastructures show an advanced degree of coordination and networking at present, attained, in particular, through Integrating Activities awarded under FP7 or previous Horizon 2020 calls.

An Integrating Activity will mobilise a comprehensive consortium of several key research infrastructures[[Exceptionally, the consortium may include only one research infrastructure providing access, if this facility is of a truly unique nature.]] in a given field as well as other stakeholders (e.g. public authorities, technological partners, research institutions) from different Member States, Associated Countries and other third countries[[Legal entities established in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Russia, Mexico and USA, which provide, under the grant, access to their research infrastructures to researchers from Members States and Associated countries, are eligible for funding from the Union.]] when appropriate, in particular when they offer complementary or more advanced services than those available in Europe.

Funding will be provided to support, in particular, the trans-national and virtual access provided to European researchers (and to researchers from Third Countries under certain conditions), the cooperation between research infrastructures, scientific communities, industry and other stakeholders, the improvement of the services the infrastructures provide, the harmonisation, optimisation and improvement of access procedures and interfaces.

To this extent, an Integrating Activity shall combine, in a closely co-ordinated manner:

(i) Networking activities, to foster a culture of co-operation between research infrastructures, scientific communities, industries and other stakeholders as appropriate, and to help develop a more efficient and attractive European Research Area;

(ii) Trans-national access or virtual access activities, to support scientific communities in their access to the identified key research infrastructures;

(iii) Joint research activities, to improve, in quality and/or quantity, the integrated services provided at European level by the infrastructures.

All three categories of activities are mandatory as synergistic effects are expected from these different components.

Access should be provided only to key research infrastructures of European interest, i.e., those infrastructures able to attract significant numbers of users from countries other than the country where they are located. Other national and regional infrastructures in Europe can be involved, in particular in the networking activities, for the exchange of best practices, without necessarily being beneficiaries in the proposal.

Proposals from advanced communities will have to clearly demonstrate the added value and the progress beyond current achievements in terms of integration and services, of a new grant. The strongest impact for advanced communities is expected typically to arise from focusing on innovation aspects and widening trans-national and virtual access provision. Furthermore, in particular for communities supported in the past under three or more integrating activities, the creation of strategic roadmaps for future research infrastructure developments as well as the long-term sustainability of the integrated research infrastructure services provided at European level, need to be properly addressed. The latter requires the preparation of a sustainability plan beyond the grant lifecycle as well as, where appropriate, the involvement of funders.

In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), Integrating Activities should, whenever appropriate, pay due attention to any related international initiative (i.e. outside the EU) and foster the use and deployment of global standards.

Integrating Activities should also organise the efficient curation, preservation and provision of access to the data collected or produced under the project, defining a data management plan, even when they opt out of the Pilot on Open Research Data. Data management (including ethics and privacy issues), interoperability, as well as advanced data and computing services should be addressed where relevant. To this extent, proposals should build upon the state of the art in ICT and e-infrastructures for data, computing and networking, working in cooperation with e-infrastructure service providers.

Integrating Activities should in particular contribute to fostering the potential for innovation, including social innovation, of research infrastructures by reinforcing the partnership with industry, through e.g. transfer of knowledge and other dissemination activities, activities to promote the use of research infrastructures by industrial researchers, involvement of industrial associations in consortia or in advisory bodies.

Integrating Activities are expected to duly take into account all relevant ESFRI and other world-class research infrastructures to exploit synergies, to reflect on sustainability and to ensure that rationally designed, comprehensive and coherent overall concepts for European Infrastructures are being pursued.

As the scope of an integrating activity is to ensure coordination and integration between all the key European infrastructures in a given field and to avoid duplication of effort, at most one proposal per area is expected to be submitted.

Further conditions and requirements that applicants should fulfil when drafting a proposal are given in part C of the section “Specific features for Research Infrastructures”. Compliance with these provisions will be taken into account during evaluation.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 10 million would allow this topic to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

On the basis of a multiannual plan drafted taking into account the assessment and the timing of previous grants as well as strategic priorities and needs, in term of research infrastructures services, emerging from other parts of Horizon 2020, this work programme invites proposals addressing the following areas listed under the different domains. A balanced coverage of the various domains, in line with the distribution of areas per domain, is expected as outcome of this topic.

Biological and Medical Sciences

Facilities for high throughput DNA sequencing. This activity aims at integrating the key research infrastructures in Europe as well as leading-edge research infrastructures located in third countries to open them up to European researchers. Adequate consideration should be taken of the produced data and its availability for research. In this respect, synergies with other relevant ESFRI Infrastructures, in particular ELIXIR, should be duly exploited.

Vaccine infrastructures. This activity aims at bridging the 'translational gap' in biomedical research by providing academia- and SME- driven vaccine R&D with high quality services to support vaccine formulation, access to GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices), preclinical studies including relevant animal models, vaccine trials, compilation of regulatory dossiers and advice on production issues like upscale and quality control. Both human and veterinary vaccines, for prophylactic and therapeutic applications, should be addressed. Furthermore, work shall be carried out towards integration with the ESFRI Infrastructures EATRIS and INSTRUCT to ensure sustainability of the trans-national access services. Synergies with other relevant ESFRI Infrastructures, such as ECRIN, should be duly exploited.

Experimental facilities for animal disease and infectiology (including zoonoses). A project under this topic must provide and facilitate access to the key experimental facilities under BSL3 conditions in Europe for animal and zoonotic infectious diseases. It will also include key collections of samples necessary for research on animal and zoonotic infectious diseases. The project should aim to integrate these facilities and resources with a long term perspective. It should also develop the necessary collaborations outside Europe, towards a global sharing of available resources.

Centres for replacement, reduction and refinement (3 Rs) of non-human primate testing. This activity aims at integrating the key non-human primate centres in Europe promoting 3 Rs, i.e. replacement, reduction, and refinement. The proposal will contribute to the objective of 3Rs, reinforcing the implementation of ethical and good practices at European level, and the protection of animals used in scientific experiments, as framed by the directive 86/609/EEC, and by the Commission proposal for its revision, COM(2008)543. The proposal should also develop the necessary collaborations outside Europe.

Facilities and resources for plant phenotyping. This activity aims at providing and facilitating access to the key research infrastructures in Europe for high throughput plant phenotyping. It should aim to integrate these facilities and resources with a long term perspective, improving coordination, as regards standards, protocols, access modalities, etc. The project should also develop the necessary collaborations outside Europe, towards a coordinated development of such facilities and resources. The facilities should enable more efficient European research to be conducted in plant genetics, plant physiology and bio-ecology, under controlled conditions.

Marine biological stations. This activity aims at improving and further integrating access to a wide range of marine biology and ecology resources for research, including: marine biodiversity and associated historical time-series data; culture collections of marine biological resources; marine model organisms, including specific genetic resources; up-to-date equipment for biological research (“omics”); and rare and unique facilities for experimental biology and ecology. It should also stimulate knowledge and technology transfer to industry and to public policy-makers. Synergies with relevant ESFRI Infrastructures, in particular EMBRC, should be duly exploited.

Research Infrastructures for the control of vector-borne diseases. This activity aims at integrating specialised facilities in Europe for the study of insect-transmitted disease with the objective to validate and roll out new control measures targeting insect vectors that pose the greatest threats to human health and animal industries. These facilities, supporting research and product development, include P3 secure insectaries for research on vectors and pathogens, large scale production of mosquitoes, facilities for the testing and evaluation of insecticides, and facilities for high-throughput genetic analysis of insect vectors and pathogens. The facilities of this activity and associated networking and research activities will play a critical role in consolidating European leadership in the field of insect vector biology and disease control. Synergies with relevant ESFRI Infrastructures such as ELIXIR should be duly exploited.

Energy

Research Infrastructures for research on biomass conversion and biorefinery. This activity aims at integrating the key research infrastructures in Europe for the advanced conversion technologies of biogenic feedstock. Research Infrastructures to be integrated would be laboratory and pilot-scale installations as well as demonstration plants (facilities like furnaces, gasifiers, fermenters, biorefineries, etc.) for carrying out research in the fields of: combustion and thermal gasification of solid fuels, modelling, gas cleaning, second and third generation biofuels with emphasis on marine biomass, anaerobic digestion, biomethane production from organic waste and green biorefinery (sustainable processing of biomass into a marketable spectrum of products). The issue of the use of new feedstock is an integral part of the activity. This activity will support the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan, COM (2007)723).

Research Infrastructures for offshore renewable energy. This activity aims at integrating the key research infrastructures in Europe for research, development and testing of offshore wind and ocean energy systems including electrical sub systems and grid integration through a range of TRLs (from laboratory scale TRL 1/2 through to open ocean at TRL 6/7). Trans-national access should open existing pilot and demonstration plants as well as laboratory scale installations from wave basins to large scale open sea test sites. This activity will support the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan, COM (2007)723) including emerging concepts of multi-purpose platforms.

Environmental and Earth Sciences

Research infrastructures for terrestrial research in the Arctic. This activity should integrate, as an international network for terrestrial research and monitoring in the Arctic, key research stations and large research field sites throughout the circumpolar Arctic and adjacent northern countries, aiming at implementing capacity for research, monitoring and education. The project should include work on best practises for managing stations, and (international) logistics. The network should link with marine and atmospheric networks, aiming at close cooperation.

Research Infrastructures for earthquake hazard. This activity aims at integrating the key research infrastructures in Europe for natural and anthropogenic earthquake risk assessment and mitigation. More integrated services from seismic and engineering infrastructures would contribute to supporting the reduction of vulnerability of European citizens and constructions to earthquakes. International collaboration activities and the further integration of the research field are encouraged. Synergies with relevant ESFRI Infrastructures, in particular EPOS, should be duly exploited.

Mesocosms facilities for research on marine and freshwater ecosystems. This activity aims at integrating leading mesocosm infrastructures in Europe enabling in particular research on impact of climate change, pollution and other disturbance on ecosystems, from Mediterranean to Arctic.

Atmospheric simulation chambers. This activity should further integrate key instrumented environmental chambers and improve access to them for atmospheric research, including model development, while expanding to larger scientific communities and interdisciplinary research fields. It is expected that this community work towards close cooperation with relevant ESFRI Infrastructures. By developing their complementary nature, the different research infrastructures should answer broad scientific needs such as studies of the impact of atmospheric processes e.g. on regional photochemistry, global change, as well as cultural heritage and human health effects. Building on the former integrating initiatives, the development of a strategic integrating structure should also be considered.

Research infrastructures for forest ecosystem and resources research. This activity aims at integrating and facilitating broad access to forest research facilities and methodologies with a view to enabling, coordinating and harmonising research and monitoring including investigation of the biological effects of air pollution and mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Access should be provided to data on genetic and species diversity in forest ecosystems. Support for development of forest management approaches should be part of the project, taking into account environmental and land use changes and the bio-economy.

Sites, experimental platforms and data collections of anthropogenic impacts for ecosystem functioning and biodiversity research. This activity aims at bringing together highly instrumented experimental, analytical and modelling facilities, looking at all major European ecosystem types and all major pressures on them. It will optimise the collaborative use of these sites by a large scientific community. Efficient methods and techniques will be implemented for rapid data sharing and processing at the European level. Synergies with relevant ESFRI Infrastructures such as ANAEE should be duly exploited.

Multidisciplinary Marine Data Centres for ocean and marine data management. This activity aims at providing and facilitating access to the key data centres in Europe for in-situ and remote sensing data for marine research (including coastal research). It must present a long-term sustainable perspective on the integration of these facilities and related resources. It should enhance and innovate the services offered to an expanded multidisciplinary community and promote the adoption of the developed protocols and standards for interoperability to other key downstream initiatives in the field. Synergies with relevant ESFRI Infrastructures should be duly exploited.

Mathematics and ICT

Integrating activity for facilitating access to HPC (High Performance Computing) centers. This activity aims at furthering the services harmonisation and enhancement of national and regional High Performance Computing Centres of pan-European interest and at enlarging the European HPC user base preparing it to the use of the top end HPC resources such as PRACE (Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe). It will widen trans-national access to HPC resources across different disciplines and for a wide range of applications including advanced simulation and modelling.

Material Sciences and Analytical facilities

Research Infrastructures for advanced spectroscopy, scattering/ diffraction and imaging of materials. This activity aims at integrating the key research infrastructures in Europe to offer electronic, X-ray, optic and magnetic inspection techniques, and their combinations, for the analysis and engineering of novel materials ranging from hard to soft matter. Such infrastructures would allow the detailed understanding and optimisation of the physical, chemical and biological properties of the materials.

Synchrotron radiation sources and Free Electron Lasers. This activity should provide and facilitate access of a wide range of user communities to the key research infrastructures in Europe based on Synchrotron and Free Electron Laser light sources. It aims to further integrate these facilities and resources with a long term perspective. It should also stimulate new scientific activities taking full advantage of new experimental possibilities offered by new light sources such as the European X-Ray Laser ("XFEL").

Facilities for research on materials under extreme magnetic conditions. This activity aims at integrating key research facilities for high magnetic fields. The activity should enable a wider research community to perform experiments in physics and materials science.

Infrastructures for Neutron Scattering and Muon Spectroscopy. This activity should provide and facilitate wider access to the key research infrastructures in Europe for Neutron scattering and Muon Spectroscopy. It must present a long-term sustainable perspective on the integration of these facilities and related resources. The activity should also stimulate new scientific activities taking full advantage of new experimental possibilities offered by the future European Spallation Source ("ESS").

Physical Sciences

Research Infrastructures for advanced radio astronomy. This activity should provide and facilitate access to the key research infrastructures in Europe for advanced radio astronomy, including Very Long Baseline Interferometry. It must present a long-term sustainable perspective on the integration of these facilities and related resources. A project under this topic should also stimulate new scientific activities aimed at taking full advantage of new possibilities which will be offered by relevant initiatives on the ESFRI Roadmap.

Research Infrastructures for optical/IR astronomy. This activity should provide and facilitate access to the key research infrastructures in Europe for optical and infrared astronomy. It must present a long-term sustainable perspective on the integration of these facilities and related resources. Furthermore, it should also stimulate new scientific activities aimed at taking full advantage of new possibilities which will be offered by relevant initiatives on the ESFRI Roadmap.

Research Infrastructures for hadron physics. This activity must provide and facilitate access to key research infrastructures in Europe for studying the properties of nuclear matter at extreme conditions, turning advances in hadron physics experimentation into new applications. It must present a long-term sustainable perspective on the integration of relevant facilities and related resources. Furthermore, it should also target new users and stimulate new scientific activities aimed at taking full advantage of new possibilities which will be offered by relevant initiatives on the ESFRI Roadmap, in particular FAIR.

Particle Accelerators. A project under this topic should facilitate access to state-of-the-art facilities to develop new techniques for improving the performance of existing and future accelerators. It should include accelerators for nuclear and particle physics and accelerator-based photon sources. It must present a long-term sustainable perspective on the integration of relevant facilities and related resources. A project under this topic should complement and further new scientific activities aimed at taking full advantage of new possibilities which will be offered by relevant initiatives on the ESFRI Roadmap.

Social Sciences and Humanities

Access to European Social Science Data Archives and Official Statistics. A project under this topic should aim at a further improvement of the researcher's access to official statistics. Work should address technologies for secured trans-national access to sensitive data. Synergies with relevant ESFRI Infrastructures, in particular CESSDA, should be duly exploited.

Research infrastructures for the study of poverty, working life and living conditions. The aim of this activity is to bring together research infrastructures serving European and international research in the fields of poverty, working life, and living conditions. It will compile historical data, and provide instruments for the analysis of the effects of employers’ behaviour and the evaluation of labour market and social policies targeted to vulnerable groups as well as offer training to researchers interested in the use of these instruments.

European researchers need effective and convenient access to the best research infrastructures in order to conduct research for the advancement of knowledge and technology. The aim of this action is to bring together, integrate on European scale, and open up key national and regional research infrastructures to all European researchers, from both academia and industry, ensuring their optimal use and joint development.

  • Researchers will have wider, simplified, and more efficient access to the best research infrastructures they require to conduct their research, irrespective of location. They benefit from an increased focus on user needs.
  • Operators of related infrastructures develop synergies and complementary capabilities, leading to improved and harmonised services. There is less duplication of services, leading to an improved use of resources across Europe. Economies of scale and saving of resources are also realised due to common development and the optimisation of operations.
  • Innovation is fostered through a reinforced partnership of research organisations with industry.
  • A new generation of researchers is educated that is ready to optimally exploit all the essential tools for their research.
  • Closer interactions between larger number of researchers active in and around a number of infrastructures facilitate cross-disciplinary fertilisations and a wider sharing of information, knowledge and technologies across fields and between academia and industry.
  • For communities which have received three or more grants in the past, the sustainability of the integrated research infrastructure services they provide at European level is improved.
  • The integration of major scientific equipment or sets of instruments and of knowledge-based resources (collections, archives, structured scientific information, data infrastructures, etc.) leads to a better management of the continuous flow of data collected or produced by these facilities and resources.
  • When applicable, the integrated and harmonised access to resources at European level can facilitate the use beyond research and contribute to evidence-based policy making.
  • When applicable, the socio-economic impact of past investments in research infrastructures from the European Structural and Investment Funds is enhanced.
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