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First high-level group meeting on research infrastructures held in Bulgaria

Central Eastern European countries High-level Consultative group gathered in Sofia to define future steps and Action plan to be adopted during the Research Infrastructures conference on 6 and 7 of March in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

On 18th of January 2008 in Sofia, Bulgaria has been held the First meeting of the High-level consultative group on regional research infrastructures issues appointed from the Ministers in the Central-Eastern European countries. The consultative group pointed out the need of coherent measures towards developing and supporting the establishment of research infrastructure is those countries as a key instrument for fostering innovations, economic growth and human capital. The Central-European Region has been definitely recognised as an important pôle for integration of new members and increasing brain circulation. The countries from Central Eastern Europe have strong cultural base and science tradition but the representatives pointed out that still “Region” is a “variable geometry” concept and have to be taken into account from the politicians, research and all other stakeholders involved in the process. Prof.Carlo Rizzuto, ESFRI Chairman from March 2008, pointed out the need of understanding the regional dimension of research infrastructures in the context of the New Pan-European Research Infrastructures Roadmap as a predominant factor for overcoming the gaps in development of European regions especially those in the new member-states and establishing new partnerships leading to increase in the research excellence and knowledge. As a host country of the high-level group on regional research infrastructures issues Bulgaria took the initiative to propose the launching of an Action plan which will identify the gaps in regional research capacity and will propose possible ways for combining funding instruments for supporting RIs. The Plan propose set of measures to overcome the lack of national visions towards common approach of upgrading and renovating the existing RIs base and missing of coordinated approach towards research infrastructures on the basis of regional characteristics. The members of the group from Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia agreed upon the instant need of developing more coherent R&D policy through this Action plan towards modernization of RI’s and defining regional RI’s with common interest of the countries.