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International cooperation for research infrastructures


Specific challenge: Following the recent communication of the Commission on International Cooperation in Research and Innovation[1], the research infrastructures activity will focus on a number of key third countries seen as strategic for the development, exploitation and management of world-class research infrastructures. The G8+O5 countries plus Australia, singularly or in their entirety, for the purposes of the Group of Senior Officials (GSO) on Global Research Infrastructures, are also included, without excluding the possibility of cooperation with other interested third countries or regional bodies.

Scope: In this context, the research infrastructure action will focus its activities on international cooperation in three different but complementary ways, as required: bilaterally with a single third country at policy level; multi-laterally with different third countries, targeting specific research and innovation aspects of research infrastructures of common interest in one area of science and technology; multi-laterally with different third countries if a specific effort is required in the context of a specific world class research infrastructure. Support to activities decided in the context of the Group of Senior officials on Global Research Infrastructures may fall in the latter two categories.

Proposals will address one of the following areas:

         Facilitate the development of global research infrastructures and the cooperation of European Research Infrastructures with their non-European counterparts, ensuring their global interoperability and reach, and to pursue international agreements on the reciprocal use, openness or co-financing of infrastructures, on the basis of the recommendations of the Group of Senior Officials on Global Research Infrastructures;

         Support bilateral cooperation on research infrastructures with Africa. The proposal will build on the past experience and achievements gained in the Seventh Framework Programme project PAERIP (Promoting African – European Research Infrastructure Partnerships).

         Support bilateral cooperation on research infrastructures with Russia. The proposal will in particular help develop cooperation between European research infrastructures and the Russian Megascience facilities[2], including the underpinning e-infrastructure.

         Support multi-lateral cooperation with European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) countries and Western Balkan Countries. The proposal will aim at developing regional roadmaps of research infrastructures jointly with stakeholders and policymakers and help them develop closer cooperation with research infrastructures of pan-European interest through training, data management and trans-national access.

         Support multi-lateral cooperation on research infrastructures in one or several of the following areas: Arctic research, marine science, biodiversity, food research and medicine. Particular emphasis will be made on cooperation with USA, Canada (including for implementing the Transatlantic Research Alliance, launched by the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation) and Russia, without excluding other relevant countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

The proposals supporting bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation with research infrastructures in third countries should in particular:

         Identify and promote opportunities (access and data sharing) available to European scientists in these research infrastructures;

         Help developing better coordination and cooperation of European research infrastructures with their non-European counterparts; ensuring their global interoperability and reach, and to pursue international agreements on the reciprocal use, openness or co-financing of infrastructures;

Exchange good practices between user communities and managers of research infrastructures as regard for instance benchmarking performance of technology platforms, harmonisation of tests, standards, reference materials, interoperability and data handling.

Expected impact:

This activity will help to:

         Develop cooperation with key international partners for research infrastructures;

         Contribute to the development of a competitive high performance ERA in the global research environment;

         Reinforce partnership between the Commission, the Member States and relevant stakeholders in this field;

         Enhance the role of the Union in international organisations and multilateral fora;

         Support progress towards the development of global research infrastructures;

         Contribute to address societal challenges with a global dimension such as climate change;

         Contribute to capacity building and research infrastructures human capital development in targeted/relevant regions.


Type of action: Coordination and support actions

[1] EC communication on 'Enhancing and focusing EU international cooperation in research and innovation: a strategic approach' (COM(2012) 497).

[2] The following 6 projects have been selected by the Russian authorities as Megascience projects: Fourth Generation Special-purpose Synchrotron Radiation Source (SSRS-4 project); International project “IGNITOR”; Exawatt Center for Extreme Light Studies (XCELS project); Nuclotron-based Ion Collider Facility (NICA project);  Super C-τ Factory; The Scientific and Research Reactor Complex PIK