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Preparatory phase of new ESFRI research infrastructure projects

This topic supports the preparatory phase of new ESFRI research infrastructure projects identified in the 2021 update of the ESFRI Roadmap. These ESFRI projects have been selected for the excellence of their scientific case and for their strategic importance for the European Research Area and the structuring of the European research infrastructure ecosystem.

Proposal consortia should involve all the stakeholders necessary to move the project forward, to take the decisions, and to make financial commitments, before construction can start (including, but not limited to, national/regional ministries/governments, research councils or funding agencies from the countries that have already declared their commitment in the application to ESFRI). Operators of research facilities, research centres, universities, and industry may also be involved whenever appropriate.

Proposals for research infrastructure preparatory phases will tackle all key questions concerning legal, financial and technical issues leading to the establishment of a new research infrastructure and ensuring commitment of Member States/Associated Countries to their long-term operation and use in all fields of science.

In this respect, proposals should address all following aspects:

  • the development of legal and financial frameworks/plans relating to the setting-up, construction and/or integration of national resources, operation and decommissioning of the research infrastructure as well as its Governance structure; the complementarities between national and EU instruments (such as the European Structural and Investment Funds or the European Investment Bank) and/or innovative financing solutions (e.g.: pre-commercial procurement; public-private partnerships);
  • the preparation of legal and financial agreements, including site, governance, internal rules, financing of the new research infrastructures. These are deliverables that should be finalised before the end of the project (e.g.: through a Memorandum of Understanding; a 'signature-ready' document for the setting-up and the actual implementation of the research infrastructure);
  • the establishment of plans for logistics and human resources management, in relation to the construction/integration and future operation, including RI service provision as well as for an efficient data curation and preservation and for the provision of access to data collected or produced by the future infrastructure, in line with the FAIR principles;
  • the technical challenges concerning the joint development, transfer of knowledge and implementation of key RI technologies and the completion of the final technical design of the infrastructure;
  • the development of plans for the provision of RI services to identified scientific user communities;
  • the relevance of the RI for science and society, including its socio-economic impacts at local/regional level and links with the smart specialisation strategies at regional level.

Environmental (including climate-related) impacts as well as the optimisation of resource and energy use should be integrated in the Preparatory phase of new research infrastructures.

Proposals should explain any synergies and complementarities with previous or current EU grants.