Research infrastructures and technology infrastructures are among the key elements in the successful establishment of innovation ecosystems. Ranging from exploratory research facilities to testing, validation, and upscaling platforms, they enable technology development and innovation, providing SMEs and industry with the essential services that are needed to accelerate the entry into the market of innovative solutions supporting the twin green and digital transition and other socio-economic challenges. Research infrastructures and technology infrastructures provide important complementary activities in this respect. However, they are often developing services in isolation from each other, not fully taking into account the needs of industrial users along the entire innovation cycle.
Prior to the formulation of a specific European Research Area action[[COM(2020) 628 final,
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=COM%3A2020%3A628%3AFIN]] and the Council conclusion[[Council conclusions on the New European Research Area from 1 December 2020,
https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-13567-2020-INIT/en/pdf]] mentioning the development of a European strategy on technology infrastructures, a Commission staff working document[[SWD(2019) 158 final,
https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/documents-register/detail?ref=SWD(2019)158&lang=en]] took stock of existing, though un-coordinated, initiatives at regional, national and European level and identified key challenges that need to be addressed to create a well functioning technology infrastructures landscape.
The development of the research infrastructure landscape as well as access to research infrastructure services is significantly more advanced due to both the strategic priority setting process, through the Roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures, and the significant effort at the EU level to open up national facilities and laboratories to international users. It is important to draw relevant lessons from these processes in order to further develop and implement the governance of technology infrastructures at European level.
In this respect, activities proposed should support policy development in the following main areas:
Mapping and prioritisation
- Consolidation and integration of existing technology infrastructure mappings to increase visibility of technology infrastructures and facilitate gap analyses.
- Gap analysis and prioritisation at EU and Member States' level towards high priority areas in synergy with the common industrial technology roadmaps, industrial alliances, partnerships, and industrial ecosystems under the EU industrial strategy.
- Identification of good practices (with focus on services) to improve linkages and complementarity between research infrastructures and technology infrastructures in specific priority areas and ecosystems.
Operations and guidelines
- Preparation of pilot strategic action plans for technology infrastructures in selected priority areas, for instance linked with the green and digital transition, in partnership with relevant actors and including options for their long-term sustainability, taking into account private and public investments and networking with relevant pan-European research infrastructures.
- Development of an investment agenda for technology infrastructures taking into account private and public investments, as well as investments in relevant research infrastructures.
- Development of guidelines and recommendations to help networks of technology infrastructures connecting with other existing research infrastructures and technology infrastructures to facilitate access and to integrate services for specific technology areas or industrial ecosystems.
- Identification of best practices of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures, in order to further develop and implement the governance of technology infrastructures at European level, adapted to their specificities (i.e. ecosystem and value chain approach, different stakeholders involved including industry, SMEs and research performing organisations).
- Networking of relevant actors and infrastructures including for the identified priority areas.
- Analysis of how technology infrastructures and research infrastructures could be better integrated in relevant existing frameworks and instruments, such as industrial technology roadmaps, Partnerships, Industrial Alliances, or IPCEIs.
Outreach and communication
- Identification and liaising with relevant stakeholders related to research infrastructures and technology infrastructures in general, as well as to specific priority areas, and collecting stakeholder input through targeted surveys and workshops.
- Development and execution of communication and outreach activities, including organisation of workshops and outreach events.