Skip to main content

Programme Category


Article available in the following languages:


Research infrastructure services advancing frontier knowledge: co-fund pilots with pan-European RIs and/or national RIs


This topic aims at piloting the co-funding, with Member States and Associated Countries, of programmes of access to research infrastructures at EU level. The programme should provide trans-national access (on-site or remote) and/or virtual access to services offered by a set of similar or complementary advanced national or pan-European research infrastructures, to enable curiosity-driven interdisciplinary research. Proposals can address all scientific domains.

Proposals should explain how the EU funding in support of the common access programme will be complemented by other national or international funding sources providing the remaining co-funding rate, and pool the necessary financial resources to implement joint calls for the provision of access to research infrastructures.

The access programme to research infrastructures may be implemented either directly by the consortium, with the provision of trans-national and virtual access by beneficiaries, third parties or external providers of purchased services, or, alternatively, through the mechanism of financial support to third parties. Proposals should clearly specify which of the two options (direct implementation or through financial support to third parties) they will use to implement the co-fund action. In both cases national or international access programme managers, including the legal entities of distributed European RI, are expected to be core partners in the consortia.

In the case of financial support to third parties, the applicants to the open calls, launched under the action to provide financial support to third parties, should be the users together with the research infrastructures they need, including nodes of distributed ESFRI or ERIC infrastructures. The financial support should cover the costs incurred by the infrastructures/nodes to provide access (actual costs, calculated on the basis of unit costs, or a combination of the previous two), as well as the travel and subsistence of users if visits are needed to use the infrastructures, plus any specific work from RI staff and users necessary to customise the RI services. Research infrastructures which are beneficiaries/affiliated entities of the consortia awarded may exceptionally also be recipients of financial support to third parties. Proposals must explain how they will ensure that such beneficiaries/affiliated entities are not involved in the selection procedure of the calls, in order to avoid conflicts of interest and maintain confidentiality.

Access also includes ad hoc users’ training and scientific and technical support for preparing and running the user projects. Training courses for using the infrastructures may also be supported. Training courses and ad hoc users’ training will prepare the new generations of researchers to properly exploit leading-edge RIs, and should provide them with appropriate skills for data stewardship.

Activities to facilitate and integrate the access procedures, to further develop the remote or virtual provision of services and to improve, customise and harmonise the services the infrastructures may also be supported.

While the main goal of this topic is access provision to existing services, limited development of new services, relevant to the specific scientific challenges, can also be supported, including joint/cross-RI services, provided that the resulting services are opened and offered already under the actions (short term R&D) and that the long term sustainability of such services is ensured by the involved RIs. The long term R&D for new instrumentation, tools, methods and advanced digital solutions will continue to be supported under destination INFRATECH.

Proposals should adhere to the guidelines and principles of the European Charter for Access to Research Infrastructures[[]].

Data management (and related ethics issues), interoperability, as well as the connection of digital services (e.g. data services) to the European Open Science Cloud, should be addressed where relevant.

Proposals should duly take into account major European or international initiatives relevant in the domain. Whenever appropriate, they should foster the use and deployment of (open) global standards.

Proposals should make available to researchers a wide and rich portfolio of research infrastructure services, including data services, which are relevant for frontier research in the chosen scientific area. To this extent, they should involve the necessary interdisciplinary set of research infrastructures of European interest[[ A research infrastructure is of European interest when is able to attract users from EU or associated countries other than the country where the infrastructure is located. This includes ESFRI and ERIC infrastructures.]] that provide such services. The relevance of the service portfolio will be taken into account in the Excellence score.

Access could also be open, under certain conditions, to third countries’ researchers to work on global scientific challenges. Research infrastructures from third countries[[ See the Eligibility conditions for this topic.]] may be involved when appropriate, in particular when they offer complementary or more advanced services than those available in Europe.

Proposals should include an outreach and engagement plan to actively advertise their services to the research communities in the chosen area.

Proposals are expected to exploit synergies and to ensure complementarity and coherence with other EU grants supporting access provision.

Proposals should include the list of services/installations[[ “Installation” means a part or a service of a research infrastructure that can be used independently from the rest. A research infrastructure consists of one or more installations.]] made available by the action for trans-national or virtual access and the amounts of units of access made available for users. Further conditions and requirements relating to access provisions that applicants should fulfil when drafting a proposal are given in the “Specific features for Research Infrastructures” section of this work programme part. Compliance with these provisions will be taken into account during evaluation. In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.