It has become increasingly obvious that concepts and strategies for research infrastructure (RI) funding should be harmonised and coordinated within the EU. ESFRI has determined requirements for European RI funding and has presented a roadmap. Growing attention is paid to life sciences that rely on RIs of a less centralised, but more networked dimension. There is a clear need for action in the interdisciplinary area between physics, chemistry, biology and medical sciences as cutting edge instrumentation becomes increasingly expensive and, yet, indispensable for world-class research. However, promotion of research policies, apart from the ESFRI projects, has been restricted so far to national efforts without managing these actions with a European view. Funding and research organisations can not afford to remain at the national stage with world-wide competition for the best scientists and the most promising projects. Frontier research is international since long and funding organisations have to follow scientists to the European level. ERA-Instruments aims at initiating coordination and a sustainable network of ministries, charities, funding agencies and research councils active in funding of life science RI. This European platform of relevant stake-holders will set up comprehensive tools for adequate treatment of instrumentation related topics enabling conclusions for research policies on both a national and European level. The ERA-NET will focus on bioanalytical instrumentation (incl. post-genomic high-throughput techniques) such as NMR, mass spectrometry, microscopy, microarray platforms etc. These mid-size equipments have become an essential and strategic strength for European countries. The ERA-NET can build on the broad experience with RI funding of its partners. Contacts to the scientists will thus remain close and continuous. Promotion of RI funding in FP-7 and support for new member states will also strengthen the position of European research.
Fields of science
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