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Research Infrastructures: Foresight and Impact

Periodic Report Summary - RIFI (Research infrastructures: Foresight and impact)

RIFI (Research infrastructures: Foresight and impact) is a FP7 project, Coordination and Support Action, Support Action, that runs for two years starting in March 2009. The project aims to develop an integrated framework for the identification of RI investment opportunities and methods for S-E impact assessment of new and existing RI.

More specifically three distinct objectives will be pursued that contribute to this goal:
1. Developing RIAM (Research infrastructure impact assessment methodology and measurement criteria) for the S-E impact assessment of new and existing RI;
2. Testing and improving this methodology;
3. Elaborating a foresight framework for the identification of RI investment opportunities.

The expected final result of this project will consist of a methodology for the evaluation of the socioeconomic impact of investments in RI, whether this be for newly built ones or already existing RI that shall be upgraded or need other types of major investment.

During the initial period of the project, the partners conducted a first review of the relevant scientific and grey literature focusing on different aspects of the methodology. This task consists of:
1. review of the literature on environmental impacts,
2. analysis focused on the economic and scientific impacts of RI, the framework conditions for their creation, and suitable methods to evaluate such impacts, and
3. review on suitable foresight techniques in order to assess societal reactions to RI projects in advance, develop remedial strategies, and provide information about possible societal developments as a consequence of an RI project.
As a result, the final report of the literature review has been finalised and reported in D.1.1 (Research study of the existing methodologies for evaluating S-E impact in the field of RI).

The second was dedicated to the development of a draft version of the methodology which could then be tested through the case studies. As a result, a first version of the draft RIAM has been delivered to the partners undertaking the case studies as planned (D1.2 - Methodology for RI impact assessment). This deliverable provides a detailed description of the structure and contents of the draft RIAM, instructions for its application, as well as a short tutorial for the use of the network and I/O analysis tools. This version of RIAM does not contain yet the foresight techniques that could be used to assess societal reactions and long-term societal and environmental impacts.

Using the first version of RIAM (D1.2) WP2 Case Studies shall conduct seven case studies on particular research infrastructures and at the same time support the development of RIAM by integrating appropriate foresight methods and providing the necessary feedback from practical application. As a result, in the first reporting period WP2 was focused on:
i. delivering and validating the list of selected pilot RI,
ii. establishing contact with the organisations managing the RI,
iii. starting the work on the case studies as soon as RIAM was delivered by WP1.

A list of seven RI for testing RIAM was identified:
i. two pan-European infrastructures: ELI (Extreme light infrastructure) and EURO-ARGO,
ii. the international facility Free Electron Laser FERMI@Elettra, and
iii. four national RI in Romania and Bulgaria.

The main objectives of the WP3 (Foresight) are as follows:
i. complementing the RIAM methodology by integrating foresight elements
ii. elaborating on the role of foresight for identifying regional/national RI investment opportunities.
Over the reporting period the main efforts were concentrated on enriching the RIAM methodology with foresight elements and for introducing the foresight concept and approach to the partners in charge of the case studies.

Besides promotion materials, seminars, a final conference and newsletters, one of the main dissemination channels used in this project is the website, http://rifi.gateway.bg.