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International Conference on Research Infrastructures 2014

Final Report Summary - ICRI2014 (International Conference on Research Infrastructures 2014)

Executive Summary:
Following the series of the European Conferences on Research Infrastructures (ECRI) from years 2000-2012 under the corresponding rotating presidency of the European Union and the International Conference on Research Infrastructures during the Danish Presidency of the European Union in 2012 (ICRI 2012), the Greek Presidency of the Union in cooperation with the European Commission DG RTD and DG CONNECT organised the International Conference on Research infrastructures in 2014 (ICRI 2014). The conference took place 2-4 April 2014 in Athens, Greece and approximately 763 participants attended it, representing over 60 countries, organisations, institutions and Research Infrastructures from all over the world. The majority of the attendees (79%) came from countries of the European Union, while 66% were men. The program featured 105 distinguished speakers from 32 countries. Approximately 28% were female while 32% of the speakers represented countries outside of European Union. The distribution of participants among the parallel sessions was ~45% e-Infrastructure, ~25% Environment, ~15% for Cultural Heritage and ~15% Food Security. ICRI 2014 featured a vibrant exhibition area that hosted 26 booths and 36 Research Infrastructures, allowing the delegates to share experiences and network. An innovative “Research & Art” exhibition was also organised, highlighting the connection between Research and Art and vice versa.
For the evaluation of the conference, the organisers used a survey (both on-line and printed) and gathered 81 responses (~11% return rate), which constitutes a sufficient sample. All respondents besides two (i.e. ~96%) found the conference organisation overall excellent (60%) or very good (36%). All individual responses on venue, facilities, material, registration, meals, events, and the exhibition averaged 85% for excellent or good with minimum numbers being at 79%. Re. the programme, 83% found it excellent or good, while the duration of the event and the program conclusions were again around 85% excellent or good. The quality of presentations and level of interactivity was lower, at around 70%.
The ICRI 2014 website had 9.213 unique visitors (users that have had at least one session within the time period March 1 - May 25). Total number of page views for the aforementioned period was 53.514 including repeated views of a single page. Print media, radio and television broadcasts, and online media coverage played a key role in extending the reach of ICRI 2014. The conference was attended by 28 registered journalists who covered the event. The majority of the journalists came from the host country and representatives from all major Greek media were in attendance. It is worth noting that the media references metric was successfully achieved reaching the double (40 references) of the target value (20 references).
Re. the program, the conference took forward the recommendations of ICRI2012 and the 3rd EU-Australia Research Infrastructure workshop and key outcomes were:
• There is consensus on the need to encourage global cooperation in research infrastructures;
• Goals for establishing global RIs need to be agreed up front (possibly via an international roadmap) and an efficient international, transparent decision-making process needs to be established, along with suitable legal framework for them;
• Technology reconciliation has become a vital element in the strategy of RIs and boosting innovation partnerships between RIs and industry will benefit society at large.
• ICRI can act as the main international forum for global RIs, where funding organisations discuss possibilities for sustainable funding schemes for international Research Infrastructures
In summary, it can be argued that the conference achieved all its goals and the majority of the evaluation indicators, besides female participants and speakers. A policy implication suggests that special attention must be given to increase the proportion of female invitations to the conference.
Project Context and Objectives:
ICRI is an International Conference on Research Infrastructures that has been organised up to now by the country holding the rotating presidency of the European Union in collaboration with European Commission (Directorates-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) and Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology (DG CNECT)).
Following the series of the European Conferences on Research Infrastructures (ECRI) 2000-2010 under the corresponding rotating presidency of the European Union and the International Conference on Research Infrastructures during the Danish Presidency of the European Union in 2012 (ICRI 2012), the Greek Presidency of the Union in cooperation with the European Commission will organise the next major International Conference on Research Infrastructures in 2014 (ICRI 2014).
ICRI is a conference on Research Infrastructures; the latter play an increasingly important role in the advancement of knowledge and technology. They are a key instrument in bringing together a wide diversity of stakeholders to look for solutions to many of the challenges society is facing today. RIs offer unique research services to users from different countries, attract young people to science, and help to shape scientific communities.
Research Infrastructures span several thematic areas such as Physical Sciences and Engineering (telescopes, accelerators, lasers), Bio-Medical Sciences (infrastructures for molecular biology, microbes, bio-databases), Energy (green energy reactors and special lasers), Environmental Sciences (aircrafts and other infrastructures for monitoring the atmosphere, the poles, the seabed, and the biodiversity), Social Sciences and Humanities (databases and services for linguistics, arts, social sciences and humanities). In addition, they involve e-Infrastructures that traverse and support all the RI thematic areas including advanced and high-speed networks, computational infrastructures for simulation and analysis of complex problems and data infrastructures for storage, preservation and servicing datasets and publications.
The Research and Innovation Center in Information Communication & Knowledge Technologies ATHENA (ATHENA RC), under the auspices of Greek General Secretariat of Research and Technology, has undertaken the responsibility to organise and run ICRI 2014.
The main objective of the conference is to facilitate strategic international cooperation between European Research Infrastructures and their International counterparts, thus promoting global governance schemas for interoperable and sustainable research infrastructures at a global scale;
In detail the key objectives and tasks of the conference can be summarised as follows:
Conference Objective 1 - To highlight the essential role of global research infrastructures in addressing grand challenges at all scales: national, regional, European and global scale.
Conference Objective 2 - To reflect on needs, development and operation of global research infrastructures at national, regional, European and international level.
Conference Objective 3 - To present the main characteristics of global research infrastructures and identify the challenges and drivers for collaboration at international level.

The outcome of the conference will be a set of key recommendations, possibly in a form of a declaration, addressing the above conference objectives, namely how global research infrastructures can facilitate the European Research and Innovation Area in the future and in particular supporting Horizon 2020 for European Competitiveness, Excellence and Growth. The successful fulfilment of the objectives will be assessed first by the individual participants’ evaluations and then by the proposed project metrics.
In order to support the above conference objectives, the project has to efficiently organise and run successfully the ICRI 2014 event. The project objectives are thus:
Project Objective 1 - To successfully fulfil and achieve the conference objectives, mainly in terms of the project programme, attendance and appropriate ambiance.
Project Objective 2 - To efficiently manage and organise the conference event.
Project Objective 3 - To disseminate the event and its results to the wider international RI community, mainly through pre- and post-conference dissemination actions (such as video links engaging with Research Infrastructure / Science Communities, web presence, press releases, social media, press conference and event declaration).
Project Objective 4 - To evaluate the event overall and its results, mainly through a feedback survey form that will be sent to the conference attendees and through key performance indicators.
Project Results:
ICRI has become the key international event where stakeholders meet, discuss and address global issues related to Research Infrastructures (RIs). RIs play an increasingly important role in the advancement of knowledge and technology. They bring together a wide diversity of stakeholders to look for solutions to many of society’s challenges; they offer unique research services to users from different countries; attract young people to science; and help shape scientific communities. The attraction of a global research infrastructure relies on its capacity to address the research needs of world-wide scientific communities by combining the best available knowledge, human capital and resources in one specific scientific area.
Co-organised by the European Commission and the Greek Presidency of the Council of the EU, ICRI2014 promoted governance schemas for interoperable and sustainable research infrastructures at a global scale, as well as facilitating strategic international cooperation between European Research Infrastructures and their International counterparts.
The conference took forward the recommendations of ICRI2012 and the 3rd EU-Australia Research Infrastructure workshop. It focussed on:
• the essential role of global research infrastructures in addressing grand challenges at all scales: national, regional, European and global;
• the needs, development and operation of global research infrastructures at national, regional, European and international level;
• the main characteristics of global research infrastructures and identifying the challenges and drivers for collaboration at international level.
Research Infrastructures span all thematic areas and involve e-Infrastructures that traverse and support all the RI thematic areas.

The conference was opened by Christos Vasilakos, General Secretary for Research and Technology, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner, Research and Innovation and Stefania Giannini, Italian Minister of Education, Universities and Research.
Octavi Quintana-Trias, Principal Adviser Research and Innovation, European Commission set the scene with Hans Müller Pedersen, Director, Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation who handed-over from the first ICRI conference which took place in Denmark in 2012. Ditta Zizi, from the Australian Department of Education, highlighted the Australian experience of developing the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure and the importance of acting at national and international scales to deliver RI relevant to research challenges.
Henry Markram, Coordinator of the Human Brain Project, concluded with an inspirational presentation highlighting how the integration of data from multiple sources can lead to new insights into a complex system such as the brain.

Research Infrastructures for Global Challenges
Research Infrastructures span all thematic areas. The complexity, the high development, construction and operation costs of facilities, or simply the global nature of the scientific challenge they address, can make it impossible for one country or region alone to build and operate them. Then it becomes crucial to make concerted efforts at an international level to realise Global Research Infrastructures.
ICRI2014 continued to assess the developments carried out within the Framework for Global Research Infrastructures endorsed by the Science and Technology Ministers of the G8 Countries in 2013.
Key issues:
• Addressing global challenges needs truly global RIs as many data and competencies come from outside developed areas.
• Addressing these challenges requires open access to data, but not just open access: intelligent open access, data need to be accessible, intelligible, assessable, and revisable.
• Inclusiveness means bringing all the stakeholders to the table (including from less favoured areas) and developing the capacity to exchange data from and with all areas. There is a need for data network development and trainings, and free circulation of staff.
• Open access to data also means addressing issues related to cyber-security, privacy, and to commercial interests.

Governance of Research Infrastructures
Research Infrastructures provide a vehicle for regional and global integration and have a tangible impact on society. Realising the increased potential of global infrastructures to address global challenges through collective efforts and pooling of resources and capacities, the Group of Senior Officials (GSO) was established by the G8+5 ministers in 2008. A commonly agreed “Framework for a coherent and coordinated world-wide development and operation of global research infrastructures” was developed to assist in global cooperation.
Key issues:
• Using the Group of Senior Officials network of policy-makers as the gateway to political buy-in for development and operation of existing and future global RIs;
• Encouraging countries to adopt the Group of Senior Officials framework for coherent and coordinated world-wide development and operation of existing and future global research infrastructures;
• Using the Group of Senior Officials Forum as a platform for open exchange of information on information on major research infrastructure projects of mutual interest to countries.
• Including conflict handling and resolution processes from the very beginning of a research facility into its governance.

Environment, with focus on Marine Research Infrastructures
The special character of the infrastructures needed for marine research means significant investments are needed. To maximise the impact of these investments, international collaboration is essential to ensure pooling and to avoid unnecessary duplication of (scarce) resources. To enhance this collaboration there is a need to identify barriers to investments for new research infrastructures at an international level. Additionally, ways of exploiting international cooperation to make better use of existing research infrastructures should be further explored. The nature of access leads to specific issues at international level that need addressing.
RI’s for marine research in the Arctic face specific challenges. Due to operational costs, logistical complexity and the remoteness of Arctic locations, science planning at the international level can be challenging. Arctic marine research facilities are often highly specialised involving large investment costs. These need very careful planning and in many cases could benefit from international cooperation.
Key issues for further consideration:
• A consensus is needed on the long-term strategic vision for Marine Research Infrastructures and a Framework for Ocean Observing. This should take advantage of new and emerging needs and technologies where appropriate.
• Existing successful RIs should be built on wherever possible; new RIs needed to address emerging scientific and societal challenges should be developed.
• Develop models and policy for cost sharing and partnership. The US, Canada and the EU provide a model for joining forces, exchanging best practice, discussing future research priorities and aligning funding streams through the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance.
• The Arctic has its own set of challenges which can only be overcome through global cooperation. No one country is able to support the infrastructures need to comprehend the Arctic.
• Facilitate better linkages between marine, terrestrial and atmospheric domains (not only in the Arctic), through multidisciplinary research collaboration at all scales, local to global.

Palaeoanthropology & Cultural Heritage
A truly global perspective on cultural heritage needs to be developed by analysing the requirements and challenges in terms of facilities dedicated to palaeoanthropology. The study of Man poses unique challenges that can be addressed only by using the most modern analytical techniques in different fields of science and technology, and by teaming up with different areas such as botany, geology, imaging (CT and magnetic resonance for non-intrusive non-sacrilegious studies, facial reconstruction techniques), health (forensic medicine, ancient disease strains and mutations to modern times), biotechnology (DNA extraction in extreme samples), etc., each bringing their unique competences to the field.
Key issues for further consideration:
• Develop a road map with a work programme that identifies scientific, technological and collaborative opportunities and tackles current social, scientific, technological and political barriers, while building upon experiences in this and other scientific disciplines where collaborations have been successfully set up. Data management, sharing and access issues should also be addressed.
• A global collaborative approach is necessary while distinguishing local needs and taking into account the location of principal archaeological sites in less developed regions like in Africa and South Asia.
• A multidisciplinary approach of heterogeneous technologies and artefacts is, but should be even more, driving the development of new instrumentation and methodologies, and serving the common goal of global progress in palaeoanthropology.

Food Security
This session looked at a series of questions about the challenges in terms of globally increasing food production and food security, about what emerging and developing nations can offer and what do they need in terms of international cooperation in research and infrastructures for research and finally about what tools are useful and how are partnerships developed (e.g. scientific exchanges, access to infrastructures and knowledge, new technology and virtual networks).

Key issues for further consideration:
• Research infrastructure for food security needs to be a long-term investment of multiple partners with a strong political will and capacity to influence public policies.
• Global cooperation in research is needed connecting local to regional to global; coordinated efforts for distributed knowledge production; fund international networks and money that bring these infrastructures together around a research question.
• Food security should not be viewed only as increasing production, but also its nutritional quality and sustainability
• A systems approach is needed to bring a trans-disciplinary and co-design and co-production approach including supporting in farming and large research trials.
• New models are needed to address climate change and uncertainty, e.g. research infrastructures should support modeling.
• More research on semantic tools and how to improve IT infrastructure is needed to handle big data.


e-Infrastructures
e-Infrastructures can be considered successful when their operation, after the initial development period, is supported by established income streams that create confidence in the operator's ability to deliver services in the future. In order to ensure both long-term sustainability and the continuous development needed for e-infrastructures (as for all infrastructures), two intertwined issues have to be addressed: business models and long-term funding at national or supra-national level.
The expansion of e-Science demands the development of new professions and skills such as e-Infrastructure operators, research technologists, data scientists and data librarians. Professional recognition of these communities and the development of appropriate curricula and training are crucial to ensure effective delivery of services to research staff and students. Moreover, there is a strong need for developing computational skills in many communities engaged in research and innovation.
Key issues for further consideration:
• A long term but flexible strategy and investment is needed
• Enable movement of data and people in order to address issues of skills shortage, career progression, incentives and rewards and inclusivity across gender, age and borders
• Engage the digital generation from primary school onwards
• Focus on data, software, tools, content skills
• Technology scales easier than people
• Move from principle to practice

Innovation potential of Research Infrastructures
Research Infrastructures should always be able to highlight their innovation potential and actively participate in the innovation process in order to demonstrate their wider impact beyond the scientific community.
Interactions with industry (including SMEs) in the construction and usage of research infrastructures lead to enhanced competitiveness of the involved actors and of the region hosting the research facility.
Key issues for further consideration:
• Dedicated mechanisms are required to ensure the process from research to market, such as public private partnerships, and a clear strategy with objectives required to ensure the possibility for innovation.
• Providing unique facilities can be one of the most important roles for all infrastructures supporting industry and innovation, as well as addressing societal challenges.
• It is critical to build in ideas and processes to ensure industry engagement from the outset, and to embed innovation in the organisation of the research infrastructure/facility.
• Technology Readiness Levels provide a useful framework for considering the nature of research being conducted using RIs and the progress of that research and development towards a commercial market.


Big Data Management
'Big Data' refers to massive and ever growing amounts of data that require high computing power to be processed and new solutions for data storage and management. It is one of the big cross-cutting challenges in research. Clear guidelines and policies for the global scientific community and infrastructure operations need to be developed.
Key issues for further consideration:
• Big Data must be valuable as well as manageable, connected, findable, used/reused.
• Sustainability of the entity that keeps data is important and comes with costs: services, long-term preservation, curation, access control, data services stewardship, etc.
• What do we do about privacy of data in an infrastructure environment? (User-generated data, neither produced nor held by researchers – held by companies)
• A better understanding is needed of different types of relationships between data and infrastructure: big data as the infrastructure, infrastructure for big data, management of infrastructure, big data value chain.
• International cooperation must be developed; sharing of data is a political issue.
• The Research Data Alliance is a recognized institution, which should look into these issues. We encourage the Research Data Alliance to look into big data analytics and how to bring different communities together.
• Great importance of efforts at all levels of e-Infrastructures: research and education networking - GEANT, Research Data Alliance, High-Performance Computing, etc.


The Way Forward
Research Infrastructures have become an essential component in modern science as they provide the most powerful tools needed to explore the frontiers of knowledge and allow increasingly complex issues to be addressed with ever more powerful instruments in all scientific disciplines.
The extension of the needs and use of research infrastructures raises a number of major challenges:

• How to fund and maintain increasingly costly infrastructures?
• How to manage infrastructures that are more and more distributed over different sites and countries?
• How to develop access policies which take into account the rights of the funders and the interests of the whole scientific community?
• How to manage the enormous amount of data produced by research infrastructures to make them both accessible while maintaining some ethical, proprietary or privacy standards?
• Looking ahead and examining the policies and mechanisms which could help address emerging challenges related to research infrastructures:
• What will be the actual needs of the scientific community?
• What could future research infrastructures look like?
Key issues for further consideration:
• There is consensus on the need to encourage global cooperation in research infrastructures. Research Infrastructures linking up, cooperating around the globe and bringing scientists together are best positioned to tackle global challenges. Various coordination initiatives are in place including Group of Senior Officials at global level and ESFRI at European level. The support to the Group of Senior Officials and its work should continue and the Framework for Global Research Infrastructures should be endorsed by all interested countries.
• Goals for establishing Global Research Infrastructures need to be agreed up front (an international roadmap?) and an efficient process established. Experience shows it is hard to go from ‘talking’ to ‘doing’. However, each nation needs to maintain the capability to make its own decisions and efficient mechanisms for conflict resolution and a structure favourable for their resolution are essential.
• The development of an international, transparent decision-making process for international Research Infrastructures, and developing a suitable legal framework for them, should be taken forward.
• Technology reconciliation – arising out of science and society's ability to adapt technology – has become a vital element in the strategy of Research Infrastructures. Boosting innovation partnerships between Research Infrastructures and industry will benefit society at large.
• ICRI is the international forum for global Research Infrastructures. It could consolidate as the event where funding organisations discuss possibilities for sustainable funding schemes for international Research Infrastructures.

ICRI 2014 Exhibition
ICRI2014 featured a vibrant Exhibition Area which allowed the conference delegates to share and network. It hosted 26 booths where Research Infrastructures, Organisations, Initiatives and other major international stakeholders presented their achievements.
Very technically advanced exhibitors were showcasing their efforts (follow the link below to see them). For instance, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) offered a unique opportunity to connect with the teams working on the SKA prototype telescopes at the SKA sites in Western Australia and South Africa via a live video link, to allow delegates to see and learn about the progress on the sites first-hand.
http://www.icri2014.eu/research-infrastructures-exhibition

Research & Art
The "Research and Art" competition and exhibition was initiated by the "Athena" Research and Innovation Centre.
Out of over 400 artistic submissions 53 were selected by a committee (17 photographs, 31 paintings / works on paper and 5 video art works) to be exhibited during ICRI 2014. Konstantinos Papamichalopoulos received the prize for his work entitled “Self-portrait as the Jap, 2013”. A further nine works were awarded a distinction by the committee.
Follow the link below to see all the works:
http://www.icri2014.eu/research-art-competition-and-exhibition

ICRI 2014 as a meeting point
Thanks to the excellent venue of the conference, there was plenty of room for meetings outside the conference, both individual as well as larger groups, European new consortia forming, international networking and collaborations initiated.
Many of the participants expressed their satisfaction with the ICRI2014, not just for the well-prepared and engaging sessions, but also as a very important opportunity to form new links with colleagues from around the globe.

Highlights from ICRI 2014
• ICRI is the international forum for stakeholders for global Research Infrastructures and could become the event where funding organisations discuss possibilities for sustainable funding schemes for international Research Infrastructures. This is particularly important for International Distributed Research Infrastructures, which are becoming essential for excellence research in many scientific disciplines.
• Research Infrastructures play an increasingly important role in the advancement of knowledge and technology. They are a key instrument in bringing together a wide diversity of stakeholders to look for solutions to many of the problems society is facing today.
• Strong investment in research and innovation is needed to address pressing societal challenges such as climate change and food security or the move towards a resource efficient society. Research Infrastructures play a vital role in addressing these challenges. However, it is essential to optimise the use of resources for increasingly expensive facilities, to overcome the fragmented infrastructure spending at all scales: national, regional, continental, and global, and to join forces to address these challenges.
• Science is increasingly data driven, from model-based to data-based. Scientific data have a value not only for science but for business. Exploitation of scientific data and creation of data value chains should be in our radar as our economy becomes digital. Open science and data driven science and economy are linked. The Research Data Alliance initiative demonstrates this eloquently through the five principles for data (discoverable, accessible, understandable, manageable and people including skills and culture) to create data value chains.
• There is consensus on the need to encourage global cooperation in research infrastructures. Research Infrastructures linking-up, cooperating around the globe, and bringing scientists together are best positioned to tackle global challenges. Various coordination initiatives are in place including Group of Senior Officials at global level and ESFRI at European level. The support to the Group of Senior Officials and their work should continue. The Framework for Global Research Infrastructures should be endorsed by all interested countries.
• The innovation potential of Research Infrastructures needs to be developed further by providing support to partnerships with industry to supply high tech components, to stimulate the use of Research Infrastructures, and to encourage the integration of Research Infrastructures into local, regional and global innovation ecosystems.

Facts & Statistics from ICRI 2014
Approximately 763 participants attended the ICRI 2014 International Conference, representing over 60 countries, organizations, institutions and Research Infrastructures from all over the world. The majority of the attendees (79%) came from countries of the European Union. Also, the largest portion (66%) of them were men. However, the participation of women (34%) as well as the participation of delegates (21%) from Non-EU countries is considered significant. The following figures show the statistics of the participants.

The Programme Committee invited and finally attracted 105 distinguished speakers from 32 countries. Regarding the statistics of the speakers (Figure 22), the percentages are very close to those of the participants. Approximately one of three was women (28%) while the 32% of the speakers represented countries outside of European Union area (32%).

ICRI 2016
ICRI 2016 will take place in Cape Town, South Africa in October 2016. Phil Mjwara, Director General, Department of Science and Technology, South Africa issued an invitation for ICRI2016 in Cape Town. http://www.dst.gov.za/
Potential Impact:
ICRI 2014 contributed further towards a culture of global cooperation among all the different Research Infrastructure stakeholders, and laid the foundations for pooling complementary resources to stay abreast of researchers needs, and in parallel highlighting the need for stronger partnerships with industry and the commercial world. Thus ICRI 2014 contributed towards spreading good practices and development of consistent and dynamic global policies.
Regarding the future ICRI 2014 use, efforts will be made so that the conclusions of the conference are brought to the necessary policy fora to guarantee uptake, continuation of efforts and further development in the next conference in South Africa in 2016, which will be the first conference outside Europe. In addition, the ATHENA Research Center organising team will liaise with the South African colleagues organising ICRI 2016 offering their experience and knowledge along with all practical matters (such as tender documents, reports, invited and participant lists etc.)
Regarding the dissemination and publicity activities for ICRI 2014, a series of actions were performed intended to inform and activate the media target group as promoters and communication supporters of the conference.
The means that were used to shape all media related activities were the following:
• All media types and channels were addressed and in the appropriate way
• All contacts of the stakeholders behind ICRI 2014 were activated; especially the Greek EU Presidency Office and the Office of the European Commission in Greece
• RI community stakeholders and friendly media were activated
• Science journalism both in Greece and internationally was not an easy target, when not talking about extraordinary achievements; yet important projects such as the Human Brain Project attracted enough attention in this area.
• Media specific information content was developed.
Media Activities
The following are some of the media related actions that the ICRI 2014 local organisers and their creative and communication contractor, under the guidance of the ICRI 2014 Communication Committee, designed and performed:
1. A team of journalists and media specialists was set up as the Conference press task-force. Good communication between this team and the organisers was important.
2. The media team set up a detailed action plan, including mainly the remaining items of this list
3. A list of media and journalists (Greek and corresponding for foreign media) was created and documented so that the most “friendly” of those are spotted and given special consideration.
4. A press kit, both as a physical box and a collection of digital items, was designed and handed out to journalists, right before or during the conference. The press kit included the press releases, the detailed programme, information regarding the exhibitors, info regarding the press conference, sponsors’ info etc.
5. A teaser was sent first, about two weeks before the opening of the Conference, regarding its targets and the presence of world famous researchers in it, to a small group of Greek journalists and foreign press correspondents.
6. The invited journalists (mainly those dealing with technology and science) were queried via telephone or in person about the possibilities of covering the event and were strongly encouraged to attend, at least during the Press Conference of ICRI 2014.
7. A formal Press Release in Greek and English was sent to the prepared lists of journalists, of Press and Digital Media, one week before the event.
8. Synergies were sought with the Ministry of Education and the Communication Team of the Greek Presidency. The Ministry accredited media and the Presidency team provided valuable help with the dissemination of our message, mainly through social media.
9. Close collaboration with the press section of the Office of the European Commission in Athens on operational and communication issues was important. The EC Office led the official Press Conference, during the first day of ICRI 2014.
10. Traditional printed and digital press coverage was complimented by radio and TV coverage. The media team took care of TV coverage by the Greek National Radio-TV organization that has planned to open a web TV channel dedicated to the Greek Presidency that also fed the main radio and TV news shows. We also motivated science (and other) bloggers to post items on the Conference and discuss relevant issues.
11. Two private video crews were present at the event covering, with the guidance of the media team and the Communications Committee highlights, of ICRI 2014, for the purpose of producing:
o Coverage from all areas, sessions and functions of the conference was used in the production of documentation promotion content, and for archiving
o Brief video interviews with as many of the speakers as possible (focusing primarily on the most prominent ones), and
o A recap video that included footage and comments from all parts of the Conference. It offered a concise picture of ICRI 2014 and –along with the official results of the Conference as produced by the Organizing Committee- was added to the content that was available for the post-Conference communication, as well as the preliminary work on the way to ICRI 2016
• A special area designated as “the Press & Speakers Lounge” was set up with a branded back-drop and all technical facilities hosted interviews and bilaterals involving speakers, dignitaries and officials, and the press. This was also a “first” for ICRI 2014 and will act as a pilot for the future.
• The final Press Release about the Conference was sent out in Greek and English a few days after the event. It included some first results estimation and some comments from the organisers.
Other Communication activities
Communication and dissemination activities that do not fully relate with the media are outlined in the following paragraphs.
Notification actions towards prospective delegates and other participants:
Calls for registration, for participation in the Exhibition and for submission of artworks for the Research & Art Competition and Exhibition were attractively designed and disseminated through all available outlets (both statically on the website and the social media, and via direct mailings). These actions were treated as additional chances to promote participation in the conference and raise awareness of the community. Especially the two exhibitions lent themselves quite neatly to promote the idea of a multifaceted conference that can look at the future of RIs from many different angles.
The ICRI 2014 Newsletter
A series of ICRI 2014 newsletters was created and disseminated to all invitees and other interested parties. Their purpose was to:
• Inform potential and registered participants on the progress of the Conference organisation, new speakers, important deadlines and changes and other practical issues
• Remind delegates of the services that were available to them before, during and after the Conference
• Notify interested parties about the calls for exhibitors and for Research & Art artworks, and their results
• Provide the ICRI community with all necessary links to the output of the conference (presentations, videos, conclusions and recommendations etc.)
3 issues were sent out, one of them after the Conference. A facility to sign up for receiving the newsletter was included in the Conference website.
The RI Organisations and Stakeholders Exhibition
ICRI 2014 featured an innovative form of exhibition to allow the conference delegates to share and network. It hosted a large number of booths and stands where Research Infrastructures (RIs) and initiatives presented their achievements in an interactive and challenging way: videos, demos, live links and hangouts. They presented a lot of activities that allowed conference participants to get a clearer view of what RIs around the globe are doing and how, and to discuss ideas and collaborations based on more hands-on material, showcases and proposals. The ICRI 2014 Exhibition also hosted a smaller number of traditional dissemination booths for major stakeholders at European and international level.
The main outcomes can be thus outlined as follows:
• Offered the opportunity to conference participants to learn about the achievements of specific RIs and about EU and international initiatives; and to spot trends and new ideas as exemplified by RI showcases
• Provided exhibitors with a live demonstration area that will help pitch achievements to journalists, funders and other interested parties
• Allowed for an additional networking area
• Motivated RIs to create effective communication material and generally enhance their communication activities
• Enabled interactions between the public and private sectors for the development-construction of RIs
It is evident that the ICRI 2014 Exhibition was an excellent communication and dissemination tool that allowed the Conference community and each of the Exhibitors to profit from the presence of a large top-level audience.

Art & Research Competition and Exhibition
A competition and exhibition under the theme of "Research and Art" accompanied the 2nd International Conference on Research Infrastructures and its main exhibition.
The competition was addressed to adults, on an international appeal, working on the artistic or scientific fields, but also adults from any professional or other field willing to submit a work concentrating on the meeting point between research and art.
Art has long been interested in Research and Science: from Renaissance art and Leonardo da Vinci with his studies of physics, 19th century art nouveau with its influence from shapes and colours emerging from biology and the invention of the microscope, to 20th century art with Surrealist iconography drawing on Freud and the findings of psychiatry, James Turrell working with the physical laws and the optical illusions of light, and to grand international exhibitions dedicated to the intersection of art and science, such as L'âme au corps: arts et sciences 1793-1993 at the Grand Palais in Paris, curated by the great art historian Jean Clair, the meeting point of art and research/science has been fascinating artists and has deeply determined the course of their work.
The novelty of the initiative that took place in ICRI 2014 is that not only it offered works of artists inspired from scientific findings and procedures regarded by the artists in their purely visual aspect, but that it also gave an insight as to how scientists can view the results of their research activity and facilities in terms of an artistic approach; how, for instance, the image of a bacteria or the study of a natural phenomenon isolated in a certain manner can form a highly potent image, approaching powerful examples of abstract art. The aim of this competition and exhibition was not only to invite artists to look upon research and science as a source of inspiration, but also to encourage scientists to see their work in a different light or enhance their already existent insight into the beauty of their work as a form of art.
The whole project of organising and selecting the works submitted to the competition (with the contribution of a three-member Selection Committee) and the curating of the exhibition presenting the works considered as best illustrating the theme of research and art was undertaken by a specialised art curator.
The R&A competition and exhibition provided fertile points of inspiration to those attending the ICRI 2014, but also to artists and scientists participating in the competition and show.
Research & Art Competition and Exhibition was one of the major attractions both for prospected delegates and general audiences as well as the media. Specific media and communication activities (press releases, public opening, calls for participation etc.) were used to promote this part of the Conference.
More than 400 eligible artworks from all over the world participated and an exhibition of more than 50 pieces was setup.

List of Websites:
www.icri2014.eu
General contact – info@icri2014.eu
Named contacts:
Prof. Yannis Ioannidis, yannis@athena-innovation.gr
Dr. Fotis Karagiannis, fkara@imis.athena-innovation.gr
Anastasios Patrikakos, apatrikakos@athena-innovation.gr
Eleni Sotiropoulou, esotirop@athena-innovation.gr
ATHENA - Research and Innovation Center in Information, Communication and Knowledge Technologies. http://www.athena-innovation.gr/