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Support to Reinforce the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - STR- ESFRI (Support to Reinforce the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures)

Reporting period: 2018-03-01 to 2019-02-28

The goal of StR-ESFRI project is to reinforce the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) under the guidance of its Chair, providing additional resources, tools and expertise in performing its activities and supporting its structures. StR-ESFRI strengthens the current ESFRI secretariat that is provided by the European Commission with additional resources and tools. The project provides high-quality support to critical ESFRI activities concerning the development of the new ESFRI roadmap(s) and the related organisation of the international peer-review of science and implementation aspects of ESFRI infrastructures, both for the selection of new projects and for the assessment of currently running projects. StR-ESFRI builds on the experience of the CoPoRI project, further facilitating and monitoring the exchange of experiences through appropriate workshops and reports and realises an effective communication and dissemination activity through web-instruments and publications.
Overall StR-ESFRI objectives include the following:
•Support the ESFRI Chair in all ESFRI-related activities
•Support the ESFRI Roadmap process
•Disseminate and exploit ESFRI-related outputs to the European and global Research Infrastructures area and liaise with key stakeholders (policy makers, funding bodies or advisory groups such as e-IRG)
•Identify best practices and facilitate/monitor the exchange of experiences among ESFRI projects, through appropriate means such as expert groups and workshops
The project impact stems from the fact that enhanced support to ESFRI will increase the probability to reach and exceed its challenging goals and in particular of its projects covering a wide spectrum of society and its challenges.
Summary of main achievements during the whole project period (Mar 2015-Feb 2019):

1.WP1 - Overall Project Coordination & Management (STFC) and Support to ESFRI Chair (STFC, UMIL, HIPC)
a.Provided support to the Chair in all ESFRI-related activities and prepared the Chair for all ESFRI Forum meetings and Executive Board (EB) meetings. Supported the realization of ESFRI Scripta Series and ESFRI Annual Reports.
b.Provided overall project coordination and financial administration, including organisation of 14 PMB meetings, plus informal PMB meetings.
c.Administrative support for experts who performed the ESFRI 2016 and 2018 Roadmap project assessments.
d.Organised internal communication of the project and communication with the Commission.

2.WP2 - ESFRI Roadmap Process Support (UMIL)
a.Provided support for the ESFRI Roadmap process, reporting back to the ESFRI Chair and EB. Assisted the Strategy Working Group and the Implementation Group in their evaluations and reviews.
b.Organised related meetings in cooperation with the EC secretariat, e.g. dedicated EB meetings and the Roadmap 2016 and 2018 hearings.
c.Main editor of ESFRI Roadmap 2016 and 2018, including graphics and publication in the website.


3.WP3 - Dissemination and liaison with key stakeholders (ATHENA RC)
a.Prepared a comprehensive communication plan and strategy to strengthen ESFRI’s outreach and visibility of its work. Continuously updated and deployed the activities described in the plan. Added value achieved by producing satellite dedicated plans for major project milestones
b.Communication and dissemination actions around ESFRI activities and ESFRI Projects & Landmarks (P&L), including identity/branding, website and related tools and facilities, social media outlets, news feeds.
c.Liaison activities with targeted stakeholders and corresponding workshops, namely with EOSC and e-IRG, and other RI related Support Projects (InRoad, MERIL2, RISCAPE, RiTrain)
d.Supported the organisation of workshops & events, including the Roadmap related events, such as 2018 launch event (Sep 2018, Vienna), the workshop on Monitoring of RIs (Nov 2018, Milano), the workshop on RIs and EOSC and ESFRI Future directions (Jan 2019, London).

4.WP4 - Exchange of Experiences & best practises and Monitoring (DLR)
a.Provision of a platform to identify good practices and exchange of experiences between ESFRI RI projects. 3 EoE workshops took place in Amsterdam in March 2016, the 2nd in Malaga in Jan 2017 and the 3rd in Vienna in Sep 2018.
b.A monitoring system, ESFRI-MOS, has been developed and instantiated, capable of viewing, editing, adding, querying information on ESFRI projects and landmarks. A first version of data for the roadmap updates 2016 and 2018 has been achieved. Given the evolving requirements, an evaluation of the MOS system took place, which resulted in the redesign of the system to be followed up in StR-ESFRI2.
The STR-ESFRI Project has contributed to all the impact areas of the RI work programme:
“Support to ESFRI” aimed at enhancing the impact of ESFRI. StR-ESFRI supported ESFRI in the publication of the ESFRI Roadmap updates in 2016 and 2018. Support also expanded to the ESFRI RI projects via the 3 EoE workshops mentioned above. Such support to RIs is much needed in the early implementation phase. Officially launched RIs may still face fragile financial and human resource conditions concerning ramping up to full operation and medium-long term exploitation. Thus, EoE workshops contribute towards achieving this impact.
There are two more impact areas related to the EoE work, namely the facilitation of “exchange of experiences and good practices between the national and/or regional policies and programmes” and “pooling of resources between infrastructure operators at European level in order to face the grand challenges and to foster a culture of co-operation between them, “spreading good practices and encouraging infrastructures to develop in complementary ways”. StR-ESFRI, via EoE workshops contributed to both of these points.
The goal of enhancing “partnerships between policy makers and funding bodies” is related to the liaison with key stakeholders, while “the development of appropriate decision making tools and control of their correct application” is related to the roadmapping activities. In the framework of such interactions between RI and e-RI stakeholders, sustainable approaches may come out. These points were relevant to both the liaison with EOSC and e-IRG. A successful cooperation with both EOSC and e-IRG was achieved. For the first, as part of the Roadmap process on e-Needs. Re. the second, an EOSC-RIs workshop was organised in London on 30 January 2019, relevant to the provision of horizontal e-Infrastructure services to the vertical strategic areas of ESFRI, in particular on data management and services for RI projects. This effort also contributed directly and indirectly to the RI sustainability approaches and integration with e-Infrastructures.
Finally, the strengthening of “the development of a consistent and dynamic European Research Area policy for RIs” is connected to the overall support to ESFRI. Strengthening ESFRI will bring better and more coherent results in its policies, the roadmap – that is directly related with the RI policies, the exchange of experiences and best practices of RIs –will result in developing or shaping coherent and dynamic policies- and finally the liaison part, as interactions with other key players are required to achieve such consistent RI policies in the ERA. Note that the expected impact is not always easily measurable.
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