Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ICRI 2016 (International Conference on Research Infrastructures (ICRI 2016))
Reporting period: 2015-10-01 to 2016-12-31
ICRI 2016 brought together experts from across the globe and provided a platform for discussions for the RI community. Speakers were representatives of the global debates on RI as well provided various perspectives. The Conference participants included scientists, RI managers, multilateral institutions, policy makers, politicians, as well as the private sector.
There are currently discussions on RI taking place at various levels, including the Group of Senior Officials and the OECD-Global Science Forum (as well as at international, regional and national levels. ICRI provide a strategic opportunity to serve as a mechanism to further enhance and link these dialogues at various levels.
Increasingly, at a global scale there is acknowledgement of the role of STI in contributing to economic growth as well as to contribute to the multitude of global challenges. RI cut across a multitude of disciplines, ranging from health, bioeconomy, astronomy, ICT, etc and thus have a critical role to play in addressing the current socio-economic challenges that the world faces. RI’s are also attractive from the perspective of the type of science and innovation they perform, from data analysis to capturing the imagination of the public (exploring galaxies), and therefore creates a unique opportunity to attract people into scientific careers. Networking through ICRI, provides critical discussions on the framework conditions necessary for the effective and optimal functioning of RI’s. RI’s range from single site, multiple sites and transcend boundaries of various countries, which makes ICRI absolutely relevant for the type of research and innovation that the scientific community undertakes.
ICRI 2016, for the first time was hosted outside the European continent and attracted a diverse global audience, from both developed and developing countries.
The objectives of the conference were set out as following:
• provide an international forum for the discussion on the development of global research infrastructures;
• facilitate strategic international cooperation between European Research Infrastructures and their International counterparts;
• address the impact of research infrastructures for capacity building
• explore a global infrastructure roadmap
• share best practice and advance knowledge among global players
• facilitate discussion on the setting up of implementation, long-term sustainability and efficient operation of the research infrastructures
• highlight the role of research infrastructures in addressing global challenges
• discuss the role of research infrastructures going into the future, exploring new and emerging areas of focus such as towards e-infrastructures
• highlight the role of research infrastructures within the developing economies, as well as in Africa
• Role of RI in addressing socio-economic challenges
• serve as a platform to stimulate the interest of young people to science
• role of collaboration at RI in building and strengthening science diplomacy
• build on the outcomes of ICRI 2014 and propose concrete steps forward
Work performed in the hosting of the International Conference on Research Infrastructures, includes all the arrangements on both the content aspect related to the program for ICRI as well as the logistics aspects.
The content aspects of the project included:
- defining the content of ICRI, including the themes and objectives
- speaker proposals for the various sessions, including a diversity of geographic representation as well as gender diversity
- identifying key note speakers for the Conference
- drafting of the detailed program for ICRI, with various sessions, including plenary as well as parallel sessions
- Development of an exhibition as part of the program
- Interfacing with the outreach aspect of ICRI, by facilitating the participation of school learners at the exhibition
- engaging with various side events to ensure alignment with research infrastructures and providing support
- conclusions of the Conference were drafted
- a conference report was drafted highlighting the various elements during the preparations and hosting of the Conference
From a successful logistics perspective, during the project the following key activities were undertaken:
- a suitable venue was identified and booked that would cater for the various elements of the Conference
- a website was developed that highlighted information on ICXRI 2016, including the program as well as logistics aspect
- a registration page was developed for online registration of participants to ICRI
- Branding was developed for the Conference through a logo that was used on all communications linked to ICRI 2016
- Save the date communications were sent to a database of participants to attend ICRI
- Invitations to participants were sent for ICRI
- Communication to participants to register were sent
- Invitations to speakers were drafted and sent out
- A communications and marketing strategy was developed for ICRI
- during the course of the Conference, various broadcasts of the event and interviews were held with various broadcasting authorities in South Africa
- Conference material was printed for the event
- One of the key elements of the discussions also focused on the socio-economic dimension of the research infrastructures, and the benefits that accrues to society. This is an important
element in ensuring that global research infrastructures are seen to be relevant and contributing to society.
- The hosting of ICRI 2018 in Austria will also link with the outcomes of ICRI 2016
- At a national level, the Conference also provided exposure to school learners in South Africa to the area of research infrastructures and also to the broader society on science