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Presidency event: Launch of the 2016 ESFRI Roadmap

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - KNAW-ESFRI (Presidency event: Launch of the 2016 ESFRI Roadmap)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2016-06-30

Launch of the ESFRI Roadmap 2016

The European Strategic Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) launched the New Roadmap for RIs in Europe

The ESFRI Roadmap 2016 describes 21 ESFRI projects and 29 Landmarks strategically aimed at enhancing pan-European science and innovation competitiveness. On the roadmap there are six new projects in four research sectors, addressing large telescopes, climate monitoring arrays, particle accelerators and biobanks as well as two major upgrades of infrastructures in high-energy particle physics and in analytical science. The evaluation and selection of the proposals was carried out stressing scientific excellence, pan-European dimension and the maturity of governance, financial plans and legal status, with the goal of maximizing the likelihood of fast implementation.

The roadmap was officially launched at a one-day conference hosted by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam, under the auspices of the Dutch EU Presidency, on March 10th, at the historical Trippenhuis Building of the Academy.

With over 200 participants, EU officials, policy-makers, RI project representatives, politicians, ESFRI delegates and national experts, the event united the research facility community in Europe and succeeded in promoting the dialogue between ESFRI, the science stakeholders, the European Commission and stakeholders at the regional, national and international levels.

The New Roadmap for RIs in Europe

The 21 ESFRI Projects in the Strategic Report “ESFRI Roadmap 2016” are expected to reach implementation, or to have initiated construction of large capital-intensive installations within 10 years. The 29 ESFRI Landmarks are already successfully implemented projects from earlier ESFRI roadmaps that are now delivering science services or effectively advancing in their construction.

The roadmap’s publication follows a selection process aiming to meet the long-term needs of Europe’s research communities across all scientific areas. Since 2006, the publication of periodically updated ESFRI roadmaps has provided the Council of the European Union a coherent and strategic vision to ensure Europe has excellent RIs accessible to all leading researchers and to exploit fully the potential for scientific advancement and innovation.

To this end, the new Roadmap also includes a Landscape Analysis of the Research Infrastructures accessible to European scientists and developers, identifying their strengths, potential and any gaps in the different fields of research. The ESFRI process now incorporates the necessary dynamics to further strengthening the RI ecosystem in the years to come.
The ESFRI Roadmap 2016 launch conference: R&D collaboration to address the grand challenges

José van Dijck, president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), welcomed the participants and stressed the importance of investing in knowledge infrastructures for the future of Europe.

John Womersley, ESFRI Chair, introduced the new Roadmap. He presented the three parts of the strategic document, described the new elements of the ESFRI process, and the preparation procedures for the next ESFRI Roadmap in 2018. He stressed the need for a ‘coherent, continent-wide and in many cases global approach on research infrastructures’, and encouraged member states to develop national roadmaps that align with pan-European RIs, referring to ESFRI’s vision for becoming an incubator for pan European RIs. Womersley mentioned that global research infrastructures are increasingly global data infrastructures. This leads also to more interdisciplinary developments through sharing of data and analyses beyond the boundaries of scientific disciplines. He closed his presentation by handing over a copy of the Roadmap 2016 to Sander Dekker, the Dutch State Secretary of Education, Culture and Science and Robert‐Jan Smits, Director‐General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission.

State Secretary Sander Dekker welcomed the new Roadmap stating that ‘your research could create a golden age of knowledge’. He underscored the importance for scientist to work together, scientists from different disciplines and different countries, and the need to cooperate in setting up costly and complex research facilities. Dekker stressed the need for cross-pollination to be able to resolve complicated issues, because we will be facing increasingly complex challenges in the future.

Director‐General Robert‐Jan Smits, stressed that the European Commission is a major supporter and stakeholder in Research Infrastructures development and that ‘we need research infrastructures to extend our grasp of how knowledge shapes the future’.

Long-term sustainability of research infrastructures, their innovation potential and the role of the EU in fostering implementation were the focus of the next presentation by Antonio Di Giulio, Head of Unit Research Infrastructures, DG for Research and Innovation of the European Commission Di Giulio presented the preliminary results of the Consultation on long-term sustainability of Research Infrastructures. Among other things, the consultation revealed the interest in exploring public-private models of funding and the need for better cooperation with industry to unlock the innovation potential of RIs.

Later that day he also presented the final version of the European Charter for Access to Research Infrastructures pointing to the innovation potential that RIs offer by allowing the scientific community to play a key role in it and by promoting open science and open innovation.

Focusing on the socio-economic impact of research infrastructures, Hans Chang, the Dutch ESFRI delegate and first ESFRI Chair, talked with a panel about a new kind of innovation emerging from ESFRI projects, called social innovation or technological innovation with long-term societal benefits, and stressed that measuring the socio-economic impact of RI investment should include the whole lifecycle of RIs. The panel consisted of the Belgian delegate Jean Moulin, who was chair of the OECD working group on Socio-economic impact of research infrastructures, Geert van der Veen (director Technopolis Group) and Eric Harrison (European Social Survey).

Presentation of six new ESFRI Projects en two new ESFRI Landmarks

Among the 21 projects included in the Roadmap 2016, six projects were newly added: ACTRIS, DANUBIUS-RI, E-RIHS, EST, EMPHASIS and KM3NeT 2.0.They are expected to complete their incubation, and start implementation within a maximum of ten years and reach sustainability for long term operation, thus assuring maximum return on investment in terms of science, innovation, training, socio-economic benefits and competitiveness. The six new projects presented their projects at the launch event.

Also two new landmark projects (entering the 2016 ESFRI Roadmap directly at this level) were represented at the event: CERN High luminosity LHC and ESRF-EBS. These two RIs are already at the implementation phase with funding substantially in place and established governance.

Discussions and Concluding remarks

The presentations led to interesting discussions that were principally centered on issues regarding the long-term sustainability of Research Infrastructures and ways of measuring their quality and impact. Questions and answers pointed to an emerging need for close collaboration between new roadmap projects and existing ones, a need to promote the industrial capabilities of the RIs on the ESFRI Roadmap and strengthen the cooperation of pan-European RIs with industry - in particular during the construction phase - but also developing investment portfolios during their maturity.

From the side of the European Commission, wrapping up, Octavi Quintana-Trias, Senior Adviser at DG Research and Innovation, highlighted that Europe’s conceptual approach on RIs is unique ‘since we have the only international methodology and evaluation procedures to assess RIs, and many others want to mimic it’. The role of e-Infrastructures is emerging as central in the future of RIs and multidisciplinarity as an essential element. Octavi stressed that the European Commission will continue supporting ESFRI initiatives and welcomes the process for the Roadmap update in 2018.

In his concluding remarks, Hans Chang invited ESFRI projects to learn from the past and survive the “valley of death”, toiling immediately on dynamic leadership, effective business planning and developing effective communication with the government and industry sector. Exchange of experiences and best practices is central in this process and ESFRI should consider how the exchange of experience among projects should be made beneficial. Also ‘sunset clauses’ for closing down landmark infrastructures which reach the end of their scientific life-cycle where discussed.
Follow-up on the ESFRI roadmap and ESFRI launch

ESFRI will give the next update of its Roadmap in 2018, offering more opportunities to new and mature projects in all fields of science to enter the Roadmap.

The ESFRI roadmap 2016 will be presented to the European ministers at the Competitiveness Council on May 27, where information will be provided by the Chair of ESFRI. Council conclusions on ESFRI are also envisaged.

In an era where European collaboration is becoming increasingly necessary for the European scientific community, the issues addressed at the launch will be taken up in the agenda of ICRI 2016, in October.

Based on the results of the Consultation on long-term sustainability of Research Infrastructures, a proposal on the future of European research facilities will be send to the Council early 2017.

The event was broadcast live and the video stream is available at More on RI and ESFRI can be found on the complete ESFRI Roadmap can be downloaded at Launch of Roadmap 2016 event was part of a series of events marking the Dutch presidency of the European Union. It was organized by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) in close cooperation with ESFRI, the European Commission, and the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.