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Towards better Synchronisation of Priority Settings and Evaluation Mechanisms for Research Infrastructures Beyond National Relevance

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - InRoad (Towards better Synchronisation of Priority Settings and Evaluation Mechanisms for Research Infrastructures Beyond National Relevance)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2018-12-31

The financial environment for Research Infrastructures is under threat in the foreseeable future because of the recurring economic crisis in Europe and other advanced economies. This has been recognized at European level, as stated in the 2014 European Research Area (ERA) progress report: “there is a need for further synchronisation of national and European roadmaps for RI and the related pooling of funding” - in order to guarantee the sustainability of European RI. However, the issue goes beyond the mere synchronisation of national priority-setting processes (i.e. ‘roadmapping’) but calls for considering the whole life-cycle of a RI in this process, the efficient integration of other funding streams such as the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), where appropriate, and the development of adequate business models for the construction and operation of RI.

A majority of EU Member States (MS) and Associated Countries (AC) have conducted (in some cases several times) or are currently conducting a strategic prioritisation exercise at national and sometimes regional level. Procedures depend on the strategic and political objectives of the exercise and on the requirements of the national decision-making processes, including those of national budget regulations. The results are very diverse in scope and there is not only a mismatch between strategic priority-setting exercises for RI at European, national and regional levels, but there is also a great diversity of funding instruments and cost models across countries and regions. As soon as the RI develop an European scope, this diversity brings the risks of making the funding of construction and operation of RI across Europe inefficient and not transparent for the communities of users. In other words, the lack of comparability and synchronisation challenges the sustainability and effectiveness of RI.

In order to improve the comparability and synchronisation of RI priority-setting procedures and to reach a better understanding of mutual ex-ante and ex-post evaluation mechanisms, InRoad supports the exchanges of best practices for national and European roadmap drafting and evaluation procedures for RI. The main objective of the proposal is thus to contribute to a better harmonisation and synchronisation of priority-setting-, funding- and lifecycle management of RI through the exchange of best practices among the main stakeholders in EU MS, AC and at European level.
InRoad launched a broad consultation in the beginning of May 2017 about national RI decision-making, policies and funding processes. The collected information allowed comparative analyses of national practices to identify challenges and best practices. 22 EU MS and AC responded to the consultation, so the results cover nearly all countries in Europe with an RI roadmap and therefore allow for generalisation of the findings. The results of this consultation were presented in a report, in which the project's first insights were soundly formulated.

Also, after an extensive desk-study and verification of work, InRoad has compiled information about roadmap processess, funding, evaluation and monitoring for RI in Europe. The information concern the 22 EU MS and 5 AC who responded to the consultation. The results of this work is presented in an extensive report, the InRoad Compendium but are also available in a more user-friendly format as a series of factsheets available on our website.

Moreover, InRoad organised five Regional Workshops respectively in Prague, Rome, Hamburg, Aveiro and Wroclaw. The aim of these workshops was to discuss issues regarding funding of RI with local stakeholders from different countries. This exercise brought together InRoad, RI managers and policymakers to have a dialogue about challenges and bottlenecks related to the funding of RI. Detailed information and recommendations from these workshops can be found in the different workshop reports available on our website.

Finally, InRoad final report presents 10 recommendations containing clear messages highlighting the main conclusions and results of the work carried out by InRoad. The recommendations are then further developed and justified with explanatory texts containing complementary evidence and insights based on InRoad findings. The Annexes provide additional evidence to support the recommendations. The evidence are based on in-depth case studies and interviews. The final findings and policy insights are sorted in three main policy areas: 1) higher degree of coordination between national and European RI roadmapping processes; 2) higher degree of coordination between regional, national and European funding framework; 3) best practices and common standards for RI business planning.
InRoad’s final report touches upon 3 areas namely 1) higher degree of coordination between national and European RI roadmapping processes; 2) higher degree of coordination between regional, national and European funding framework; 3) best practices and common standards for RI business planning. The needs, good practices and trends contained in this document allow InRoad to develop policy insights for a broad range of stakeholders such as EU and national policymakers, as well as RI funders and managers.

All the project impacts are detailed in the Periodic Technical Report - Part B but all the project impacts stated hereunder have been achieved.
- Strenghten the development of a consistent and dynamic ERA policy for RI;
- Facilitate the exchange of experiences and good practices between the national and /or regional policies and programmes;
- Enhance partnerships between policy makers, funding bodies, academia and industry and promote the development of appropriate monitoring tools for decision making.
- Contribute to the emergence of sustainable approaches for the provision of cross- disciplinary research services.
- Encourage the 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.
- Contribute to the development of a competitive high performance ERA in the global research environment.
- Enhance the role of the Union and develop cooperation and engagement with international organisations and multilateral fora.
- Contribute to capacity building and research infrastructures human capital development in targeted/relevant regions.

Please refer to InRoad Periodic Technical Report - Part B for more detailed information.
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