Policy and international cooperation measures for research infrastructures

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Type de financement :
Nature du financement :
Programme blanc
Nature du programme :
Projet collaboratif
Deadline :
Jeudi 22 Mars 2018
Budget total :
12 millions d'euros
Code de l'appel : INFRASUPP-01-2018-2019
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Specific Challenge:

High-quality, accessible research infrastructures are at the heart of the knowledge triangle of research, education and innovation. They enable tens of thousands of researchers in academia and industry to develop innovative ideas, products and services that foster European competitiveness and help tackle societal challenges facing our continent. However, ensuring the availability of state-of-the-art facilities requires multi-billion Euro long-term investments across the European Research Area. In the context of implementing the ERA Roadmap, the focus of this action is to set the conditions for effective investment and optimise the use of research infrastructures of European interest.

In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), international cooperation for research infrastructures is needed with a number of key partners located in third countries/regions seen as strategic both for the development, exploitation and management of world-class research infrastructures and for ensuring the necessary complementarities on the international scene required to address research challenges with a global dimension by optimising the use of the available resources.


Proposals will address one of the following sub-topics:

(a) Research and Innovation actions for the 2018 deadline

The objective of this sub-topic is to support the development and installation of a dedicated beam-line in SESAME. The proposal should help strengthening the links to the European network of analytical facilities with particular reference to new synchrotrons currently under development. The consortium will work with the SESAME Scientific Advisory Committee to define the scope of the beam-line more appropriate for the scientific community of reference. It should involve European partner laboratories having similar energy and technical specifications in the design and development of the beam-line components and the related instrumentation. The action will cover the installation of the beam-line and its initial commissioning. The action should also address how SESAME will secure the necessary human and financial resources for the operation of the beam-line.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 6 million would allow this activity to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

(b) Coordination and Support actions for 2018 deadline

(b1)ERIC network

The growing number of established and upcoming European Research Infrastructure Consortia[1] (ERICs) will have to address similar issues on different procedural and administrative levels such as for example employment of staff, procurement rules, evaluation procedures, access policy, financial accounting, economic activities etc. A more formal and structural collaboration and coordination between them would allow for a more effective approach and mutual benefit for addressing common hurdles. Actions selected under this sub-topic will:

  • aim at strengthening coordination and networking reinforcing the informal ERIC network or its successor framework;
  • support the organisation of specific meetings, targeted thematic workshops focussing on common challenges such as the development of internal procurement rules, harmonised reporting, VAT exemption practices, insurances and pensions policies and training of governance bodies representatives;
  • support ERICs in preparation, on the basis of best practices;
  • support common communication and outreach activities and strengthening external representation of ERICs' as a stakeholder in consultations and other policy actions that could affect them.

(b2) International visibility of European research infrastructures

The long-term sustainability consultation process highlighted that there is a need to establish international strategic partnerships with third-countries and also to improve the relationship between European research infrastructures and industry. The purpose of this sub-topic is to improve the international visibility of European research infrastructures and of their service. To attain these objectives, the selected action should:

  • organise thematic workshops and brokerage events covering the various scientific disciplines. These events would bring together the relevant European and international players (research infrastructures / funding agencies / Ministries) and set the conditions for new collaboration opportunities to be explored. A brokerage based approach and organization of a science market place would be expected;
  • develop concrete tools which Research Infrastructures could use to improve their communication/outreach strategy;

Proposals should build on the European research infrastructures landscaping analysis performed by ESFRI and published in the 2016 update of the ESFRI Roadmap, and establish links with the ongoing RISCAPE project which is conducting an international landscaping exercise.

The activity will have to put in place measures to facilitate exchange of information at international level (e.g. web-portals).

(b3) Catalogue of research infrastructure services

This sub-topic addresses the development of an on-line dynamic catalogue of relevant research infrastructure services at national and European levels, starting from the ones offered under Horizon 2020 grants. Research infrastructures should be able to apply for registering their services and to update the already registered services. Researchers should be cleverly guided in their quest for the needed infrastructure services. Procedures to review and validate registrations as well as a rating system from users should be foreseen. The catalogue should be complementary and tightly linked to the EOSC catalogue, therefore its focus will be more on physical than digital services. Proposals should address and find solutions for the catalogue long term sustainability.

(b4) Support to ESFRI

Actions selected under this sub-topic will support partnerships between policy makers, funding bodies and the scientific community in the context of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) to foster the priority setting and implementation of pan-European research infrastructures. In particular, the foreseen actions will:

  • support the development and publishing of the ESFRI Roadmap;
  • support the implementation of ESFRI activities;
  • support the ESFRI communication and outreach strategy;
  • support effective review and monitoring of research infrastructures on the ESFRI Roadmap through appropriate analytical tools;
  • foster cooperation, exchange of experiences and good practices between the research infrastructures, their managers and stakeholders, as well as the funding bodies and policy makers;
  • foster the cooperation between ESFRI and e-IRG, as well as between research infrastructures and e-infrastructures, in the area of data management to strengthen the integration of research infrastructure user communities.

The proposal should demonstrate the added-value of the activities proposed, in comparison with the activities and responsibilities of national ESFRI delegations as well as previous EU grants, such as CoPoRi and STR-ESFRI.

(b5) Support to the e-Infrastructure Reflection Group (e-IRG)

Actions selected under this sub-topic will support the activities of the e-Infrastructure Reflection Group (e-IRG) aiming to foster the integration of pan-European e-Infrastructures within the European Research Area.

The following activities should be addressed:

- Contribute to the implementation of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and the European Data Infrastructure (EDI):

  • by fostering the cooperation between European research communities and e-Infrastructures;
  • by facilitating interoperability leading to integration and consolidation of e-Infrastructures;
  • by increasing the engagement of user communities in the EOSC and the EDI/EuroHPC;
  • and by offering an independent view on the implementation of relevant EU policies by collecting and aggregating views from the relevant actors;

- Support cooperation with the ESFRI;

- Promote a change of culture of research communities towards open data, robust data management and data sharing practices;

- Organize outreach events to assist the Commission, Member States and Associated Countries in communication activities on role, mission and implementation of the EDI/EuroHPC and the EOSC.

Proposals should demonstrate the value added of the activities proposed in comparison with the activities of other advisory bodies and previous EU grants. To best enable the realisation of the above activities, the independence of the e-IRG group members is paramount. Therefore, proposals should also demonstrate independence and absence of conflict of interest in the membership of the e-IRG group receiving support.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 1.5 million for the first four sub-topics and of EUR 0.6 million over a duration of up to 30 months for sub-topic (b5) would allow these activities to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:


(a) Research and Innovation actions for 2018 deadline

  • Consolidating research activity in SESAME, increasing the amount of research time available for the users' community.
  • Strengthening SESAME's profile in the region, helping it to become more sustainable by enhancing its capacity for attracting the necessary resources for further deployment of extra beam-lines.
  • Provide a tangible example of the European Commission's support of the SESAME initiative as a catalyser for international collaboration in the region.

(b) Coordination and Support actions for 2018 deadline

(b1) ERIC network

  • strengthen the structured cooperation between ERICs;
  • facilitate the preparation of ERICs to be established;
  • strengthen the capacity of ERICs of developing where appropriate harmonised internal regulations and policies based on best practices;
  • enhance the visibility of ERICs vis-à-vis stakeholders and policy makers.

(b2) International visibility of European research infrastructures

  • Develop cooperation with key international partners for research infrastructures;
  • Facilitate the exchange of experiences and good practices between the European research infrastructure and their international counterparts;
  • Contribute to the long-term sustainability of European Research Infrastructures;

(b3) Catalogue of research infrastructure services

  • Improve visibility of the research infrastructure services
  • Support research infrastructure structuring their service orientation;
  • Increase efficiency in research infrastructure service management;
  • Facilitate the identification of potential gaps of services in Europe

(b4) Support to ESFRI

  • strengthen the development of a consistent and dynamic European Research Area policy for research infrastructures;
  • strengthen long-term sustainability of the European research infrastructure ecosystem and increase its effectiveness and coherence;
  • strengthen a service-oriented culture in the research infrastructures towards user communities and industry partners;
  • facilitate 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;
  • increase ESFRI operational capacity by establishing durable and coherent support structures for the Forum.

(b5)Support to the e-Infrastructure Reflection Group (e-IRG)

Proposals should address the following impact criteria, providing metrics to measure success where appropriate:

  • Increased interoperability of e-Infrastructures and wider engagement of user communities in the EOSC and EUROHPC;
  • Rigorously established and evidence-based e-IRG proposals addressing the implementation of existing EU policies and/or the design of new EU policies and the improved ecosystem of European Research Infrastructures and e-infrastructures, encompassing the EOSC, EDI and EuroHPC;
  • Increased visibility and outreach of e-Infrastructure policies related to EOSC, EDI and EuroHPC, and for changing the culture of research communities towards open data.
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