The strengthening of the national research system moves from a strategy strongly focused on competitiveness, integration of funding sources and identification of a coherent framework.
The establishment of a national network of quality Research Infrastructures (RIs), overcoming fragmentation and eliminating unnecessary duplication, is, together with investment in human capital for research, a key enabling factor to achieve this objective. This MIUR systemic action supports and accompanies, drawing stimulus and inspiration from it, the similar path undertaken at European level through the action of the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI).
The multiplicity of actors called to take part in the implementation of the PNIR requires the adoption of a unique language, as the guarantee of a real sharing of objectives, methods and results. It is therefore appropriate to include immediately the definition, shared at European level, of Research Infrastructure:
“Research infrastructure” means facilities, resources and related services that are used by the scientific community to conduct top-level research in their respective fields and covers major scientific equipment or sets of instruments; knowledge-based resources such as collections, archives or structures for scientific information; enabling Information and Communications Technology-based infrastructures such as Grid, computing, software and communication, or any other entity of a unique nature essential to achieve excellence in research. Such infrastructures may be “single-sited” or “distributed” (an organised network of resources) [European Research Infrastructures ERIC]
Through the National Research Infrastructures Plan (PNIR), the public system indicates: a) the objectives for the implementation and operation of research infrastructures in support of national research and its international competitiveness; b) the resources it undertakes to invest c) the criteria for defining the priorities for access to public resources.