Research Infrastructures RIs
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.
ESFRI Research Infrastructures are facilities, resources or services of a unique nature, identified by European research communities to conduct and to support top-level research activities in their domains. ESFRI selects proposals of RIs in strategic areas of research and with an adequate level of maturity to become ESFRI Projects, and identifies successfully implemented RIs to become ESFRI Landmarks.
The ESFRI Projects are RIs in their Preparation Phase which have been selected for the excellence of their scientific case and for their maturity, according to a sound expectation that the Project will enter the Implementation Phase within the ten-year term. They are included in the Roadmap to point out the strategic importance they represent for the European Research Area, and to support their timely implementation as new RIs or major updates of existing RIs. The Projects can be at different stages of their development towards implementation according to their respective date of inclusion in the Roadmap.
The ESFRI Landmarks are RIs that were implemented, or reached an advanced Implementation Phase, under the Roadmap and that represent major elements of competitiveness of the ERA. The Landmarks can be already delivering science services and granting user access, or can be in advanced stage of construction with a clear schedule for the start of the Operation Phase. The Landmarks need continuous support and advice for successful completion, operation and – if necessary – upgrade to achieve optimal management and maximum return on investment. In order for an ESFRI project to become a landmark, the political support expressed by the Governments of the EU Member States and Associated Countries must be clear, and this support must be verified by the ESFRI delegations.
ERIC – European Research Infrastructure Consortium
ESFRI considers implemented the IR for which the Member States, and eventually the Associated States, have formalized a legal entity. To facilitate this formalization, the European Commission has prepared a specific but not a mandatory instrument, a consortium company form under European legislation called ERIC - European Research Infrastructure Consortium.
The ERIC becomes a legal entity from the date the Commission decision setting up the ERIC takes effect.
ESFRI Roadmap 2021 - Ongoing Evaluation Process
In late 2020, the new ESFRI projects were submitted and they are now being evaluated. This evaluation phase is central to the creation of the new ESFRI Roadmap. The new ESFRI Roadmap will include the new ESFRI Projects successfully evaluated and it will present the evolution of the Research Infrastructures on the current Roadmap.
Deadlines and steps:
- Submission of proposals - 09.09.2020 (extended due to the Covid)
- Critical questions & invitation to hearings - February-March 2021
- Hearings - November - April-May 2021
- ESFRIforum decision - June-September 2021
- ESFRI ROADMAP LAUNCH - October-November 2021