European Research Infrastructures, including e-Infrastructures
Types of Research Infrastructures (RI)
RI may be ‘single-sited’ (a single resource at a single location), ‘distributed’ (a network of distributed resources), or ‘virtual’ (the service is provided electronically).
RI (including e-infrastructures) play an increasingly important role in the advancement of knowledge and technology. They are a key instrument in bringing together a wide diversity of stakeholders to look for solutions to many of the problems society is facing today. Furthermore, e-Infrastructures will make every European researcher digital,increasing creativity and efficiency of research and bridging thedividebetween developed and less developed regions.
EU’s role in developing research infrastructures
The European Union plays an important part in supporting infrastructure, opening up broad access to national and European infrastructures, and making sure that regional, national, European and international policies are consistent and effective.
It is not only necessary to avoid duplication of efforts and to coordinate and rationalise the use of the facilities, but also to pool resources so that the Union can also acquire and operate research infrastructures at world level.
ESFRI, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures, is a strategic instrument to develop the scientific integration of Europe and to strengthen its international outreach. The main scope of ESFRI is to support a coherent and strategy-led approach to policy-making on Research Infrastructures in Europe and to facilitate multilateral initiatives leading to the better use and development of RI.
The role of Member States remains central in developing and financing research infrastructures. Most EU countries have begun the task of identifying their future national RI needs. National roadmaps articulate not only national priorities, but also stress the importance of participation in overseas facilities through bilateral agreements with host countries.
Examples of RI
CERN, the world's largest particle physics laboratory, is an example of the success of European RI.The GÉANT high-speed network is just one of many examples of e-Infrastructure initiatives launched to facilitate cooperation among researchers.
Horizon 2020(connect), Structural Funds (connect) and the European Investment Bank provide financial support for the development of RIs. Parts of Horizon 2020 financing RIs are “European Research Infrastructures”, “e-infrastructures”, "Societal Challenges", "Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies" (LEIT), "Future and Emerging Technologies", “ MarieSkłodowska-Curie” and “European Research Council” actions.