Roadmap & Strategy report
The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) periodically updates its Roadmap as mandated by the Competitiveness Council of the European Union to provide a coherent and strategic vision ensuring that Europe has excellent Research Infrastructures (RIs) in all fields of science and innovationConclusions of the Council of the European Union of 26 May 2014 on Implementation of the roadmap for the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures. Doc. 10257/14 http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-10257-2014-INIT/en/pdfConclusions of the Council of the European Union of 27 May 2016 on FP7 and Future Outlook: Research and innovation investments for growth, jobs and solutions to societal challenges. Doc. 9527/16 http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-9527-2016-INIT/en/pdfConclusions of the Council of the European Union of 29 May 2018 on Accelerating knowledge circulation in the EU. Doc 9507/18 http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-9507-2018-INIT/en/pdf
This ESFRI Roadmap 2018 is an update of the previous ESFRI Roadmap 2016, accounting for the results of the end of the ten-year cycle of those ESFRI Projects that entered in 2008 and the outcomes of the selection of new proposals. It also suggests a vision on the future evolution of ESFRI activities and methods.
ESFRI RIs 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. They include: major scientific equipment – or sets of instruments; knowledge-based resources like collections, archives and scientific data; e-Infrastructures, such as data and computing systems and communication networks; and any other tools that are essential to achieve excellence in research and innovation.
RIs are implemented with different organisation models: single-sited Research Infrastructures – namely large research plants in a single or a few fully dedicated sites as astronomy and astrophysics telescopes, accelerator based sources, nuclear reactor sources, extreme laser sources; or distributed Research Infrastructures – e.g. networks of observatories of the earth, oceans, biodiversity; multiple operational sites in the health and food domain; surveys and longitudinal studies of the European population; collections of physical or digital information; innovation in heritage and culture; very large computational resources. In all cases, RIs offer physical access to the researchers and/or remote use (see BOX 1).
##SINGLE-SITED RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURES#
Single-sited RIs are central facilities geographically localised in a single site or in a few dedicated complementary sites designed for user access, whose governance is European or international. A single-sited RI needs to: i) have a legal status and a governance structure with clear responsibilities and reporting lines, including international supervisory and relevant external advisory bodies; ii) have an access policyEuropean Charter for Access to Research Infrastructures https://ec.europa.eu/research/infrastructures/pdf/2016_charterforaccessto-ris.pdf and access point for external users facilitating the submission of proposals and a user programme absorbing a considerable fraction of the total capacity of the RI; iii) have a user support structure to optimise access to the relevant site, such as users office, ancillary laboratories, accommodation arrangements and logistics; iv) have a data management system providing metadata and data storage, retrieval tools and on-line/in situ/remote data reduction and analysis; v) identify relevant and measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPI) addressing both excellence of scientific services and sustainability; vi) enforce a human resources policy guaranteeing the necessary competences for its operation, users support, education and training by equal opportunity hiring and secondments.
##DISTRIBUTED RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURES#
A distributed RI consists of a Central Hub and interlinked National Nodes. A distributed RI particularly needs to: i) have a unique specific name, legal status and a governance structure with clear responsibilities and reporting lines, including international supervisory and relevant external advisory bodies; ii) have legally binding attributions of coordination competences and resources to the Central Hub; iii) have a unique access policyEuropean Charter for Access to Research Infrastructures https://ec.europa.eu/research/infrastructures/pdf/2016_charterforaccessto-ris.pdf and provide for a single point of access for all users with a support structure dedicated to optimise the access for the proposed research; iv) have a user programme absorbing a relevant fraction of the total capacity of the RI; v) identify and adopt measurable Key Performance Indicators addressing both excellence of scientific services and sustainability; vi) have a human resources policy adequate to guarantee the effective operation of the Central Hub supporting the research, users programme, education and training by equal opportunity hiring and secondments; vii) define a joint investment strategy aimed at strengthening the RI through the Nodes and the common/shared facilities. These features mark the difference of a RI with respect to a coordinated research network (international collaborations of fully independent research performing organizations). Nodes may be absorbed partially by the distributed RI while maintaining their national or institutional programmes, but the capacity and amount of resources engaged in the RI must be coordinated and managed by the Central Hub according to agreed statutes and common rules and procedures of the legal RI consortium.
ESFRI selects proposals of RIs that become ESFRI Projects and have up to ten years to reach implementation, and identifies successfully implemented RIs in the class of ESFRI Landmarks (see BOX 2).
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 (ERA) 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.
* A major upgrade is a transformative change of an operational RI as required to maintain leadership in science and increase research capacity, implying a substantial new investment.
##ESFRI LANDMARKS#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.