From 3rd to 5th July 2019, a series of events organised by the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) was held in Brussels, Belgium. The ESFRI Validation Workshop on Monitoring of European Research Infrastructures was followed by the meeting of the ESFRI Executive Board and 69th ESFRI Forum Plenary Meeting, which paid the attention in particular to the future directions of ESFRI and preparatory works on the ESFRI Roadmap 2021 update.
Monitoring of “ESFRI Landmarks“
The ESFRI Validation Workshop on “Monitoring of European Research Infrastructures Methodology and Key Performance Indicators” provided the participants with platform to discuss key performance indicators to monitor the ”ESFRI Landmarks” included in the ESFRI Roadmap. Such European research infrastructures have either completed their implementation (construction) phase and entered into operational user phase, or progressed in their implementation (construction) phase so that they have a clearly defined timetable for completion and commissioning. The target group of the workshop were mainly the representatives of European research infrastructures with the “ESFRI Landmark” status, which will undergo the assessment in the framework of the ESFRI Roadmap 2021 update. The proposal for key performance indicators was elaborated by the ESFRI Working Group on Monitoring and covers the following 8 criteria:
- Governance and management;
- Education and training;
- Data management;
- Scientific excellence;
- Knowledge transfer and innovations;
- International cooperation in Europe and beyond;
- Scientific consultancy;
- Impact on policy makers and public.
During the workshop, representatives of European research infrastructures have agreed on the need to implement key performance indicators in evaluating their activities, while, at the same time, taking into account the specifics of each of them, deriving from their scientific domain, nature of knowledge and technology expertise provided to user communities and their current life-cycle phase. Moreover, monitoring of European research infrastructures shall not be used to benchmarking of the facilities. It shall help to cultivate the European research infrastructures and to ensure that the “ESFRI Landmarks” meet quality standards in terms of governance; user services; data management; knowledge transfer or socioeconomic impacts.
“Monitoring is a natural consequence of the life-cycle concept of research infrastructures and, thus, of those research infrastructures, which have been already successfully implemented and have achieved the status of ESFRI Landmark. Besides the ESFRI, the research infrastructures monitoring methodology and key performance indicators can also be used to assess research infrastructures at national level of European countries.”; noted Jan Hrušák, ESFRI Chair.
Following the outcomes of the workshop participated by leading European research infrastructures, the ESFRI Working Group on Monitoring will continue to prepare the set of key performance indicators for the purposes of the ESFRI Roadmap 2021 update monitoring mechanism.
69th ESFRI Forum Plenary Meeting
The second ESFRI Forum Plenary Meeting, chaired by Czech delegate Jan Hrušák, focused in particular on the debate on the future directions of ESFRI. The role of ESFRI in the post-2020 European Research Area, in terms of the vision and mission of ESFRI, which the ESFRI delegations of EU Member States, Associated Countries and European Commission attribute to ESFRI, were discussed. Future directions of ESFRI will be delivered in the form of the “ESFRI White Paper”, to be published by the end of 2019. It will include not only the updated concept of ESFRI, being a platform for strategy debates on the most recent policy making issues concerning the research infrastructures of European nature, relevance and impact, but also issues regarding future evolution of the ESFRI Roadmap (Following the ESFRI Roadmap 2021 update, the future update is scheduled for 2025).
“The ESFRI internal processes can play a role model for other European policies. The ESFRI, providing a platform for strategy debates on European research infrastructure policy approach, is a forum where European research infrastructures policy makers and operators from research communities have been able to reach consensus. At the same time, decisions taken by the ESFRI have had significant impact on development of national research infrastructures policies of European countries.”; said ESFRI Chair Jan Hrušák.
Another point of major importance on the 69th ESFRI Forum Plenary Meeting agenda was preparation of the process of the ESFRI Roadmap 2021 update. The ESFRI Roadmap 2021 Update Information Day will take place on 25th September 2019 in Brussels, Belgium, as a part of the “European Research and Innovation Days”. The deadline for submission of proposals of new European research infrastructures applying to the ESFRI Roadmap will be set for 5th May 2020. More information on the eligibility criteria and procedural requirements will be made available to potential applicants on 25th September 2019.