75th ESFRI Forum Plenary was enriched by the first Open Session

The 75th ESFRI Forum Plenary was held virtually on 23rd – 24th March 2021. The first Open Session organised as a part of the ESFRI meeting brought together the ESFRI Delegates and representatives of the ESFRI Research Infrastructures to discuss the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The main focus was put on the activities of research infrastructures operated in the Health and Food, and Social and Cultural Innovation domains.

The ESFRI White Paper “Making Science Happen”, adopted in 2020, lays down the foundation of future strategic development of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures. Introduction of the ESFRI Open Sessions has been one of the measures to strengthen the ESFRI communication strategy. The Open Sessions are intended to serve both the ESFRI Delegates and representatives of the ESFRI Research Infrastructures, and facilitate both-ways exchanges. The first Open Session focused on the ESFRI Research Infrastructures response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The ESFRI White Paper and its main strategy messages show how visionary we were, because the work on the ESFRI White Paper had started already in 2017, well ahead of the COVID-19 crisis. ESFRI shall continue being a platform to bridge different scientific domains and offer an informal discussion platform to the ESFRI Delegates and ESFRI Research Infrastructures,” said the ESFRI Chair Jan Hrušák.

“What we’re trying to do during the COVID-19 pandemic is to open up the data collections and provide researchers with data sets, workflow and tools to conduct studies and experiments to address the COVID-19 related challenges. It’s clearly been a success story of the Open Science policy approach in Europe,” said the ELIXIR Director Niklas Blomberg.

Research infrastructures are essential requisite for progress in the social sciences. There is no excellence project without excellent research infrastructures,” said the Managing Director of SHARE-ERIC Axel Börsch-Supan.

European research infrastructures fight the COVID-19 pandemic

ESFRI Stakeholder Forum

The ESFRI White Paper further stipulates that the position of research infrastructures, as an essential pillar of the European Research Area (ERA), should be reinforced. Furthermore, the renewed ERA should be based on shared responsibilities, co-creation, and stakeholders’ and citizens’ engagement. In that sense, the ESFRI Forum debated possible interlinkages between businesses, researchers, education, policy-makers and citizens. To achieve this, the first ESFRI Stakeholder Forum is proposed to be organised during the Slovenian Presidency in the EU Council, in Ljubljana, in December 2021, as a back-to-back event to the ESFRI Roadmap 2021 Launch Event and the ESFRI Forum Plenary meeting.

ESFRI White Paper „Making Science Happen“

ESFRI Roadmap Update 2021

Before the ESFRI Roadmap 2021 Launch Event is held, there’s a lot of steps to be taken. The ESFRI Chair Jan Hrušák provided an update on the ESFRI Roadmap 2021 edition preparation, followed by presentations by the ESFRI Strategy Working Group Chairs. Currently, the update procedure aims at the Landscape Analysis to provide a context of the most relevant research infrastructures available for European scientists, jointly with emerging scientific trends and challenges, which require optimisation. An important part of the Landscape Analysis will focus on the relevance of the ESFRI Research Infrastructures for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, their capacity to respond to emergencies like the COVID-19 crisis, and their contribution to the digital transformation of the European economy.

Monitoring of the 2010 ESFRI Projects and evaluation of eighteen new ESFRI project proposals are an important part of the ESFRI Roadmap Update 2021. All the relevant documents for the ESFRI Roadmap 2021 Update shall be approved by the ESFRI Plenary Forum in June 2021.

ESFRI Roadmap Update 2021