ESFRI announces the 11 new research infrastructures to be included in its Roadmap 2021

4.1 billion investment in excellent science contributing to address European challenges

After two years of hard work, following a thorough evaluation and selection procedure, ESFRI proudly announces the 11 proposals that have been scored high for their science case and maturity for implementation and will be included as new projects in the ESFRI 2021 Roadmap Update.

“The ESFRI Executive Board analysed the outcomes of the evaluation of the 18 proposals submitted for the Roadmap 2021 inclusion, carried out by the relevant Strategy Working Groups and by the Implementation Group, taking account of the strategic value of the projects for bringing in important contributions to fill gaps and to overall reinforce the Roadmap,” said the ESFRI Chair Jan Hrušák from the J. Heyrovský Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

“I would like to thank all who have participated during the evaluation process. Being members of the ESFRI Strategy Working Groups, Implementation Group, members of the ESFRI Executive Board or ESFRI delegates,“ said Jan Hrušák during the 76th ESFRI Forum meeting on 30th June 2021.

The new ESFRI Projects are:

EBRAINS – European Brain Research Infrastructures, a distributed digital infrastructure at the interface of neuroscience, computing and technology, offering scientists and developers advanced tools and services for brain research.

EIRENE RI – Research Infrastructure for Environmental Exposure Assessment in Europe, the first EU infrastructure on human exposome (environmental determinants of health).

ET – Einstein Telescope, the first and most advanced third-generation gravitational-wave observatory, with unprecedented sensitivity that will put Europe at the forefront of the gravitation waves research.

EuPRAXIA – European Plasma Research Accelerator with Excellence in Applications, a distributed, compact and innovative accelerator facility based on plasma technology, set to construct an electron-beam-driven plasma accelerator in the metropolitan area of Rome, followed by a laser-driven plasma accelerator in European territory.

GGP – The Generations and Gender Programme, aiming to provide high quality and cross-nationally comparable longitudinal data to answer pressing scientific and societal challenges on population and family dynamics.

GUIDE – Growing Up in Digital Europe-EuroCohort, Europe’s first comparative birth cohort survey, aiming to support the development of social policies for the enhancement of the wellbeing of children, young people and their families across Europe.

MARINERG-i – Offshore Renewable Energy Research Infrastructure, setting out to become the leading internationally distributed research infrastructure in the offshore renewable energy sector, with a network of test facilities spread across Europe.

OPERAS – Open Access in the European Research Area through Scholarly Communication, the distributed research infrastructure to enable Open Science and upgrade scholarly communication practices in the social sciences and humanities in line with the European Open Science Cloud.

RESILIENCE – Religious Studies Infrastructure: Tools, Innovation, Experts, Connections and Centres, a unique, interdisciplinary scientific research infrastructure for all religious studies, building a high-performance platform, supplying tools and access to physical and digital data to scholars from all scientific disciplines.

SLICES – Scientific Large-Scale Infrastructure for Computing/Communication Experimental Studies ambitions to become an impactful research infrastructure in digital sciences, including concerns regarding energy consumption and the implementation of the European Green Deal.

SoBigData++ RI – European Integrated Infrastructure for Social Mining and Big Data Analytics, a resource for sharing datasets, methods, research skills and computational resources for supporting the comprehension of social phenomena through the lens of Big Data.

A detailed analysis of successful proposals revealed the following key messages and conclusions:

  • There is a renewed momentum for investments in RIs – total investment costs in 11 new projects will reach EUR 4.164 million (EUR 380 million on average), while in the 2018 ESFRI Roadmap it was EUR 674 million (EUR 112 million on average) and in the 2016 Roadmap EUR 856 million (EUR 143 million on average). This is by far the highest value of new research infrastructure investment plans since the first Roadmap in 2006.
  • There is a new level of ambition to develop globally unique, complex facilities for frontier science: Einstein Telescope – highest value project ever on the Roadmap – EUR 1.900 million, and EuPRAXIA – innovative accelerator based on plasma technology – EUR 569 million.
  • Increasing political commitment and inclusiveness of research infrastructures – on average 7 governments provided political support at ministerial level to each selected project, while institutions from, on average, 14 countries participate in each selected project at the scientific level.

The selected research infrastructures will provide significant support to key EU priorities:

EU social pillar – ambitious research infrastructures for social sciences with remarkably high potential for further improving the evidence base for economic and social policies: ‘The Generations and Gender Programme’ and ‘Growing up in Digital Europe-EuroCohort’ – completing, with ‘Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe’, the full coverage of European society with large-scale longitudinal surveys; RESILIENCE – religious studies for better understanding of the contemporary, diversified societies.

Digital Transition – EBRAINS-infrastructure part of Human Brain Project, SLICES-experimental computer science and software development, SoBigData++ –infrastructure for big data analytics, GUIDE–the young generation in the digital society, OPERAS–scholarly communication, open science, EOSC.

European Green Deal – offshore renewable energy (MARINERG-I).

Health – EBRAINS-neuroscience, bio-medical research, EIRENE- environmental determinants of health, EuPRAXIA–high resolution medical imaging, research on biomolecules, viruses and microscopic processes.

The ESFRI Roadmap 2021 – which includes the Strategy Report and the Landscape Analysis – will be approved by the ESFRI Forum in September 2021 and will be published during the launch event in December 2021.