On Friday 25th March 2022, the French EU Council Presidency conference commemorating the 20th anniversary of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) took place in Paris. The event was held as a part of the French-Czech-Swedish EU Council Presidency Trio programme that focuses on research infrastructures as on one of the priorities. While the French EU Council Presidency conference looked back on twenty years of ESFRI, Czechia will organise during its Presidency mandate the ICRI 2022 (International Conference on Research Infrastructures) event. On the top of that, the EU Council Conclusions on Research Infrastructures are envisioned to be endorsed by the EU Research Ministers in December 2022. Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Petr Gazdík congratulated ESFRI on its successes on behalf of Czechia, and expressed his belief about the ESFRI’s irreplaceable role and the continuity of the ESFRI’s contribution to the design, creation, implementation and monitoring of the European research infrastructure policy.
European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI)
ESFRI was set up in 2002 following the decision taken by the EU Research Ministers to establish a forum of delegates of the EU Member States, Associated Countries and the European Commission to debate the most pressing challenges of the European research infrastructure policy-making. Since then, ESFRI has been providing expert advice and consultancy to the EU Council, contributing to the development of the European research infrastructure strategies and policies. As of 2006, ESFRI elaborates the ESFRI Roadmap, which includes the top priority research infrastructure projects for the further advancement of the European Research Area. The latest 2021 edition lists 63 European research infrastructures, out of which are 22 ESFRI Projects (i.e., brand new research infrastructure projects at the beginning of their implementation phase) and 41 ESFRI Landmarks (i.e., successfully implemented ESFRI Projects).
“Let me congratulate ESFRI on its 20th anniversary. Since 2002, ESFRI has become one of the key pillars of the European Research Area governance structure. In the area of the research-infrastructure policy-making, ESFRI has an irreplaceable role. In the past twenty years, ESFRI has published 6 editions of the ESFRI Roadmap, which includes the leading European research infrastructures. Besides monitoring the research infrastructure landscape in Europe, ESFRI has also elaborated a number of methodologies on the research infrastructure quality assessment and evaluation of their performance. Having said that, I’m very pleased that Jan Hrušák, senior scientist at the J. Heyrovský Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Special Envoy for Research Infrastructures of the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, served as the ESFRI Chair in the past three years. Research infrastructures are a flagship initiative of the Open Science Policy in Europe. And I’m convinced that ESFRI will continue providing highly valuable expert advice to European stakeholders for top-class research infrastructure policy-making,” said Petr Gazdík, Czech Minister of Education, Youth and Sports.
Celebratory handover of the ERIC plaques
On the occasion of the conference, celebratory handover of the plaques to the ELI ERIC (Extreme Light Infrastructure ERIC), AnaEE ERIC (Infrastructure for Analysis and Experimentation on Ecosystems ERIC) and Euro-BioImaging ERIC (European Research Infrastructure for Imaging Technologies in Biological and Biomedical Sciences ERIC) was organised. Czechia is a Founding Member of the above-mentioned European research infrastructure consortia, while the scientific engagement is organised through the ELI Beamlines (ELI ERIC), CzeCOS (AnaEE ERIC) and CzechBioImaging (Euro-BioImaging ERIC) national nodes. In addition, Czechia also hosts the statutory seat of the ELI ERIC consortium, which is based in Dolní Břežany.