The ESFRI White Paper 2020, prepared by European research infrastructure policy-makers, sets out an innovative vision for European research infrastructures in post-2020. It emphasizes the importance of research infrastructures for the development of excellent science in the EU. At the same time, it points out their contribution to strengthening the competitiveness of European industries and role, which the research infrastructures play in addressing grand socioeconomic challenges, and therefore the impact they have on the daily lives of European citizens.
European research infrastructures are a key pillar of the European Research Area (ERA) and one of its most successful achievements. Over the past two decades, within the framework of European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) and ESFRI Roadmap processes, EU Members States and Associated Countries have worked together, in a close partnership with the European Commission, to provide scientists and innovators with state-of-the-art facilities, and to foster mutual collaboration and networking among them. This procedure has led to the establishment of over 50 European research infrastructures, mobilising investments of approximately €20 billion across the whole EU, and enabling user communities to conduct top-class fundamental and applied research, develop the most advanced technologies and introduce breakthrough innovations. These developments have radically contributed to the availability of top-class research infrastructures in Europe, reinforcing Europe’s strong research performance.
Jan Hrušák, ESFRI Chair, presenting the ESFRI White Paper 2020
Stronger contribution of research infrastructures to European policy objectives
Responding to the changed policy context, in particular the new emphasis on the socioeconomic goals – such as digitisation of European industries; ensuring of energy security; mitigation of climate change; preservation of biodiversity; development of innovative medicines and treatments against infectious diseases; securing water supply and healthy food production; and facing societal challenges, like aging or societal inequalities – the renewed ERA envisions stronger contributions of research and innovation activities to EU’s wider policy objectives, such as increasing Europe’s competitiveness and identifying significant solutions to grand societal challenges. These goals cannot be fully achieved without new, joint strategic efforts of the European research infrastructures themselves. Given these circumstances, ESFRI will support the research infrastructure ecosystem in optimizing its alignment with the European strategic agendas, across borders of sectoral domains. This will also imply a culture change in the entire research infrastructure domain.
CzechNanoLab Research Infrastructure – CEITEC Nano
Reinforcing the socioeconomic benefits and impacts of research infrastructures
The new ESFRI vision for the European research infrastructure missions in the post-2020 ERA has been embedded in the ESFRI White Paper 2020: Making Science Happen – A New Ambition for Research Infrastructures in the European Research Area. The ESFRI White Paper is aiming at a fully consolidated European ecosystem of research infrastructures underpinning the ERA, offering cross-disciplinary and integrated / harmonized R&D and innovation services, and enabling user communities both to pursue the greatest of scientific challenges and generate new knowledge, as well as to maximise their impacts on the most pressing of global societal challenges and the everyday life of European citizens. This vision is intimately related to achieving the following objectives:
- Research – maintain an absolute edge globally in research infrastructure capabilities to serve ambitious, curiosity- and demand-driven, societally relevant, scientific and technological research, thereby increasing the attractiveness of the ERA for researchers, industrial users and international partners;
- Innovation – accelerate the exploitation of European research infrastructures as knowledge and innovation hubs, boosting their role as drivers of economic growth, social and environmental transitions, and place-based innovation;
- Education – engage research infrastructures and higher education institutions in specialized training of students, young academics and industrial scientists on next-generation technologies, inter-disciplinary methodologies and data management skills;
- Policies – increase coherence between European, national and regional priorities and policies for research infrastructure development and funding, and effective synergies with other European policies and funding instruments;
- Data – exploit the data science and data engineering expertise of research infrastructures for the development of the European Open Science Cloud.
For more information visit the dedicated ESFRI White Paper 2020 website.
e-INFRA CZ – IT4Innovations National Supercomputing Centre