"European Research Infrastructures for a smarter future" Conference
Overview of concept and objectives
The overall objective of the conference is to explore the potential of European Research Infrastructures to make a meaningful impact on the European strategic agendas and identify the ways in which this could be achieved. The outcome of this high-level digital event will provide a new impetus for the European research infrastructure policy, supporting full realisation of the potential of the European Research Area to drive the necessary changes in our economy and society. The conference will provide a platform for discussion and dialogue between policy, research and industry stakeholders on the changes that are necessary to address the big challenges of our times. It will also increase the visibility of opportunities provided by Research Infrastructures and promote partnership between business and academia.
The Conference is now completed. All the material is available in the "Outcomes" tab of the event page.
Conference Agenda - Friday, May 15th 2020
Evolution of the European Research Area
Research Infrastructures and the European strategic agendas – Green Deal and Energy Transition
The European Green Deal
The European Green Deal is the most ambitious package of measures that should enable European citizens and businesses to benefit from sustainable green transition. The measures proposed cover a number of topics: clean energy; sustainable industry; building and renovating; sustainable mobility; biodiversity; from farm to fork; eliminating pollution. The Green Deal is also an integral part of the Commission’s strategy to implement the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As part of the Green Deal, the Commission will refocus its policies to put the SDGs at the heart of the EU’s policymaking and action.
The Energy Union
In 2015, the Commission published its Communication “A Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy” which aimed at fundamentally changing Europe’s energy system. The Commission, in its fourth report on the State of the Energy Union published in 2019, recognizes the results achieved (i.e. ambitious targets for 2030 in renewable energy and energy efficiency, a regulatory framework and a vision for the policies required, promoting the creation of European value chains in emerging sectors like batteries and hydrogen) and the way forward.
The role of Research Infrastructures
In this context, Research Infrastructures are key in driving the necessary transitions toward a greener and innovative society by providing new technologies, sustainable solutions and disruptive innovation. A number of RIs have been supporting the European objectives in the fields related to the Green Deal and the Energy transition. Solar, wind, nuclear and marine energy, technological advancements in the energy storage sector and innovative studies on biological diversity and ecosystem functioning are some of the main areas in which European RIs have contributed so far. However, In order to increment the contribution of RIs in the future, there is a need for more integration between the RIs scientific agendas and European broader policies.
ESFRI, in its White Paper, acknowledges the strategic importance of further strengthening the coherence between European, national and regional priorities and policies for Research Infrastructures development. Furthermore, ESFRI invites the EC and the MS/AC to maximise synergies and interplay between regional funds, national funds and European programmes, hence including RIs’ investments in a wider framework of funding decisions.
Research Infrastructures for Regional Development
Research Infrastructures have the potential to promote greater cohesion in Europe through their capacity for facilitating excellent science. A Europe-wide distribution of RIs would help to reduce the “excellence gap” caused by lagging capacities in parts of the EU. Developing the concept of Smart Specialisation Strategies, by including the scheme of regionally anchored RIs and ensuring that the EU state aid rules are more RDI friendly, would sizably contribute to closing the research and innovation gap. This would help to realise the full research potential from all EU regions while equally respecting at the same time the excellence criterion as the major guiding principle. Effective complementarity and practical synergies between all EU funded programs should therefore be assured.
Research Infrastructures in the fight against COVID-19
COVID-19 outbreak represents an unprecedented public health crisis in the European history of the last decades. All relevant stakeholders have been coordinating at European and International level in order to support the development of diagnostic tools and the search for a vaccine and cure, as well as to alleviate the economic and social damages.
In this context, Research Infrastructures (RI) have been playing a fundamental role in putting together all available knowledge and resources to fight the outbreak, supporting governments, researchers and hospitals around the globe. Many RIs have developed dedicated services and prioritized access pipelines for work related to fighting the virus. Several initiatives have also tried to gather all relevant information on what exactly is available at RIs’ level in order to help researchers finding the most appropriate service or resource. These include the ESFRI “RIs against COVID-19” website, the “ERIC Forum against COVID-19“ initiative, and the “Research Infrastructures and COVID-19 Research“ website of the Association of European Research Infrastructures Facilities. Other initiatives on the e-infrastructure side include the OpenAIRE/Zenodo COVID-19 community multi-disciplinary repository, the OpenAIRE COVID-19 Gateway to a linked literature-data-software knowledge graph, the EGI and Open Science Grid joint call for specialized resource provisioning across the Atlantic, and the PRACE fast track for proposals.
The Commission has developed the ERA vs. Corona Action Plan setting out key measures to coordinate, share, and increase support for R&I such as adding and reorienting funds to support RI projects, and establishing a European data exchange platform in the framework of the European Open Science Cloud.
The COVID-19 outbreak clearly demonstrated the readiness of the European RIs to effectively respond to an emergency and ensure the scientific community access to the best cutting-edge technologies and facilities in order for them to work towards finding a solution to the problem.
This session will explore the ways in which Research Infrastructures at European and National level were able to react to the pandemics, the lessons learnt and the way forward.
Making Science Happen – a new ambition for Research Infrastructures
In April 2020, ESFRI published its White Paper ‘Making Science Happen – a new ambition for Research Infrastructures in the European Research Area’. This is the result of a 15-month reflection on the state of development of the European Research Infrastructure landscape and the ways to strengthen its relevance and impact on achieving broader societal goals.
The White Paper concludes that the organisation of the RI landscape needs optimisation to address the overall objectives of the new European Research Area. ESFRI considers that the following is needed for a stronger Europe:
This represents a vision of a fully consolidated European ecosystem of Research Infrastructures, offering cross-disciplinary services and enabling their users to both pursue the greatest of scientific challenges and generate new knowledge facilitating science-led economic, social and environmental transitions, improving the everyday life of European citizens. Achieving this vision requires an integrated approach bringing together research, innovation and education, exploiting the opportunities of advanced data science, underpinned by smart, coherent policies.
European Research Infrastructures for a smarter future – policy panel
The European Research Area (ERA) was launched by the European Commission in 2000, with the idea of developing attractive opportunities for researchers within Europe. It aimed to address the problem of fragmentation of the efforts carried out at European level, to mobilise resources and create a movement towards coherence of research policies in Europe.
As the quality of research infrastructures is decisive for our capacity to deliver scientific breakthroughs and to foster innovation, one of the key initial objectives was to develop a European approach to research infrastructure policy as a key element of the emerging European Research Area. This led to the establishment of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) in 2002. Since then, its work has radically transformed the availability of state-of-the-art facilities for researchers by making common investments easier at regional, national and European levels, reinforcing Europe’s global leadership in this field.
Given the broad agreement on the need to rapidly address the societal challenges facing Europe and the world, science has an important mission to lead and prepare the necessary economic, social and environmental transitions. The renewal of the European Research Area will be key to this mission.
Within the framework of ESFRI, the Commission, Member States and Associated Countries as well as the scientific community have reflected together on how to foster the further development of a European research infrastructure system capable of effectively supporting the enabling role of research and innovation for achieving Europe’s wider policy goals.
As a result of this reflection, the ESFRI White Paper suggests that the following is needed for a stronger Europe:
The Online Conference "European Research Infrastructures for a smarter future" was live-streamed.
The resulting videos are available in ESFRI YouTube channel.
The official Conference Conclusions document can be found here.
Download the presentations in the links below:
Opening Session - Evolution of the ERA (watch the Opening video)
Session 1. Research Infrastructures and the European strategic agendas – Green Deal and Energy Transition (watch Session 1 Video)
- Christos Arvanitidis, CEO, LIFEWATCH-ERIC
- Sverre Quale, Director, ECCSEL ERIC
- Tonci Tadić, Head of Croatian fusion unit, Ruđer Bošković Institute
- Jana Kolar, Executive Director, CERIC-ERIC
Session 2. Research Infrastructures for Regional Development (watch Session 2 Video)
- Karina Angelieva, Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Bulgaria
- Sanja Damjanovic, Minister of Science of Montenegro and Chairperson of the SEEIIST Steering Committee
- Karen Amram, Director for Europe & International foresight, CEA Technology Research Unit, Chair of the HIGH LEVEL FORUM - Grenoble Innovation Campus
- István Szabó,Vice-President for Science and International Affairs, National Research, Development & Innovation Office, Hungary
- Markus Dettenhofer, CEO, CEITEC, Czech Republic
- Luciano Catani, Senior Expert, Department of Research, Ministry of University and Research, Italy
Session 3. Research Infrastructures in the fight against COVID-19 (watch Session 3 Video)
- Jean-Louis Romette, Universite Aix Marseille, European Virus Archive
- Antonio Andreu, Scientific Director, EATRIS
- Niklas Blomberg, Director, ELIXIR
- Caterina Biscari Director, ALBA Synchrotron, LEAPS Chair
Session 4. Making Science Happen – a new ambition for Research Infrastructures (watch Session 4 Video)
- Jan Hrusak, ESFRI Chair
- John Womersley, Director General at European Spallation Source ERIC, Chair of the ERIC Forum
- Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President of the Club of Rome, Chair of the Expert group on the economic and societal impact of R&I
- Giorgio Rossi, Università degli Studi di Milano Statale, EOSC Governing Board Member
- David Bohmert, Secretary General, CESAER
- Tome Antičić, State Secretary for Science and Education, Croatia
- Jure Gašparič, State Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, Slovenia
- Jose Paulo Esperanca, Vice-President, Foundation for Science and Technology, Portugal
- Dietrich Nelle, Deputy Head of Directorate-General 1 “Policy Issues and Strategies; Coordination”, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany
- Václav Velčovský, Deputy Minister for EU Affairs and European Structural and Investment Funds, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Czech Republic