A new study has been added to the ESFRI library. The study 'Guidelines on Cost Estimation of Research Infrastructures'
is developed in the framework of the StR-ESFRI project (Support to Reinforce the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures), to provide a conceptual and methodological tool for cost estimation of Research Infrastructures (RIs) included (or willing to be) in the ESFRI Roadmap.
The ESFRI Roadmap contains indicative figures on the on the setup and operating costs of the Research Infrastructures, based on estimates provided by the ESFRI Projects and Landmarks. The previous methodology for collecting estimated cost data presented two significant challenges with results: cost categories were not uniformly represented by the RIs, and quoted values fluctuated inconsistently over time.
A discussion developed in the ESFRI Executive Board and in the ESFRI Forum on the need to elaborate a cost analysis for RIs that would be referenced to standard economic methods – e.g. adopting the discount cash-flow analysis for the full lifecycle of the RI, but with RI-specific figures that could be appropriate for the different kind of RIs and their funding schemes. The objective of the cost analysis is to give full transparent evidence of the required investment for the set-up and running resources for operation of the RIs, using state of the art financial units that are easily interpreted and communicated to the political and funding authorities.
Adoption and use of the cost analysis will strengthen the reliability of the cost information reported in the ESFRI Roadmap updates, and will provide solid reference values for the monitoring activities of ESFRI on the Projects and on the periodic update of the Landmarks status of the operational RIs.
The report provides a unified framework to gather data concerning costs along life cycle of RIs in a harmonized way. It illustrates general principles and suggests technical solutions when data seem not immediately available or difficult to estimate. It also takes into account the specificities of different typologies of RIs, which are active in different research domains and adopt different accounting systems.