EU Forum unveils strategic roadmap for European research infrastructures

October 20, 2006

Brussels, 19 October 2006

Details of the projects are in "European Research Infrastructures - 35 projects identified"
MEMO/06/384

Today the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) presented the first ever European Roadmap for Research infrastructures. The document presents 35 large-scale research infrastructures projects, identified by ESFRI as being of key importance for the development of science and innovation in Europe. The Roadmap will allow a common European approach to the development of such facilities, support the definition of priorities and aid the pooling of the significant financial resources needed for their development. Research infrastructures are large-scale facilities, major pieces of research equipment, sets of instruments, databases and networks that aid scientists in their work. Examples of such facilities in the Roadmap include large-scale laser systems, deep sea floor observatories, bio-banks and the European Extremely Large Telescope.

Congratulating ESFRI and its chairman Professor John Wood, European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik said: "Research infrastructures are a critical element of building research excellence in Europe. Not only can they support the work of European scientists, but world-class facilities attract the best scientific minds from around the world. We can't afford to have 25 separate approaches to such facilities and the work of ESFRI has been extremely important in providing a common European approach. This is the European Research Area in action."

The Roadmap identifies 35 research infrastructure projects at different stages of development and in 7 key research fields: Environmental Sciences; Energy; Materials Sciences; Astrophysics, Astronomy, Particle and Nuclear Physics; Biomedical and Life Sciences; Social Sciences and Humanities; Computation and Data Treatment. The efforts and resources needed to build and operate such large-scale, world-class infrastructures are generally well beyond single institutions or even countries. The roadmap will therefore allow a better maximisation of resources at European level to create and develop these facilities. Some support for Research Infrastructures will be available from the Seventh Research Framework Programme, which will predominantly be used in the preparation phase, to help set up the most appropriate legal organisation, and assist in the financial and construction planning.

The roadmap has been developed after an intensive two-year consultation and peer review process, involving over 1000 high level European and international experts. ESFRI itself is composed of senior representatives of Member States and leading European scientists. The roadmap builds on the "List of Opportunities" proposed in April 2005 (see IP/05/394 )

For more information see http://cordis.europa.eu/esfri/home.html

IP/06/1431 Date: 19/10/2006
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