ESFRI Inspiring Excellence: Research Infrastructures and the Europe 2020 Strategy

ESFRI has been working since 2002 to spur the development, prioritisation and sustainable operation of valuable new and existing RIs; and it is working now to revise its ‘Roadmap’ of future work.

In this report, ESFRI now proposes a 7-point vision for RIs and Europe 2020:

1. By 2020, the European Research Area will have full availability of the needed world-class, top-quality research infrastructures to inspire researchers in every major discipline. The ESFRI Roadmap prioritises 44 projects at a cost of about €20 billion, and by 2015 we expect 60% of those to be launched or completed.

2. RIs in Europe will serve as high-performance platforms for cooperation among universities, enterprises and research institutes. Special attention should be paid to nurturing the SMEs that supply them, collaborate with them, or spin-off from them

3. Effective cooperation among EU, national and regional funders will provide a stable base for building, maintaining and operating RIs. To that end, EU institutions should provide more funding for operation and maintenance, as well as planning and implementation.

4. A strong, internationally benchmarked system of governance – both within the RIs and among the national and EU organisations planning them – ensures high-quality results. For this we need an EU-level initiative for ‘European Research Area Institutional Excellence’, with criteria to measure quality and indicate priorities.

5. The network of RIs across Europe strengthens our human capital base – providing world-class training for a new generation of researchers and engineers, and promoting mobility of the people and ideas embodied in the ‘Fifth Freedom’. To achieve this mobility, more researchers and technicians should be encouraged to include RI work in their careers; and current barriers to mobility must be dismantled.

6. RIs provide the means and impetus to develop a truly sustainable e-infrastructure to store, share and protect digital data. This permits Europe to lead the development of e-science. This will come at a cost – but expense can be managed by developing effective, international standards for preserving and allowing access to the data.

7. The grand challenges of our time require a global response: this requires that RIs in Europe are open to the world and that Europe speaks with one voice in its international negotiations for the establishment of new RIs and in the exploitation of existing ones.



Publication Year


Geographical focus
  • Albania
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Croatia
  • Europe
  • Kosovo*
  • Montenegro
  • Republic of North Macedonia
  • Serbia

Entry created by Gabriela Thomasova on July 21, 2011
Modified on July 21, 2011