Research Infrastructures

Research Infrastructures (RIs) are facilities that provide resources and services for the research communities to conduct research and foster innovation in their fields.

They cover a range of research fields from engineering and social sciences to genomics and astronomy and can be single-sited (a single resource at a single location), distributed (a network of distributed resources) or virtual (the service is provided electronically). Research infrastructures can be also used beyond research e.g. for education or public services and are crucial for fostering innovation.

These include major equipment or sets of instruments, knowledge-related facilities such as collections, archives or scientific data infrastructures, computing systems, communication networks.

The importance of RIs are undisputable as they play a vital strategic role in the advancement and exploitation of knowledge and technology. Not only are they necessary to the structuring of the scientific community – offering high quality research services, networking facilities, attracting young people to science – they also aid in the construction of an efficient research and innovation environment.

The European Commission defines, evaluates and implements strategies and tools to provide Europe with world-class sustainable Research Infrastructures. The Commission does this while cooperating closely with EU countries and countries associated to Horizon 2020. It also ensures that these research infrastructures are open and accessible to all researchers in Europe and beyond.

The key aims are, to:

  • reduce fragmentation of the research and innovation ecosystem
  • avoid duplication of effort
  • better coordinate the development and use of Research Infrastructures
  • establish strategies for new pan-European, well-established intergovernmental or national Research Infrastructures
  • join forces internationally to construct and run large, complex or expensive infrastructures, respond to global challenges and/or foster combining skills, data and efforts of the world's best scientists
  • foster the innovation potential of Research Infrastructures by making industry more aware of opportunities offered to improve their products and by the co-development of advanced technologies use Research Infrastructures for science diplomacy - using science collaboration to address common problems and build partnerships internationally

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