An EU forum has identified 35 projects for building large-scale European research infrastructures. These facilities are expected to become international ‘talent and foreign brains’ pools.
The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) has published its first road map for new European research infrastructures. After two years of negotiations and consultation with high-level European and international experts and representatives from member states’ ministries of research, 35 large-scale infrastructure projects, which a sufficient number of member states are ready to support, have been identified.
for infrastructures range from a research icebreaker vessel for marine research to next-generation radio telescope or European social survey monitoring long-term changes in social values throughout Europe. Seven key research areas covered are: environmental sciences; energy; materials sciences; astrophysics, astronomy, particle and nuclear physics; biomedical and life sciences; social sciences and the humanities; computation and data treatment.
These projects are currently at various stages of development, but the main issue is that in order for these research infrastructures to become world-class, they need more funding than can be provided by one member state. The 35 projects that have been identified by ESFRI have been agreed upon by member states. Now, “member states who have already initiated some of these projects are calling for others to join in,” explained John Wood, the chairman of ESFRI, adding that “the decision [on what to fund] has to be taken by the member states as they are going to pcontribute most of the money”.
Some €14 billion are needed to make all 35 projects to come true. So far, the EU has, through the FP6, funded only existing research infrastructures. The upcoming FP7 will finance both existing and new ones with €1.7 billion from 2007-2013. The success of the 35 projects thus depends on member states willingness to support them.
All these projects will be pan-European, which means that every scientist has open access to these infrastructures. The only influence of a member state paying or not paying for the project is then on governance, the way the project is managed and the long-term vision for the next 20-30 years.
To read a full interview with the chairman of ESFRI, John Wood, click here.