NWO, RVO, and the European Commission offer opportunities to fund research infrastructure. NWO instruments pay for the acquisition and development of equipment, RVO allows you to account for the development and depreciation costs, while EU instruments pay for sharing of facilities and instruments with researchers internationally. This section discusses the research infrastructure opportunities in Europe.
Research infrastructure in Horizon Europe
Within Horizon Europe the Research Infrastructures (RI) Programme has the objective to empower Europe through world-class and accessible research infrastructures, as part of an integrated European research and technology infrastructures landscape. Research infrastructures and technology infrastructures are considered as crucial enablers of research and technological innovation and drivers of multidisciplinary and data-intensive science. Along previous European Framework Programmes a significant contribution towards a more efficient, open and effective use of national research infrastructures has been made and has developed, with the support of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI, see below), a coherent and strategy-led approach to policy making and national investments on pan-European research infrastructures. While Member States remain central in the development and financing of public Research Infrastructures, meaning that Research Infrastructures Programme’s objective is not to finance the building of infrastructures or labs, the European Union and ESFRI play a catalysing and leveraging role in driving the integration between national efforts.
The Programme has a relevant focus on Open Science, and in this direction the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) initiative is willing to offer a horizontal, pan-European, inter-operable, federated ecosystem of standards, technologies and services which will enable and enhance seamless access and reliable re-use of research outputs, i.e. data, SW and other digital objects, supporting the whole research data life-cycle from discovery and mining to analysis, storage and management.
The Research Infrastructures Work Programme is also supporting the development of innovative cutting-edge scientific instrumentation, software and methods.
ESFRI, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures, is an instrument to develop the scientific integration of Europe and to strengthen its international outreach. It was established in 2002, with a mandate from the EU Council to support a coherent and strategy-led approach to policy-making on research infrastructures in Europe, and to facilitate multilateral initiatives leading to the better use and development of research infrastructures. In 2006 ESFRI published its first roadmap for the construction and development of the next generation of pan-European research infrastructures. The roadmap was then updated in 2008, 2010, 2016 and 2018, to include projects and landmarks that intend to foster European leadership across a broad range of scientific fields. ESFRI has contributed to the creation of the European Charter for Access to Research Infrastructures.
The Forum is determined to sustain the momentum in the implementation of the projects on the Roadmap, to expand the outreach to those scientific fields which are still evolving their conceptual approach in this direction, and to increase the involvement of all Countries by developing ad-hoc Regional policies. The work with ESFRI until 2020 triggered the development of 55 European research infrastructures, of which 37 have already been implemented, across all fields of science, mobilising close to €20 billion in investments.