EU-LIFE

Building and promoting Excellence in Life Sciences in Europe
Building and promoting Excellence in Life Sciences in Europe

Keep pushing forward the visibility of Small and Medium sized research infrastructures

(17th of May update)

EU-LIFE warmly thanks all the participants from The Guild, Yerun, EUA, LERU, EARTO, CTLS, Science Europe, CESAER, Helmholtz Association for this productive workshop on Research Infrastructures recognition and to the Czech Liaison Office in Brussels  for hosting us. We are looking forward to strengthen our collaborative work with these relevant partners.

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Following the call for action on the role of small and medium sized research infrastructures (SMRI) in Europe released in September 2018, EU-LIFE organizes a workshop bringing together relevant stakeholders representing various scientific areas on 10th of May in Brussels. The objective is to join forces for getting better recognition of these significant infrastructures.

Currently, the policy on research infrastructures in Europe focuses on developing panEuropean and global research infrastructures. This mainly involves the activities of European Strategy Forum on research Infrastructures (ESFRI), including ESFRI Roadmap projects and landmarks, and the long term sustainability of costly research infrastructures.

While ESFRI and global research infrastructures are essential for Europe, the current policies overlook a relevant aspect: the role of small- and medium-sized research infrastructures in the research and innovation ecosystem. In fact, more and more scientific disciplines depend on costly technologies and equipment of smaller scale. They provide essential, cutting-edge technological support to thousands of researchers on a day-to-day basis across Europe. Moreover, they develop and implement new technologies and train the next generation of scientists. This group of essential research infrastructures, generally termed “small and medium sized research infrastructures” (SMRIs), is however suffering from weak structural support at a European level and even at a national or regional level. 

The European Commission and other key players recognize the role of “non-ESFRI” research infrastructures and support them to a certain degree. However EU-LIFE is of the opinion that more can and should be done to promote visibility and support for SMRIs. One of the sticking points is setting up a proper definition that would clearly identify these infrastructures. Discussing a possible definition and establishing some core elements of SMRIs will be one of the main subject of this Workshop. A follow-up will be publish in EU-LIFE’s website.