Research infrastructures play an increasingly important role in the advancement of knowledge and technology. They are a key instrument in bringing together a wide diversity of stakeholders to look for solutions to many of the problems society is facing today. They offer unique research services to users from different countries, they attract young people to science, and they help structure the scientific communities.
Europe is growing very quickly, not only in size, but also in diversity and complexity. More than ever, even if Member States remain central in the development and financing of infrastructures, Europe needs a common policy on research infrastructures. This is especially important if it is to fully realise the benefits of the European Research Area which will contribute to quality of life and wealth creation.
A step towards better planning of research infrastructures at European level has been achieved with the creation of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) and the establishment of a roadmap identifying European-scale infrastructures needed in the various scientific fields. The construction cost of all projects on the ESFRI roadmap totals some 14 billion euro, indicating that research infrastructures of pan-European interest will need not only the mobilisation of national, private and other sources of funding but also agreements on the legal and management structures to enable the creation of adequate partnerships.
Research infrastructures are becoming more and more diverse and not necessarily single-sited large instruments. Many are of a distributed nature, composed of various elements interconnected via electronic infrastructures, based on high speed networks and grid technologies. At the same time, more and more research infrastructures require cooperation at global level to respond to global needs and to their high complexity and costs.
|Challenge 1: A changing landscape||J.M. Gago, Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, Portugal|
|Challenge 2: A common strategy for Europe||J. Wood, Chair of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures Talk|
|Challenge 3: Links between the Research Infrastructures actors||I. Mattaj, Director General, European Molecular Biology Laboratory Talk|
|Challenge 4: The best governance models||B. Brumme-Bothe, Director General, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany|
|Challenge 5: An international dimension||K. Sibal, Minister for Science and Technology, India|
|- An American perspective||Recorded message by R. Orbach, Undersecretary of State, Department of Energy, USA|