The ESFRI roadmap, updated periodically, identifies the needs of the European scientific community in terms of research infrastructures. However, inclusion in the ESFRI roadmap does not guarantee that these needed infrastructures will be built. Before proceeding with the construction and/or implementation of the identified infrastructures, many preliminary decisions need to be taken with respect to issues such as the identification of funders, the financial plan for sustainability, the governance by involved stakeholders, the site and legal form of the managing organisation (and of the research infrastructure, if different), the architecture and the service policies. The aim of this activity is to provide catalytic and leveraging support for the preparatory phase leading to the construction of new research infrastructures or major upgrades of existing ones.Scope:
The preparatory phase aims at bringing the project for the new or upgraded research infrastructure identified in the ESFRI roadmap to the level of legal, financial, and, where applicable, technical maturity required for implementing it.
Proposal consortia should involve all the stakeholders necessary to move the project forward, to take the decisions, and to make the financial commitments, before construction can start (e.g. national/regional ministries/governments, research councils, funding agencies, in particular, but not limited to, from the countries that have already declared their commitment in the application to ESFRI). Appropriate contacts with ministries and decision-makers should be continuously reinforced, thus further strengthening the consortia. Operators of research facilities, research centres, universities, and industry may also be involved whenever appropriate. Technical work should be carried out when necessary to complete the final technical design, providing a sound technical base for establishing a cost baseline and detailed financial planning. The financial needs of the project should be mapped out to the extent necessary for funding agencies to establish their own medium- and long-term financial planning.
The preparation of the legal and financial agreements (including site, governance, internal rules, financing of the new research infrastructures) is one of the main activities and deliverables and should be finalised before the end of the project (e.g., through the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding).
The detailed list of activities that can be included in a preparatory phase proposal is given in part A of the section “Specific features for Research Infrastructures”.
Proposals will address research infrastructures which enter the ESFRI roadmap in 2016 and that are willing to set up a pan-European governance and legal structure (e.g. in the form of an ERIC or any other suitable structures).
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 4 million would allow this challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.Expected Impact:
Proposals will raise the technical, legal and financial maturity of projects for new or upgraded research infrastructures to the level required to enable the construction work to start.