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Research and innovation

Aims for the long-term sustainability of Research Infrastructures

These challenges and potential measures were identified in the staff working document 2017 on long-term sustainability of Research Infrastructures.

  • synchronising national research infrastructures roadmaps and their budgets
  • making research infrastructures available more broadly by establishing cross-border access schemes
  • launching large-scale pilots involving research infrastructures and industry
  • exploiting the data produced by European research infrastructures in a more strategic way
  • putting in place effective governance mechanisms at European level
  • finding ways to increasingly and more efficiently use the European Structural Investment Funds, the European Fund for Strategic Investments, and the InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators programme for developing research infrastructures
  • promoting the international outreach of research infrastructures and using them as flagships for European science policy


Large-scale European and global single-site facilities were established as intergovernmental organisations from the 1950s to the 1970s.

The Research Infrastructure landscape has changed drastically since then.

New societal challenges, increasing complexity and cost of infrastructures, emergence of highly distributed infrastructures, big data and related ICT needs have contributed to this change. It is reflected in European Strategy Forum on Research Infrasturctures (ESFRI)roadmap.

Expert group to assess ESFRI projects

The Commission appointed a high-level assessment expert group to develop a methodology to assess the progress of ESFRI projects.

This methodology has been adapted by the ESFRI to evaluate the maturity of new  ESFRI projects and develop a lifecycle approach for research infrastructures.

Consultations and workshops

In December 2015 the European Commission launched a targeted consultation on the long-term sustainability of pan-European research infrastructures.

The purpose was to identify trends and possible measures that could be implemented at regional, national and European level, to strengthen the sustainability of Research Infrastructures.

The results highlighted the need to strengthen the involvement of industry to develop credible business models as well as efficient governance models to develop research infrastructures. It is also necessary to look into the different existing funding schemes to ensure appropriate synergies and explore new solutions.

As a result of these consultations, the Commission organised a stakeholders' workshop on 25 November 2016 to discuss and validate the elements of the action plan. You can read more about the consulation and reports in the documents link below.