A research infrastructure is an organization that enables the research community to use specific facilities, resources and services in order to accelerate scientific achievements and promote sustainable research.
To put science at the heart of societal and economic development, we need to devise strategies to push the limits of science in order to promote innovation, tackle societal challenges and deliver big results.
In Europe, one such strategy is the development of research infrastructures (RIs) – organizations that enable the research community to use specific facilities, resources and services, thus fostering collaboration between scientists from different countries, economic sectors, research fields, and institutions.
Research infrastructures are an elegant solution to make science more effective and sustainable in the complex European backdrop of interactions among nation states. They enable an organized, fair and transparent system to share knowledge and resources, and in doing so, they contribute to the pooling of data, facilities and equipment, thereby avoiding unnecessary duplication of effort.
By making high-quality facilities, resources and services available to everyone, research infrastructures ensure that science is driven by excellence and not by the research capacity of individual countries, economic sectors, or institutions. They also ensure that this excellence is aimed at solving bottlenecks, pushing forward the frontiers of scientific disciplines, and enabling transformative technological development.
With the goal of elevating science across the globe, European research infrastructures include members and partners from other countries and regions and span over different research fields, including Biological and Medical Sciences, Material Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities, Environmental Sciences, Energy and Astronomy.
They are strongly supported by the European Commission, which has set up the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), a strategic instrument to steer policy-making and facilitate the better use and development of research infrastructures.