Conference European Research Infrastructures for a smarter future

On 15th May 2020, a virtual international conference on the research infrastructures, titled “European research infrastructures for a smarter future“, was held under the auspices of the Croatian Presidency of the EU Council. The event facilitated strategic debates of research infrastructure stakeholders and policy-makers on the role and mission of research infrastructures in the post-2020 European Research Area. Part of the conference also addressed the topic of research infrastructures response to Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is my firm believe, that only if we build an integrated and interoperable research infrastructures ecosystem, we will enhance our ability to react on any future crisis, we will accelerate the post-crisis recovery, and will broaden the basis for sustainable competitiveness and societal welfare,” said during the conference ESFRI Chair Jan Hrušák from the J. Heyrovsky Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

Research infrastructures for a smarter future

In 2020, the EU commemorates the 20th anniversary the European Research Area (ERA) concept, a unified area open to the world, in which scientific knowledge, technology and researchers circulate freely. Therefore, EU Member States – in cooperation with the European Commission – overview achievements in the ERA reached so far, evaluate the ERA current state-of-play in terms of the ERA’s strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities, and debate the ERA future development in the course of the next multiannual financial framework 2021+. Research infrastructures are one of the key ERA priority areas. The ESFRI included all the major priorities, which shall be addressed by European research infrastructure stakeholders in post-2020, in the „ESFRI White Paper 2020: Making Science Happen – A New Ambition for Research Infrastructures in the European Research Area“.

Research infrastructures as a catalyst for fulfilling key European policies

Following the opening interventions, individual conference programme sections focused on debating synergies between research infrastructure and other EU sectorial policies, as well as discussion on how research infrastructures contribute to address the SARS-CoV-2 / Covid-19 pandemic. ESFRI has put efforts in helping to coordinate actions of both European and national research infrastructures for the development of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines, as well as the analysis of socioeconomic impacts of implemented confinement measures. All the services provided to user communities are communicated via a dedicated ESFRI website.

The conference conclusions were summarised by the final policy panel, participated by the leading European research infrastructure policy-makers.

The Croatian EU Council Presidency conference was the most important event organised on research infrastructures in Europe during the 1st half of 2020. The conference conclusions will feed as an input into the new ERA narrative for the post-2020 period.

Photo: Czech BioImaging, Pexels Photo, Esfri Smarter Future Event Banners