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European Roadmap on Research Infrastructures Launched

Food security, river health, the effects of aerosols on climate and an upgrade to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN are among six new science projects and two other research infrastructures recommended for European-wide funding in a new report.

The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) seeks to ensure a coordinated approach to investment in large scale research facilities across the continent. The 2016 Roadmap published today was developed with significant UK advice and identifies new Research Infrastructures (RI) of pan-European interest corresponding to the long term needs of the European research communities, covering all scientific areas, regardless of possible location.

“The future prosperity of Europe, in an increasingly competitive, globalised and knowledge-based economy, depends upon fully exploiting the continent’s potential for scientific and technological innovation,” ESFRI chairman Professor John Womersley said.

“And this cutting edge research increasingly requires investments that exceed the capacity of any individual European country. ESFRI’s role is to ensure a coherent, strategy-led approach across Europe.”

Professor Womersley, the chief executive of the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council, said the 2016 roadmap built on previous versions from 2006, 2008 and 2010.

“In addition to 15 ongoing projects identified in earlier years, we have included eight new research infrastructures that fill in important gaps in the European science landscape,” Professor Womersley said.

Details of the process used to identify the highest priority projects, and a full listing of recommended projects, are included in the Roadmap report.

Professor Womersley said it was important to note that inclusion in the Roadmap formed scientific advice to governments, and was not a guarantee of future funding.

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Further information

Media Contact in the UK:
Jake Gilmore
Tel: 07970994586 or email: jake.gilmore@stfc.ac.uk

Notes to editors

  1. The full report is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/research/infrastructures/index_en.cfm?pg=esfri

  2. On 10 March 2016, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) presented the 2016 ESFRI Roadmap on Research Infrastructures during a one-day conference in Amsterdam. http://www.esfri.eu/workshops/roadmap-2016-launch-event The Roadmap consists of 21 'ESFRI Projects': research infrastructures in development phase and 29 ‘ESFRI Landmarks’: research infrastructures that have reached the implementation phase or have been successfully completed.

    The new projects on the Roadmap will help push the boundaries of science in such areas as solar astronomy, particle physics, cultural heritage, atmospheric studies, plant phenomics and environmental research on river-sea systems.

    The UK is a key player in almost all of the projects on the list and a number of them already have a substantial presence in the UK, such as the Square Kilometre Array (Jodrell Bank, Manchester), and ELIXIR (Cambridge), European Social Survey (London) and INSTRUCT (Oxford). The UK has already committed to investing in such projects as ESS, XFEL and ILL 20/20 projects which will give UK scientists access to some of the most advanced research facilities in the world.

    The Roadmap highlights the strong socio-economic impact of research infrastructures as well as their potential to generate innovation through collaboration with industrial partners.

  3. ESFRI, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures, is a strategic instrument to develop the scientific integration of Europe and to strengthen its international outreach. The competitive and open access to high quality Research Infrastructures supports and benchmarks the quality of the activities of European scientists, and attracts the best researchers from around the world.

    ESFRI identifies research facilities of pan-European importance that are necessary to strengthen scientific excellence and competitiveness in the EU. These facilities are of such a magnitude that they cannot be provided at national level: large telescopes, particle accelerators, neutrino detectors, biobanks, large data facilities for Humanities research, etc.

  4. About the ESFRI Roadmaps

    The ESFRI Roadmaps reflect the long-term needs of the European research community and serve as a tool for European governments and research funding bodies. The EU strives for high-quality research facilities that are accessible to all top researchers to enable the scientific world to realise its full potential. http://www.ec.europa.eu/research/esfri, www.esfri.eu

    Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK’s seven Research Councils. Our collective ambition is to ensure the UK remains the best place in the world to do research, innovate and grow business. The Research Councils are central to delivering research and innovation for economic growth and societal impact. Together, we invest £3 billion in research each year, covering all disciplines and sectors, to meet tomorrow’s challenges today. Our investments create new knowledge through: funding research excellence; responding to society’s challenges; developing skills, leadership and infrastructure; and leading the UK’s research direction. We drive innovation through: creating environments and brokering partnerships; co-delivering research and innovation with over 2,500 businesses, 1,000 of which are SMEs; and providing intelligence for policy making. Find out more about our work at www.rcuk.ac.uk.

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