Research Infrastructures


Commission Priorities

EU Member States have a central role in the development and financing of research infrastructures (RIs) as most are funded and run at national level. But effort is needed to avoid duplication of efforts, answer needs that a single country cannot handle and ensure a coherent approach on RI-policy in Europe. This is where the Commission comes in.


Research Infrastructures in Europe

Cooperating closely with Member States and Associated Countries, the European Commission defines, evaluates and implements strategies and tools for world-class European research infrastructures.

Europe is facing three main challenges: getting research closer to market, generating the very best science, and ensuring its rightful place in the international science community. This is why Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas has adopted open innovation, open science and open to the world as strategic priorities (the Three Os).

President Juncker also highlighted "Improving research infrastructure and making better use of research results" to boost the productivity of the European economy, in his mission letter to Commissioner Moedas.

The Commission implements EU funding for RIs and ensures that RIs effectively contribute to the priorities of the Three Os. In particular:

Open Science

  • Maximise research result through the open access to scientific publication and to research data
  • Promote the European Open Science Cloud
  • Support transnational access to research infrastructures
  • Develop ICT based e-infrastructures


Open Innovation

  • Foster innovation potential of research infrastructures
  • Facilitate access of SMEs to research infrastructures while respecting confidentiality
  • Stimulate investment towards sustainable research infrastructures


Open to the World

  • Promote the international outreach of research infrastructures
  • Contribute to a Framework for Global research infrastructures


The Commission translates these priorities in the following actions:

  • The Commission is a member of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI). The ESFRI received mandates from the EU Council to support policy-making on RIs. It develops roadmaps for strategic new pan-European RIs and follows-up on their implementation. The Commission is the secretariat of the ESFRI.
  • On proposal of the Commission, the Council adopted in 2009 a new legal framework for RIs, the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC). The ERICs are established by Commission Implementing Decisions.
  • The Commission implements EU funding under Horizon 2020 supporting the various development phases of RIs including those prioritised by the ESFRI.
  • The European Open Science Cloud promotes open access to scientific publications and research data. In addition, the European Charter for Access to Research Infrastructures sets out non-regulatory principles and guidelines on the access policy for RIs.
  • The Commission is a member of several global fora and initiatives, such as the Group of Senior Officials (GSO) on Global RIs. The GSO was established by the Carnegie Group of G7 Science Advisors and in 2013 drafted a Framework for Global RIs.
  • The Commission promotes synergies between complementary funding and financial instruments at EU level. There are opportunities available from the Investment Plan for Europe, the European Structural & Investment Funds and the European Investment Bank Group (InnovFIN under Horizon 2020) and others.