Although some countries invest heavily in RIs, none can provide all the required state-of-the-art facilities on a national basis. In addition, in the smaller European Member States, the high investment and operational costs against small local demand prevent the construction and operation of necessary RIs. Present limits on national and institutional budgets restrict the flexibility and capability of players to respond to the growing demand. Today, an EU-wide effort is needed to foster capacity-building in Europe.
The European Strategic Forum for Research Infrastructures - ESFRI, was established in April 2002 to support a coherent approach to policy-making on Research Infrastructures in Europe. It brings together representatives of EU Member States and Associated States, appointed by Ministers in Charge of Research, and one representative of the European Commission.
The role of ESFRI is to support a coherent approach to policy-making on RIs in Europe and to act as an incubator for international negotiations on concrete initiatives. ESFRI has developed a strategic roadmap for Europe in the field of Research Infrastructures. The first Roadmap was presented in October 2006. It was drawn up following wide stakeholder consultation. The ESFRI Roadmap has been updated in 2008 and in 2010.
The e-Infrastructure Reflection Group is a policy-oriented reflection group, composed of appointed delegates from the research ministries of the Member States. The e-IRG was founded to define and recommend policies and best practices for the easy and cost-effective shared use of distributed electronic resources across Europe, focusing on grid-computing, data storage, and networking resources. The group coordinates the introduction of a grid-based infrastructure for e-Science at European level.
The main objective of the e-IRG is to support – at political, advisory and monitoring levels – the creation of a policy and administrative framework for sharing electronic resources in Europe. The e-IRG produces white papers, roadmaps and recommendations, and analyses the future foundations of the European Knowledge Society.
The EIROforum is a partnership between eight large inter-governmental scientific research organisations that are responsible for the management of large international infrastructures and research programmes: CERN, EFDA-JET, EMBL, ESA, ESO, ESRF, European XFEL and ILL. EIROforum combines the resources, facilities and expertise of its member organisations in order to support European science in reaching its full potential. By cooperating on large-scale outreach activities, EIROforum communicates the importance of science and its fascinating aspects to a wide audience.
Science Europe is an association of Research Funding Organisations (RFO) and Research Performing Organisations (RPO) of Europe, based in Brussels. Science Europe was founded in 2011 to strengthen collaboration between Europe's national research organisations. It works with other European research organisations, such as the European Universities, the European Academies, the European Scientific Intergovernmental Organisations, to develop a coherent and inclusive European Research Area.
The European association of national Research Facilities - ERF has been initiated to promote cooperation between national large-scale research facilities in Europe. Among its associates are European laboratories that provide large facilities with neutrons, lasers, synchrotron light, ions and particles with open access to international scientific communities. The ERF aims at coordinating the development and openness of forefront facilities for European research and to open them to international competition.