For the EU to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, state-of-the-art facilities are essential for Europe's researchers to stay at the forefront of research development.
Research infrastructures play a vital role in the advancement of knowledge and technology. Scientific progress would be impossible without state-of-the-art super-computers or, for instance, large-scale laser systems. Responding to challenges like climate change is also greatly helped by environmental research facilities such as deep-sea-floor observatories or icebreaker research vessels, to name only a few.
As the frontiers of research evolve and become more advanced, and as our technologies progress, research infrastructures are becoming increasingly complex and more expensive, often placing them beyond the reach of a single research group, region, nation or even continent. The sheer size of such projects (generally several hundred million euros for construction and tens of millions of euros for operation) requires a joint effort by several EU countries.
A major difficulty in setting up such research infrastructures between EU countries is the lack of an adequate legal framework allowing the creation of appropriate partnerships. Existing legal forms under national law do not fulfil the needs of these new European infrastructures. The same applies to legal forms under international or EU law.
It is in this context that the European Commission, responding to requests from EU countries and the scientific community, proposed a legal framework for a European research infrastructure (ERI) adapted to the needs of such facilities.
Amendment of ERIC regulation: On 2 December 2013, the Council adopted the Council Regulation EU n° 1261/2013 amending the Regulation EC 723-2009 concerning the ERIC. The participation of countries associated to the EU Research framework programmes in ERICs is now on the same footing as EU Member States. Their contributions to ERICs will be fully reflected in terms of membership and voting rights. The regulation will enter into force on the 26th December 2013.
Community legal framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) [1,34 Mb]
Council Regulation n° 723/2009, 25 June 2009
Council Regulation EU n° 1261/2013 amending the Regulation EC 723-2009 [704 Kb]
2 December 2013
Read more about existing legal forms:
Read more about identifying the Research Infrastructures needed in Europe in the next 10-20 years:
Further background documents: