A Working Group (led by Carmen Andrade, Spain) studied this issue during the spring and summer of 2008. They proposed a clear definition to differentiate between distributed facilities and networks of existing research infrastructures. This definition highlights in particular that a European distributed infrastructure is a singular research infrastructure, having a unique name and legal status, director or board of directors, management structure, strategy and development plan, access point for users, annual report and fiscal address, although its research facilities have multiple sites.
A European distributed infrastructure must have a pan-European interest, ie, unique laboratories or facilities rending services for the efficient execution, with critical mass, of top-level Community research, ensuring open access to all interested, creating a substantial added value with respect to facilities with a more limited scope.
The ESFRI Working Group produced a report () in summer 2008.