Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Preparatory Phase of new ESFRI projects and early phase support to ESFRI high strategic potential areas

Topic identifier: INFRADEV-02-2019-2020
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
CSA Coordination and support action
Opening date:
14 November 2018
Deadline: 20 March 2019 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Excellent Science
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

The ESFRI roadmap, updated periodically, identifies the needs of the European scientific community in terms of research infrastructures. However, inclusion in the ESFRI roadmap does not guarantee that these needed infrastructures will be built. Before proceeding with the construction and/or implementation of the identified infrastructures, many preliminary decisions need to be taken with respect to issues such as the identification of funders, the financial plan for sustainability, the governance by involved stakeholders, the site and legal form of the managing organisation (and of the research infrastructure, if different), the architecture and the service policies. The aim of this activity is to provide catalytic and leveraging support for the preparatory phase of ESFRI projects, and to new initiatives in areas of high strategic potential, leading to the construction of new research infrastructures or major upgrades of existing ones.


Following the updates of the ESFRI Roadmap[1], support under this work programme will be provided to:

(a) Preparatory Phase for new research infrastructure projects which enter the ESFRI Roadmap in 2018 (Coordination and Support actions)

The preparatory phase aims to bring the project for the new or upgraded research infrastructure identified in the ESFRI Roadmap to the level of legal, financial, and, where applicable, technical maturity required for implementing it.

Proposal consortia should involve all the stakeholders necessary to move the project forward, to take the decisions, and to make the financial commitments, before construction can start (including, but not limited to, national/regional ministries/governments, research councils or funding agencies from the countries that have already declared their commitment in the application to ESFRI). Appropriate contacts with ministries and decision-makers should be continuously reinforced, thus further strengthening the consortia. Operators of research facilities, research centres, universities, and industry may also be involved whenever appropriate. Technical work should be carried out when necessary to complete the final technical design, providing a sound technical base for establishing a cost baseline and detailed financial planning. The financial needs of the project should be mapped out to the extent necessary for funding agencies to establish their own medium- and long-term financial planning. Societal and economic benefits of the infrastructure should be analysed to carry out a Cost-benefit analysis[2].

The preparation of the legal and financial agreements (including site, governance, internal rules, financing of the new research infrastructures) is one of the main activities and deliverables and should be finalised before the end of the project (e.g., through the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding).

The detailed list of activities that can be included in a preparatory phase proposal is given in part A of the section “Specific features for Research Infrastructures”. Proposals should explain any synergies and complementarities with previous or current EU grants.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 4 million would allow this challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

(b) Support to Early Phase for research infrastructure initiatives in high strategic potential areas of research identified in the ESFRI Roadmap 2018 (Research and Innovation Actions)

This support aims to foster the development of pan-European research infrastructures in areas demonstrating particularly high strategic potential for the European Research Area, as identified in the ESFRI Roadmap 2018.

To this extent activities will include the needed scientific, technical and conceptual work: e.g. the drafting of the new research infrastructure architecture, including the role of the central coordination and the different nodes; the planning of research services to be provided at international level as well as user strategy and access policy; plans to coherently integrate the new infrastructure into the European landscape of related facilities; the estimated budget for construction and operation; plans for an international governance structure, specification of ICT and e-Infrastructure needs. Proposals should explain any synergies and complementarities with previous or current EU grants.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 2 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

All proposals:

  • A landscape of first-class sustainable RIs and services, open to researchers, industry, and other interested groups such as policy makers and the public, is progressively established, which will impact on the acceleration of scientific discovery as well as on innovation and competitiveness.
  • The technical work carried out under this topic will contribute to strengthening the technological development capacity and effectiveness as well as the scientific performance, efficiency and attractiveness of the European Research Area.
  • Synergies and complementarity between the new and existing research infrastructures are developed, thus contributing to the development of a consistent European research infrastructures ecosystem.

(a) Preparatory Phase (Coordination and Support actions)

  • The decision making processes leading to the construction and/or implementation of the research infrastructures identified in the ESFRI Roadmap is triggered.
  • Funding bodies are able to take funding decisions and to conclude the legal agreements necessary for the construction of new research infrastructures.

(b) Support to Early Phase (Research and Innovation actions)

  • Policy bodies at the national, European and international level have a sound decision basis to establish long-term plans and roadmaps for new research infrastructures of pan-European or global interest.
  • New research infrastructure initiatives in areas of high strategic potential for the European Research Area are further developed and brought to maturity.
Delegation Exception Footnote:

It is expected that this topic will continue in 2020.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities
Clean Energy


[2]See for instance Guide to Cost-Benefit Analysis of Investment Projects for Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 (

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual.


2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme.


Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.


3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme. 
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

For the criterion Impact of Research and Innovation Actions the second sub-criterion will be substituted by:

  • Where relevant, any substantial impacts not mentioned in the work programme, that would enhance innovation capacity; create new market opportunities, strengthen competitiveness and growth of companies, address issues related to climate change or the environment, or bring other important benefits for society;

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (single-stage call): maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission. 

5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Coordination and Support Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Specific proposal template will be available in the submission system at the time of call opening.
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement

6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
Classified information
Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

For grants awarded under this topic capitalised and operating costs of ‘large research infrastructures’ as defined in the Article 6.2.D.4 of the Model Grant Agreement are not eligible.

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
4. Research infrastructures (including e-Infrastructures) WP 2018-20
18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.


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Submission Service

To access the Electronic Sumission Service, please click on the submission-button next to the type of action that corresponds to your proposal. You will then be asked to confirm your choice of the type of action and topic, as these cannot be changed in the submission system. Upon confirmation, you will be linked to the correct entry point.

To access existing draft proposals for this topic, please login to the Participant Portal and select the My Proposals page of the My Area section.

Type of Action Coordination & support action [CSA]
Topic Preparatory Phase of new ESFRI projects and early phase support to ESFRI high strategic potential areas - INFRADEV-02-2019-2020
Type of Action Research and Innovation action [RIA]
Topic Preparatory Phase of new ESFRI projects and early phase support to ESFRI high strategic potential areas - INFRADEV-02-2019-2020
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