Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Fast track to the implementation of an ESFRI research infrastructure

Topic identifier: INFRADEV-04-2019
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
16 October 2018
Deadline: 29 January 2019 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Excellent Science
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Updates
  • 25 July 2018 00:01

    A new topic, INFRADEV-04-2019, has been included in this Work Programme to provide a crucial support to an ESFRI Infrastructure.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

The transition from construction to full operation of a new pan-European research infrastructure, can be slowed down by the difficulties to align the funding cycles of the different countries committed to contribute to its implementation. A significant EU contribution to support the preparation for full operation could trigger the alignment and accelerate the research infrastructure transition from the implementation to full operational phase and enhance its sustainability.


This topic aims to accelerate the implementation and initial operation (start-up phase) of the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) project. This ESFRI project is the best example of the synergetic use of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), Horizon 2020 support and national funding for the construction and deployment of a research infrastructure. The Horizon 2020 support should complement investments coming from ESIF in order to expand the scope and impact of both funds in terms of scientific excellence and regional socio-economic development.

The support should foster the transformation of ELI from a construction project to a fully operational European user facility and the participation of all interested countries in the establishment of a legal entity in charge of the operation of ELI, which will most likely take the form of an European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC). Proposals would have to demonstrate the involvement of the three ELI pillars and at least the other four ELI-DC (Delivery Consortium) members as well as the relations with other relevant laser initiatives in Europe, and should cover at least the following dimensions:

  • Joint ramping-up of the operation of ELI, realistically compatible with the users’ demands and with the related operational resources.
  • Further definition of service level agreements and business/funding plans supporting a joint sustainable cost model based on an operational staffing optimisation.
  • Joint development of associated services that should be used by scientists and industries and of a user base together with associated expected revenues for ensuring sustainable operations after the 'start-up' phase.
  • Development of joint activities and mutual exchanges with relevant laser initiatives.
  • Enlargement of the ELI membership.
  • Limited pilots of access provision for testing and improving user services to increase reliability and create trust.
  • Outreach and technology transfer activities.

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 20 million would allow this challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

This activity will:

  • contribute to providing Europe with a comprehensive landscape of sustainable Research Infrastructures helping to respond to challenges in science, industry and society;
  • strengthen the ERA position and role in the global research environment;
  • reinforce the partnership between the Commission, Member States, Associated Countries and relevant stakeholders in establishing pan-European research infrastructures and in successfully operating them;
  • enable researchers to address societal challenges with a global dimension;
  • foster capacity-building and Research Infrastructure human capital development in targeted/relevant regions.
  • ensure that the socio-economic impact of investments in research infrastructures from the European Structural and Investment Funds is enhanced.
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):

Research and Innovation Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement

6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
Classified information

For grants awarded under this topic eligible costs may take form of unit costs for providing trans-national access to research infrastructure as defined in the Commission Decision C(2013)8199 of 10 December 2013.

For grants awarded under this topic beneficiaries being ‘access providers’ must provide virtual access to research infrastructures or installations. The respective options of Article 16.2 and Article 16.3 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

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 the depreciation costs of equipment, infrastructure or other assets for providing trans-national or virtual access to research infrastructure will be ineligible costs. The respective option of Art. 6.2.D.2 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

For grants awarded under this topic beneficiaries being ‘access providers’ must provide access to research infrastructures or installations. The respective options of Article 16.1, Article 16.3, Article 25.5 and Article 31.6 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

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

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

The submission system is planned to be opened on the date stated on the topic header.

Type of Action Research and Innovation action [RIA]
Topic Fast track to the implementation of an ESFRI research infrastructure - INFRADEV-04-2019
Guidance on proposal submission: H2020 online manual
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