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Submitted by
Nicolas Villacorta
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Academic/research institution
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres e.V.
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Large (250 or more)
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Key Messages for the Research Infrastructures Programme in the Proposal of “Horizon Europe”

Recommendations from Centres of the Helmholtz Association Operating Research Infrastructures

An adequate level of funding and a more efficient coordination is needed for Europe to continue developing its world leadership in the area of Research Infrastructures (RI) and fully exploit the innovation potential of many research areas. Therefore we ask for the RI programme in Horizon Europe:

• Increase the budget for RI to at least €5 bn. The growing number of European RI, the evolution of their services, including compliance with FAIR principles in data management need substantial EU funding. Only this way true European added value that goes beyond national interests is generated making RI accessible to all researchers in Europe and beyond.

• Reduce the fragmentation of RI in Europe and ensure their world-leadership through i) better coordination and continuous adaptation of services to user demands in European and national RI, ii) fostering the innovation potential of RI and iii) stronger focus on the collaboration of national RI in the EU landscape with a better connection to ESFRI using RI programmes and clusters.

• Implement a common funding approach of standardised trans-national access (TNA) primarily through EC-funded TNA projects that directly support access and service to researchers of MS which do not have access to RI or fewer resources. Co-funding should only be introduced in exceptional cases where MS are explicitly committed to provide funding for TNA.

The total capital of EU RI is estimated at €100 bn. (EC census of 2008), where €9 bn. are needed for running costs and €1 bn. for major up-grades every year. These costs are mainly covered by MS and do not include the investment needed to implement FAIR-compliant data management. The current proposal for Horizon Europe only covers 3,8 % of the yearly running costs, provided that these costs were eligible. Horizon 2020 has shown that a significant budget increase is needed: Only 52 of the 120 eligible proposals above threshold submitted to support trans-national access (topics INFRAIA from 2014 to 2017) have received funding. Moreover, in the whole RI programme (2014-2017), only 199 proposals of 433 above threshold were funded, resulting in a funding gap of €1,15 bn. Increasing the budget to at least €5 bn. is needed to fully exploit the contribution of RI to excellence science, the support of the global challenges and industrial competitiveness pillar and their role as a pre-requisite to reach competitive industrial applications.

Please have a look at the attached document for further facts underpinning these recommendations.

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