The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has made significant investments in the construction and operationalisation of unique research infrastructures in several science and technology domains. Many of these facilities are instrumental in accomplishing JRC’s mission. They also allow JRC staff to maintain and develop their scientific competence, promote cooperation with European and international partners, and offer training and education.
The JRC maintains 37 physical research infrastructures suitable for opening access to external users in the nuclear and radiological (Euratom Laboratories) fields, chemistry, biosciences/life sciences, physical sciences and ICT. They are located at our sites in Ispra (Italy), Geel (Belgium), Karlsruhe (Germany) and Petten (The Netherlands). These infrastructures (i.e. laboratories) are fit for experimental work generating data for users’ analyses.
The JRC has offered access to research facilities within various forms of collaboration and actions, including indirect actions funded by the Commission’s Directorate-General Research and Innovation in its Framework Programmes for research. These activities have demonstrated that there is potential demand by third parties to access JRC research infrastructures and the need to ensure a fair and transparent method for allocating access.
The JRC Strategy 2030 foresees opening up our research infrastructure to external use, granted on the basis of open calls with different modes of access to ensure transparency and fairness, and to address different research and industrial requirements.
The main objectives of opening up access of JRC physical research infrastructures are to:
- Establish a fair, clear and transparent procedure for giving access of external users to JRC physical research infrastructures.
- Maximise the use to the full potential of JRC physical research infrastructures in collaboration with researchers and industry from EU Member States, candidate countries and countries associated to the EU Research Programme Horizon 2020.
3. Benefits to users
Benefits of opening up JRC research infrastructures are multi-fold; granting access fulfils scientific needs and provides benefit to the research of external users accessing our facilities. These can be summarised as follows:
- Access to JRC research infrastructures based on open calls for competitive access will allow European users not traditionally engaged with the JRC to have access through a transparent procedure. Research infrastructures attract talent and stimulate innovation and development. Enabling access to the JRC research infrastructures will enhance competitiveness, through pre- and co-normative research, and will contribute in bridging the gap from research to industry, e.g. through the setting up of demonstration projects for product validation.
- Access of users to JRC research infrastructures contributes to the dissemination of knowledge, improves related methods and skills, provides education and training and fosters collaboration at European level.
- Granting access within a structured framework will maximise the return on tax-payer funded investment that the JRC has made on its research infrastructures, making them available to external users in view of the limited resources now existing in Europe.
4. Modes of access
Access to the JRC research infrastructures will be provided according to two different modes: relevance-driven and market-driven.
The JRC will open its non-nuclear research infrastructures to researchers and organisations from EU Member States, candidate countries and countries associated to the EU Research Programme Horizon 2020.
The JRC will open its nuclear research infrastructures to researchers and organisations from EU Member States, candidate countries (on the conditions established in the relevant agreement or decision) and countries associated to the Euratom Research Programme Horizon 2020. The scope of the work for nuclear research infrastructures must be in line with JRC priorities for direct actions as defined in Annex I of Council Regulation (EURATOM) No 1314/2013.