Research Infrastructures


EC and EIROforum Work Plan

EIROforum aims to combine the resources, facilities and expertise of its member organisations to support European science reaching its full potential. It simplifies and facilitates interactions between the European Commission, other parts of the European Union, national governments, industry, science teachers, students and journalists.


Background on EIROforum

In 2002, 7 European organisations signed a collaboration agreement to form EIROforum in order to reinforce synergies among them. These are EFDA (European Fusion Development Agreement) and 6 high level European intergovernmental organisations, namely CERN (Centre Européen pour la Recherche Nucleaire), ESO (European Southern Observatory), EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory), ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility), ILL (Institut Laue–Langevin) and ESA (European Space Agency). They have been joined later by XFEL (X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility) so that there are now 8 EIROforum Members.

The EIROforum collaboration is based on a Charter, which was officially signed by the Directors of the partner organisations on 12 November 2002 in Brussels.

A primary goal of EIROforum is to play an active and constructive role in promoting the quality and impact of European Research. In particular the group constitutes a basis for effective, high-level interaction and coordination between the member organisations. It mobilises its substantial combined expertise in basic research and in the management of large international infrastructures, facilities and plants, for the benefit of European research and development. This is pursued by exploiting the existing intimate links between the partner organisations and their respective European research communities.

The European Commission strongly supported the set-up of EIROforum and in October 2003 signed a “Statement of Intent” with EIROforum to further develop the European Research Area. The two sides resolved to explore synergies and conduct joint activities, and pledged to engage in consultation with each other, arrange exchanges and secondment of experts, and to build on this collaboration by concluding further bilateral agreements. A renewed Statement of Intent (SoI) with EIROforum was subsequently signed on 24 June 2010, replacing the Statement of Intent of 27 October 2003 .

Such commitment was already reinforced by the ERA International Cooperation Communication of 24 September 2008 confirmed that "a strengthened partnership between the EC and European intergovernmental initiatives and research organisations, notably EIROforum and its individual members, can also make a significant contribution" to assure a "more coherent use of Member State and EC resources for international S&T cooperation to help to gather the critical mass needed to provide an effective response to policy challenges that are increasingly global".


Work Plan for the Implementation of the Statement of Intent between the EC and EIROforum organisations

On 06 May 2014, Director General Robert-Jan Smits and the EIROforum Council Chair Alvaro Gimenez co-signed the 2014-2015 Joint Work Plan for the implementation of the Statement of Intent between the EC and EIROforum. This signature is the finalization of a process that began after the signature of the mentioned Statement of Intent that sets a new baseline in terms of consolidating the relationship between the EC and EIROforum.

The 2014 Work Plan PDF icon identifies a number of areas in which to launch (or to continue working on) cooperative initiatives in order to maximize the positive outcome of synergies established amongst the EC and EIROforum. Such identified cooperation dimensions include research programming, human resources – training and mobility of researchers, Research Infrastructures, e-science and e-infrastructures, intellectual property and knowledge sharing, international cooperation inn research and, finally, science education and communication.

In May 2016, an updated version of the Work plan (PDF icon 221 KB) was signed by the EC and EIROforum. The next version is expected to be published in May 2018.