05-06 February 2020, Brussels
The first ERIC Forum meeting of 2020 was held in Brussels on 5thand 6thFebruary 2020. It brought together more than 23 different ERIC and ERIC-to-be, as well as representatives from the European Commission (DG RTD), Ministries of Science, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), Research councils and more.
The meeting focused on various aspects, spanning the new governance model of the ERIC Forum, ERICs’ funding models and access to RIs, European Open Science Cloud’s sustainability, Horizon Europe missions and more. It was also an opportunity to discuss with the ERIC Forum’s stakeholders about the added value expected from the Forum.
The participation of external participants brought an additional value to the discussions considering their wide knowledge and different perspectives of the RIs and ERICs’ landscapes.
Tome Antičić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Science and Education of Croatia, defined the added value expected from the ERIC Forum as follow: ‘’The EU has a very large and very diverse number of research infrastructures. It is in fact quite difficult to coordinate them, to see where there could be synergies among them, to find mechanisms of funding them – including maintenance costs. The ERIC Forum could very much facilitate these issues, and hopefully it will have a more explicit role regarding that in the future.’’
Looking at the Croatian research environment, Mr. Antičić said: ‘’ERICs are a fantastic mechanism for the best Croatian researchers to work with the best facilities and with the best EU researchers. The transnational access has in fact significantly improved the quality of Croatian research, and the Croatian TNA facilities have greatly benefited from the influx and project money of top researchers from all around the world. Further, and larger, support for ERICs is definitely a priority for Croatia.’’
Journey to a permanent governance model of the ERIC Forum
In 2019, all ERICs contributed building a new governance of the ERIC Forum. The Rules of Procedures (RoP) for the implementation of the ERIC Forum Memorandum of Understanding was signed by all 18 established ERICs that took part in the meeting.
John Womersley, Director General at European Spallation Source ERIC was elected as the new Chair of the ERIC Forum, while Anton Ussi, Operations and Finance Director at EATRIS-ERIC will be the new Vice Chair. Their mandate will last one year.
The new Chair and vice Chair will be supported by three other members of the Executive Board, each representing a specific scientific cluster. The following have been selected based on a consensus nomination from the clusters:
- Franciska de Jong, Executive Director, CLARIN ERIC, for the social sciences and humanities cluster.
- Wolfgang Fecke, Director General, EU-OPENSCREEN, for the life sciences cluster.
- Juan Miguel González Aranda, Chief Technical Officer, LifeWatch ERIC, for the environment cluster.
Read more in this press release.
During the ERIC Forum meeting, the new chairs presented their vision, priorities and focus areas for their mandate. John Womersley discussed with the ERIC community participating in the meeting about the main issues of concern.
Research Infrastructures and Horizon Europe Missions
In preparation for the upcoming research and innovation framework programme Horizon Europe and the activities that will relate to each of its 5 Mission areas, some ERICs have presented their view on the mission area they can relate to and the potential contribution they can bring in that regard:
- CESSDA for the Adaptation to climate change including societal transformation: click here.
- BBMRI and EATRIS for Cancer: click here
- CERIC for Climate-neutral and smart cities: click here
- LifeWatch for the healthy oceans, seas coastal and inland waters: click here
- EMPHASIS for the soil health and food.
The ERIC Forum will explore jointly how ERICs can best support the missions.
The second day of the meeting, the progress of each work package within the ERIC Forum project was presented through an overview of past activities and the plan for 2020. Among other topics, the results of the surveys conducted within WP 3 to collect ERIC’s feedback on issues spanning financial reporting, budgeting, procurement, HR, insurance and more were presented. The next steps will be to build consensus on best practices that can contribute to ERICs’ development and sustainability.
► Meeting agenda: Click here
► Meeting Presentations:
- Session 1. ERIC Forum Governance (1st presentation, 2nd presentation)
- Session 2. Research policy brief (presentation)
- Session 5: ERIC Forum dinner (presentation)
- Session 7. Results of the surveys on ERICs’ operations/Administration/HR and Finance (presentation)
All documents are available here on the ERIC Forum’s online repository.
The photo album of the ERIC Forum Meeting is available here.