The ERIC Forum was formed in 2017 and brings together the ERIC community with the aim of strengthening its coordination, advancing ERICs’ operations, collectively responding to common challenges, and effectively interacting with the European Commission and key stakeholders. The Forum also strategically contributes to the development of ERIC related policies, making it one of the leading science policy voices in Europe.
Since the set-up of the ERIC Forum implementation project in January 2019, the Forum has produced several policy briefs (eg. on funding models for access to research infrastructures), and position papers (eg, on Key Performance Indicators, Horizon Europe mission areas, EOSC and more). The ERIC Forum project also serves as a foundation for the development of relevant guidance documents, trainings and best practices that would support not only the ERICs in the preparatory phase, but also the established ERICs.
The following section includes some of the reports that have been developed within the ERIC Forum project following interviews, workshops and discussions with the Forum members and key stakeholders. They incorporate best practices that can support ERICs and contribute to their development in the below-mentioned fields:
1. Human resources, recruitment, employment and secondment for ERICs
2. Budgeting, financial reporting, accounting, procurement and VAT exemption of ERICs
3. Insurance, contracting, and Intellectual Property (IP) aspects
4. Sustainability of ERICs
5. Research quality and reproducibility
1) Human resources: Recruitment, employment and secondment for ERICs
Challenges in the Human Resources area within ERICs range from talents’ attraction and retention for specific profiles, mobility, on-boarding processes and more. The following reports have been produced to support ERICs in their HR procedures and policies:
- Report on practices and challenges in recruitment for distributed ERICs: click here.
- Best practices guidelines in employment and secondment for ERICs: Read the report here. Watch the webinar here.
Gender Equality Plan (GEP)
Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) became mandatory for public organizations, research organizations and higher education establishments participating in Horizon Europe. For that, the ERIC Forum had established a partnership with the Gender Equality Academy to offer an introductory training to ERICs on GEP. Moreover, the ERIC Forum formed in June 2021 a Working Group with the aim of exchanging best practices on promoting GEP within ERICs and supporting the development of their GEP. For more information, contact Anne-Charlotte Fauvel, Head of European Affairs (EATRIS-ERIC): firstname.lastname@example.org.
2) Budgeting, financial reporting, accounting, procurement and VAT exemption of ERICs
Due to the rapid increase in the number of ERICs and their reliance on third party public funding, interest into how they measure and manage performance has intensified. Such performance reporting is country specific. Due to the lack of international financial reporting standards for not-for-profit organisations, financial reporting is inconsistent between countries. The communication of financial information is very important considering its effect on the reader of the financial statement. For that, the GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles), as an example, supports in improving the clarity and consistency of financial communication to the reader of these latter and to the public. The following report provides an overview of some methodologies supporting the harmonization of standards for ERICs’ financial reporting:
Several ERICs have irregular procurement activities, with areas covering international, European but mostly national providers where ERICs’ VAT exemption is mostly implemented. Regarding the VAT issues, most ERICs are still facing various challenges, ranging from the purchase procedures at EU level, national refunds and In-kind contributions’ matters.
The following report provides a better understanding of how ERICs implement VAT exemption benefits in the case of direct and indirect procurement.
- Procurement rules, VAT exemptions practices and economic activities: Read the report here. Watch the webinar here.
3) Insurance, contracting, and Intellectual Property (IP) aspects
Intellectual property policies and insurance are among the essential elements of the ERICs’ Statutes. Insurance policies differ between ERICs and the insurance contracts are either developed by the ERIC on behalf of its national nodes, or directly by the node. Challenges arise with the lack of familiarity with the legal form of the ERIC by insurance providers.
The following report provides an overview of ERICs’ responses to Intellectual property, insurance and contracting, with recommendations that can support addressing the challenges:
- Best practices guidance document on contracting, insurance and intellectual property for ERICs: click here
4) Sustainability of ERICs
The continuum of the value of Research Infrastructures, as innovation hubs and pillars of the science system, is based on their long-term sustainability. For that, the ERIC Forum addresses this topic from different areas, including all aspects impacting its planning: socio-economic impact assessment, the analysis of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), evaluation and monitoring.
Performance and Impact monitoring of RIs
The performance of ERICs is demonstrated through qualitative and quantitative results measured using KPIs, which are used to monitor the RI’s development, and selected based on the RIs’ goals and mission.
The following report provides an overview on ERIC Forum members’ experience on the methodologies and tools used to track ESFRI developed KPIs. It also includes a highlight on the outcomes of the interactions between the ERIC Forum and the ESFRI Working Group on Monitoring.
- Report on proposed approach and dashboard for common ERIC KPIs: click here
5) Research Quality and Reproducibility
The ERIC Forum developed a report on Quality Management and Reproducibility in Academic Research. It provides an overview of the factors limiting reproducibility and the quality of academic research, and presents possible solutions and change in research practices that could lead to improvements.