Accessing European Research infrastructures

In preparing your Horizon 2020 project, you have identified that you need specific infrastructures for instance to get data or conduct specific test? Have a look at the European Research Infrastructures ! 

What are Research Infrastructures?

Research Infrastructures (RIs) are facilities, resources and services used by the scientific community for conducting research and innovation in their fields to reach excellence.

There are several types of RIs:

  • European RIs are too big to be funded by just one university. For instance the famous CERN Center for elementary particle physics obtained the Nobel Price.
  • National RIs are operated by one country but are openly accessible. They can be found under Meril Portal
  • Networks of RI are funded by the European Union under the INFRAIA calls of Horizon 2020 to provide notably Trans-National Access (TNA) as explained below.

For example in the field of environment:

  • IAGOS – In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System is a collection of data on atmospheric trace gases and aerosol particles, which are measured by devices in passenger aircrafts and which are required for validation and improvement of climate modelling.
  • LifeWatch ERIC is the e-infrastructure for Biodiversity and Ecosystem research

Why can Research Infrastructures be useful for you?

Because you could request free of charge Trans-National Access (TNA)  to Research infrastructures

  • either in person or virtual
  • in other countries
  • for any types of research projects, notably but not only for Horizon 2020 projects.

If the RIs offers Trans-national access (TNA) in person, you could even get reimbursement for your travel costs if selected. Any individuals from academy, industry and public services can benefit from this.

What should you do?

  1. Identify the Research infrastructures and data you would need for your project.
  2. Identify the European RI which you could use through the RICH database. For Horizon 2020 this should be done at proposal stage and be written in your draft Data Management Plan. There are also National Contact Pointsfor Research infrastructures.
  3. Contact the RI to enquire about the conditions for access. This is recommended at proposal stage for H2020 projects. 
  4. Apply for the TNA. For Horizon 2020 projects, this should be done after the selection of the project. 

If you have an interesting research infrastructure, you can also join European networks and apply for INFRAIA projects to open your infrastructure and provide TNA.

This article is based on a presentation done by the Rich network during an NCPs CaRE webinar “Research Infrastructures Programme for H2020: Transnational Acces Opportunities (TNA) for the SC5 Environment related research” on 18/10/2018.

You can get more information about research infrastructures on the website of the RICH project, the network of National Contact Points for Research infrastructures http://www.rich2020.eu/