Part 1
Strategy Report

What is new in the ESFRI Roadmap 2018

The ESFRI Roadmap 2018 reflects the lifecycle of several ESFRI Projects that entered in 2008 and that, in most cases, reached an advanced degree of implementation moving therefore to the Landmark list and STRENGTHENING THE ESFRI LANDMARKS PORTFOLIO in all areas of research. The LANDSCAPE ANALYSIS AS A KEY INGREDIENT of ESFRI Methodology captures the most relevant Research Infrastructures that are available to European scientists. The NEW ESFRI PROJECTS ARE FILLING GAPS in the diverse thematic domains. The updated and complete lists of 18 ESFRI Projects and 37 ESFRI Landmarks is summarized in a table reporting the main information of each ESFRI RI.

Strengthening the landmarks portfolio

The Roadmap 2018 consolidates the Landmarks list as a core element representing the ensemble of implemented Research Infrastructures that emerged from the ESFRI process. ESFRI Landmarks are delivering science and science services – or have a well-defined, forthcoming plan for starting the Operation Phase – and represent in their field the most advanced undertakings, often at global level, overall strengthening the competitiveness of European research. The eight new Landmarks reinforce the Energy, Environment, Health & Food, and Physical Sciences & Engineering domains with strategic long-term investments in research capability and capacity. The ensemble of ESFRI Landmarks is an important contribution to the European Research Area; it complements – and intersects with – the EIROforumEIROforum to form a full pan-European portfolio of long-term undertakings in excellent science and innovation, thus also creating unique opportunities for further internationalization. In adopting the new Landmarks, ESFRI considered the specific merit of those projects having successfully completed their ten-year incubation.

The research needs are demanding both at disciplinary level – requiring more and more often the acquisition of diverse complementary data from different methods and instruments – and also across disciplines – as the study of complex phenomena demands to jointly analyse data obtained from Research Infrastructures belonging to different scientific domains. The ensemble of Landmarks, having developed through ESFRI unifying criteria and commons – e.g. on data analysis open-tools and FAIR data management and policy – are in a good position to support advanced interdisciplinary research therefore providing unique resources to address the frontiers of knowledge, innovation and societal needs.

Landscape Analysis as a Key Ingredient

The updated Landscape Analysis (LA, see PART2) is a key ingredient to the ESFRI Methodology. It captures the most relevant Research Infrastructures that are available to European scientists and to technology developers, and allows to appreciate the unique contribution brought by the ESFRI RIs.

The Landscape Analysis is an indicative reference document and does not represent, in any way, the view and prioritisation of ESFRI, nor any national financial and political commitment.

The Landscape Analysis is organized in three Sections.

Section1 consists of six chapters – one per scientific domain – and describes the state of play of all RIs in the corresponding thematic area, their contributions to support frontier research and to provide key-data necessary to address the Grand Challenges. Each domain is structured in areas or subdomains of research, when appropriate, and the interfaces of the RIs belonging to the same disciplinary area are captured also by plots against relevant dimensions. The gaps, challenges and future needs are analysed for each group of thematic RIs and summarised. Research develops both within disciplinary domains and across disciplinary borders, so that the needs for competitive research imply to enable a smooth access to more and diverse RIs.

Section2 is an all-new analysis effort to render explicit the relevant connections that already exist among the ESFRI RIs, and to identify the critical needs for new links and new research practices. The results in Section2 give evidence of the implications of research generated by ESFRI RIs in each domain onto the other fields of research. There exist links and a high potential for advanced synergies among most ESFRI RIs. ESFRI can play an important strategic role in supporting interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research and realising the conditions for an approach that is conceptually equivalent to the multi-messenger method established for Astronomy. The concept of multi-messenger research relies on exploiting diverse sources of information from different research methodologies to yield an integrated complementary ensemble of data that becomes the true insight on the phenomenon studied. Generalizing to all fields of research, we can recognize that a multi-messenger approach is already at work in domains like environmental sciences and life sciences, and that there is a high potential to address complex phenomena like grand societal and scientific challenges – e.g. climate change, population increase and differential ageing, food and energy sustainability – by using synergistically RIs from all fields.

Section3 is about cross-cutting aspects of the ensemble of RIs – i.e. the transversal issues like education and training, needs for digital infrastructure, contribution to innovation; and the horizontal analyses like socio-economic impact, territorial impact, pan-European and global dimensions that are carried out by all RIs. The contributions of different areas are merged to capture an aspect of the overall landscape of RIs that directly shapes European research and its societal role. The LA is the prerequisite for the ESFRI strategy exercise, as any new Project or Landmark must be evaluated against its impact on the Landscape. Consequently, the LA is a key reference for the understanding of the Roadmap, its content and its analysis.


New projects filling gaps

The new ESFRI Projects in the Roadmap 2018 reinforce important areas of research.

The International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility - DEMO Oriented NEutron Source (IFMIF-DONES) will play a strategic role in the Energy (ENE) domain for the implementation of nuclear fusion solutions to the massive production of energy, as well as for the role of Europe as an active actor in the development of nuclear fusion technologies. The consolidation of the technical design of IFMIF-DONES will take place during the Preparation Phase as well as the potential internationalization of the project that will play an important role in the global effort for fusion Technologies.

The Distributed System of Scientific Collections (DiSSCo) will play a strategic role in the Environment (ENV) domain aiming at unifying European natural science collections, effectively transforming the currently dispersed and fragmented access to the resources into an integrated data-driven pan-European Research Infrastructure of broad international interest.

The Long-Term Ecosystem Research in Europe (eLTER) is filling a major gap in the Environment (ENV) domain for a pan-European Infrastructure addressing long-term multi-disciplinary ecosystem studies integrating observatories that individually provide and manage time serial observations and offering physical access to sites for ecological experiments.

The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation and Synthetic Biology Accelerator (EU-IBISBA) will play a strategic role in the Health & Food (H&F) domain as a distributed RI supporting research on several bio-economy areas: energy (liquid biofuels), chemicals (organic acids), materials (bio-plastics) and ingredients for the food, feed, cosmetics and pharma sectors (enzymes, antioxidants, antibiotics).

The Infrastructure for promoting Metrology in Food and Nutrition (METROFOOD-RI) clearly fills a gap in the Health & Food (H&F) domain by proposing a distributed RI aiming at providing high quality metrology services in food and nutrition. It comprises an important cross-section of highly interdisciplinary and interconnected fields throughout the food value chain, including agro-food, sustainable development, food  safety/quality/traceability/ authenticity, environmental safety, and human health.

The European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) will play a strategic role in the Social & Cultural Innovation (SCI) domain as it represents a unique access point to the historical documents and human resources for research on the Holocaust. The project will represent a unique asset for international research.