European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures
The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) is intended to develop the scientific integration of Europe and to strengthen its international outreach. Competitive and open access to high-quality research infrastructure supports and benchmarks the quality of European science, and attracts the best researchers from around the world.
The ESFRI Roadmap is an ongoing process mandated by the Council of the European Union that identifies new European research infrastructures that correspond to the long term needs of science researchers across Europe, depending on a continuous commitment from the European research communities. Projects are usually expected to become implemented within 10 years from their first inclusion on the roadmap.
The latest version of the ESFRI Roadmap was launched on 10 March 2016, in Amsterdam. Ahead of the 2018 Roadmap, ESFRI has launched its Roadmap 2018 submission to identify new research infrastructures of pan-European strategic value for the long-term needs of the European science and innovation communities in all areas of research. The Roadmap 2018 will be the fifth European Roadmap for Research Infrastructures.
NERC involvement with ESFRIs
NERC supports participation in ESFRI projects as a key part of our national capability, and as such the development of the ESFRI projects or potential ESFRIs shown below is supported by NERC's research centres. NERC Head Office maintains an overview of these projects, coordinating the project leads when necessary on specific issues and feeding general updates into the ESFRI Environmental Strategic Working Group - external link and the ESFRI Forum meetings - external link.
The next generation European incoherent scatter radar system (EISCAT_3D - external link) is an international collaboration that will deliver more sophisticated radar observations to improve our understanding of the Earth's atmosphere and its interaction with the geospace environment, including space weather monitoring and forecasting.
EISCAT_3D entered the 2008 ESFRI roadmap, and is currently in its implementation phase. It is expected to become operational in 2021, and will cost €74 million to build, of which NERC is contributing £6·2 million. NERC's involvement with EISCAT_3D is managed by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).
The Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System (SIOS - external link) will aim to establish a research infrastructure in Svalbard that will give better estimates of the future environmental and climate changes in the Arctic.
SIOS entered the 2008 ESFRI roadmap, and will begin its operational phase in 2018. It is expected to become operational in 2020. NERC's involvement with SIOS is managed by BAS.
The Integrated European Long-term Ecosystem, Critical Zone & Socio-ecological Research Infrastructure (eLTER - external link) aims to provide a European distributed infrastructure of long-term research sites for multiple use in the fields of ecosystem, critical zone, and socio-ecological research.
eLTER is an emerging ESFRI project, and is currently funded as an IA project. NERC's involvement with eLTER is managed by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH).
The European Multidisciplinary Seafloor & water-column Observatory (EMSO - external link) is a large-scale distributed marine research infrastructure of fixed-point observatories.
EMSO became operational in 2016, and involved €108 million of joint capital investment. NERC's involvement with EMSO is managed by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC).
The Integrated Carbon Observation System ERIC (ICOS - external link) is a distributed research infrastructure to generate high-precision data and integrate knowledge on the carbon cycle and greenhouse gas (GHG) budgets and of their perturbations.
ICOS entered the ESFRI roadmap in 2006 and became operational in 2016. It involved a total capital investment of €48 million. NERC's involvement with ICOS is managed by NOC.
The European Plate Observing System aims to create a pan-European infrastructure to monitor the dynamics of the solid Earth system by integrating research facilities throughout the EU.
EPOS - external link entered the ESFRI roadmap in 2008, and is estimated to become operational in 2020. It is estimated to cost €48 million. NERC's involvement with EPOS is managed by the British Geological Survey (BGS).
The European Carbon Dioxide Capture & Storage Laboratory (ECCSEL - external link) is a distributed European research infrastructure that integrates active research facilities in Europe for carbon dioxide (CO2) capture, storage and transport research.
ECCSEL entered the ESFRI Roadmap in 2008 and became operational in 2016. NERC's involvement with ECCSEL is managed by BGS.
The Aerosols, Clouds & Trace gases Research Infrastructure (ACTRIS - external link) is a distributed infrastructure dedicated to high-quality observation of aerosols, clouds, trace gases and exploration of their interactions.
ACTRIS entered the ESFRI roadmap in 2016, and is estimated to become operational in 2025 following investment of €450 million. NERC's involvement with ACTRIS is managed by the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS).
The International Centre for Advanced Studies on River-Sea Systems is a distributed research infrastructure building on existing expertise to support interdisciplinary research on large river-sea systems.
DANUBIUS-RI - external link entered the ESFRI roadmap in 2016. It is estimated to become operational in 2022, with a total capital investment of €300 million. NERC's involvement with DANUBIUS-RI is managed by CEH.
The European contribution to the international Argo Programme (EURO-ARGO - external link) is a distributed research infrastructure that organises and federates the European contribution to the international ARGO programme - external link for in-situ ocean observations.
EURO-ARGO entered the ESFRI roadmap in 2006, and became operational in 2014. The total capital investment has been €10 million. The UK's involvement with EURO-ARGO is jointly managed between NOC and the Met Office.
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NERC Capital Team