Brussels   |     |   By invitation only

The investment challenge: How to assess the impact of research infrastructures?

A Science|Business hybrid expert workshop, organised in partnership with Elsevier (15:00 – 17:30 CET)

Research infrastructures (RI) crystallise some of the main issues raised in the European Research Area Policy Agenda. Among them: unequal access to facilities for researchers; open science; the scale of investments required to set up and maintain large infrastructures such as synchrotrons, telescopes, and laser facilities, not to mention their carbon footprint and questions around their economic impact. It is thus not a surprise to see research infrastructures identify as a key priority of the upcoming Czech and Swedish Presidencies of the Council of the EU.

While the budget allocated to research infrastructures under the first pillar of Horizon Europe remains steady compared to the previous Framework Programme, with €2.4 bn allocated between 2021 and 2027, the 2021 ESFRI roadmap shows much bigger ambitions, seeking a budget of €4bn to build 11 new international infrastructures. It is therefore clear that Horizon Europe alone will not be sufficient to deliver against these ambitions. Such investments will only occur if a better interplay between international, EU and national and regional funding is in place. In addition, while the amounts required to finance equipment and maintenance of research infrastructures can be quantified, the impact of their scientific outputs is not as easily measurable. As a result, building investment plans for research infrastructures is nearly “mission impossible” today.

Against this backdrop, a number of questions arise: How to mobilise the political support needed to attract more national and regional funding for research infrastructures? What role can private and corporate investors play towards a more sustainable use of such facilities? What is the return on investment for public and private funders? Against which criteria can the economic value of research infrastructures be assessed? How to collect data in a coordinated way to run a Europe-wide RI impact assessment? Are there any pilot projects that can lead to a scalable methodology aimed to ensuring the financial sustainability of research infrastructures in the longer run, and helping funders decide whether and where to invest?

On 16 June 2022, Science|Business, in partnership with Elsevier, gathers EU institutions and governments officials, funders, scientists, research infrastructures representatives and industry executives to discuss the current state of play in Europe and to produce recommendations on how to better demonstrate the impact and value of RI to societies and economies at large.

Featured guests
Jana Kolar
Chair, ESFRI
Carthage Smith
Lead Coordinator, Global Science Forum, OECD
Dominik Sobczak
Deputy Head of Unit, DG RTD, European Commission
Elena Hoffert
Scientific Advisor, Department for Research Infrastructures, French Ministry of Higher Education and Research
Felicitas Riedl
Director, Innovation and Competitiveness, European Investment Bank
Lisbeth Olsson
Secretary General for research infrastructures, Swedish Research Council
Jan Hrušák
Special envoy for research infrastructures MEYS , Ministry of Education, youth, and sport of the Czech Republic
Andrew Harrison
Chief Executive Officer, DIAMOND Light Source
Marc-Antoine Lacroix
Head of Evaluation, French Secretary General for Investment (SGPI)
Toshiyasu Ichioka
Director, RIKEN Europe Office, RIKEN
Laura Montagna
Head of Innovation Incubator, SKF
Alberto Zigoni
Portfolio Integration Director, Elsevier
Josine Stallinga
VP, Research Analytics Products, Elsevier
Barbara Monti
Associate Professor, University of Bologna
Edward Mitchell
Head of Business Development, European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) & LEAPS
Thibaut Lery
Director, Strategic Planning, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)
David Bohmert
Secretary General, CESAER
Massimo Busuoli
Head of Brussels Office, NTNU
Uwe Sassenberg
EU Project Manager, CAROTS Project
Miriam Hufnagl
Advisor Policy and Impact Innovation Technology Transfer, DESY
Vincent Smeraglia
Executive Director of Strategic Alliances and University Core Services, Rutgers University
Bonnie Wolff-Boenisch
Director, CESSDA
Lucian Sandu
Head of RIS3 Management Office, North-East Regional Development Agency
Ricardo Migueis
Head of Office, INESC Brussels Hub
Serge Fdida
Professor, Sorbonne University; Coordinator, SLICES
Magnus Fredriksson
Program Manager, Alfa Laval
Imraan Patel
Deputy Director-General, Socio-Economic Partnerships, South African Department of Science and Innovation
Anne-Charlotte Fauvel
Head, European Affairs, EATRIS
Michele Muccini
Director, CNR-ISMN
Eric Humler
Chairman, TGIR Committee - CNRS
Alasdair Reid
Policy Director, EFIS Centre
Allen Weeks
Director General, ELI-ERIC
Nikolaj Zangenberg
Team Leader, Center for Metal and Surface Technology, Danish Technological Institute
Katharina Eggenberger
Senior Policy Advisor, ETH Zürich; Envoy, CESAER
Annika Thies
Head of the EU Project Office, DESY
Ilaria Nardello
Senior Policy Officer, EOSC Association AISBL

14:30     Welcome coffee 

15:00     Introduction  

15:05     Sales pitch: How can the research community persuade investors it needs more RIs?

An open discussion around the challenges faced by the research community to make the case for larger and longer-term investments in research infrastructures; but why they are needed.

With Introductory remarks by:

Jana Kolar, Chair, ESFRI

Elena Hoffert, Scientific Advisor, Department for Research Infrastructures, French Ministry for Higher Education and Research

15:45     Connecting the dots: Focus on pilot initiatives

An open discussion aimed to shedding light on pilot projects and collectively identifying the criteria required to measure the impact of RI investments in terms of scientific outputs (e.g. patents), collaborations, progress over grand challenges, etc.

With introductory remarks by:

Andrew Harrison, Chief Executive Officer, DIAMOND Light Source

Alberto Zigoni, Portfolio Integration Director, Elsevier 

16:15     Coffee break 

16:30     Cracking the case: Can a methodology be drawn to assess the impact of RIs?

A forward-looking discussion aimed to connect the dots, draw concrete recommendations towards a scalable assessment method to measure – against clear criteria – the impact of research infrastructures and the science run through them, and ultimately guide funding agencies, governments and other stakeholders in deciding whether to invest in existing or new facilities.  

With introductory remarks by:

Carthage Smits, Lead Coordinator, Global Science Forum, OECD

Liesbeth Olsson, Secretary General for research infrastructures, Swedish Research Council

17:20     Research infrastructures in the 2022 Czech EU Presidency agenda 

 by Jan Hrušák, Special Envoy for research infrastructures at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic

17:25     Conclusions

17:30     Networking reception (until 18:30)