The ability of Europe's research teams to remain at the forefront of all fields of science and technology depends on them being supported by state-of-the-art infrastructures. The term "research infrastructures" refers to facilities and resources that provide essential services to the research community in both academic and industrial domains. Research infrastructures may be "single-sited" (single resource at a single location), "distributed" (a network of distributed resources, including infrastructures based on Grid-type architectures), or "virtual" (the service being provided electronically).
The overall objective of this activity is to promote the development of a fabric of research infrastructures of the highest quality and performance in Europe, and their optimum use on a European scale based on the needs expressed by the research community.
Specifically, the aim is to:
- Ensure that European researchers have access to the infrastructures they need to conduct their research, irrespective of the location of the infrastructure;
- Provide support for a co-ordinated approach for the development of new research infrastructures, including the regional and trans-regional level;
- Provide support for the operation and enhancement of existing infrastructures, including where appropriate facilities of world-wide relevance not existing in Europe.
Where relevant, support for research infrastructures in this programme will be implemented in association with the thematic priorities of the framework programme and with the other available forms of support.
The objective of the activities carried out under this heading is to help establish a fabric of research infrastructures at the highest level in Europe and to promote the optimum use of these infrastructures on a European scale.