The first ERIC Forum meeting of 2020 was held in Brussels on 5th and 6th February 2020. It brought together more than 23 different ERICs and ERICs-to-be, as well as representatives from the European Commission (DG RTD), Ministries of Science, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures, Research councils and more.
The meeting focused on various aspects, spanning the new governance model of the ERIC Forum, ERICs’ funding models and access to RIs, European Open Science Cloud’s sustainability, Horizon Europe missions and more. It was also an opportunity to discuss with the ERIC Forum’s stakeholders about the added value expected from the Forum.
The participation of external participants brought an additional value to the discussions considering their wide knowledge and different perspectives of the RIs and ERICs’ landscapes.
Tome Antičić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Science and Education of Croatia, defined the added value expected from the ERIC Forum as follows: ‘’The EU has a very large and very diverse number of research infrastructures. It is in fact quite difficult to coordinate them, to see where there could be synergies among them, to find mechanisms of funding them – including maintenance costs. The ERIC Forum could very much facilitate these issues, and hopefully it will have a more explicit role regarding that in the future.’’
Looking at the Croatian research environment, Mr. Antičić said: “ERICs are a fantastic mechanism for the best Croatian researchers to work with the best facilities and with the best EU researchers. The transnational access has in fact significantly improved the quality of Croatian research, and the Croatian TNA facilities have greatly benefited from the influx and project money of top researchers from all around the world. Further, and larger, support for ERICs is definitely a priority for Croatia.’”
Journey to a permanent governance model of the ERIC Forum
In 2019, all ERICs contributed building a new governance of the ERIC Forum. The Rules of Procedures (RoP) for the implementation of the ERIC Forum Memorandum of Understanding was signed by all 18 established ERICs that took part in the meeting.
John Womersley, Director General at European Spallation Source ERIC was elected as the new Chair of the ERIC Forum, while Anton Ussi, Operations and Finance Director at EATRIS-ERIC will be the new Vice Chair. Their mandate will last one year.
The new Chair and vice Chair will be supported by three other members of the Executive Board, each representing a specific scientific cluster. The following have been selected based on a consensus nomination from the clusters:
• Franciska de Jong, Executive Director, CLARIN ERIC, for the social sciences and humanities cluster.
• Wolfgang Fecke, Director General, EU-OPENSCREEN, for the life sciences cluster.
• Juan Miguel González Aranda, Chief Technical Officer, LifeWatch ERIC, for the environment cluster.
During the ERIC Forum meeting, the new chairs presented their vision, priorities and focus areas for their mandate. John Womersley discussed with the ERIC community participating in the meeting about the main issues of concern.
Read more about the meeting here: https://www.eric-forum.eu/2020/02/19/eric-forum-meeting-2020-brussels/