Mikkel Stein Knudsen & Jari Kaivo-oja:
Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku, has mapped global Research Infrastructures in the Energy sector for the large international Horizon 2020 project RISCAPE. The final report of the project provides a global landscape analysis of RIs. The report was launched with the European Commission in Brussels 9th of December 2019.
Research Infrastructures forms an important part of European research policy
Research Infrastructures has become a key term for European research policy, as demands for modern research increases. In many scientific disciplines, scientists, research groups and even institutions today struggle to individually provide world-class research tools, and instead a pooling of resources is needed, either for large ‘Big Science’ facilities or for distributed networks of facilities creating a shared base for excellent research.
In Europe, this type of single or shared organisation forms important parts of the current research Horizon 2020 programme as well as the upcoming research framework programme Horizon Europe. A number of initiatives exists to streamline and integrate Research Infrastructures within the European Research Area, most importantly the so-called European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI).
Until now, however, there has been little attention on how these European institutions compare themselves to similar institutions outside the European Union. This is what the RISCAPE project, supported by the European Commission, has aimed at tackling, as the project has provided the first global mapping of international research infrastructures across eight scientific research fields. Among the multinational and multidisciplinary consortium, the University of Turku has mapped important global research facilities within the energy field.
Southwest Finland important for European Research Infrastructures
The spearheads of RIs in Europe are the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC), which is a particular and full legal entity in Europe. In November 2019, Euro-BioImaging became the 21st official ERIC in Europe, and the first ERIC based in Southwest Finland. Euro-BioImaging has 15 founding member countries, and the Statutory Seat of the ERIC is located in Turku. Åbo Akademi University and the University of Turku in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Academy of Finland have supported the preparatory phase since 2014.
For the RISCAPE-project, Finland Futures Research Centre at the University of Turku has worked in close collaboration with other European Research Infrastructure Consortiums, and the coordinating partner University of Helsinki. The other existing ERIC in Finland, Helsinki-based ICOS ERIC, also partners in the project.
With the recent developments and the on-going work, universities in Southwest Finland in close cooperation with other Finnish institutions play pivotal roles in shaping high-level European and global research infrastructure policy. The strong national and regional involvement in this matter is likely to provide increased visibility and strong new opportunities for both researchers and businesses in the region.
At the Finland Futures Research Centre, we believe the current moment offers strong momentum for developments in this field in order to put University of Turku and Southwest Finland right at the square of the global map for Research Infrastructures. It is the duty of FFRC, UTU and other associated parties to follow through on this unique opportunity in the coming years.
RISCAPE-report available with more information
The results of the RISCAPE-project is available at the project website: www.riscape.eu.
For more specific information on energy research infrastructures, global research infrastructure developments, and information concerning UTU’s participation, please contact Mikkel Stein Knudsen (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr. Jari Kaivo-oja (email@example.com).
Mikkel Stein Knudsen
Project Researcher (M.Sc., Pol. Science), Finland Futures Research Centre, Turku School of Economics, University of Turku
Research Director, Finland Futures Research Centre, Turku School of Economics, University of Turku.
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Picture: Launch event of final report, Maison Grand-Place, Brussels, 9.12.2019