Preparatory Phase of new ESFRI projects

The ESFRI roadmap, updated periodically, identifies the needs of the European scientific community in terms of research infrastructures. However, inclusion in the ESFRI roadmap does not guarantee that these needed infrastructures will be built. Before proceeding with the construction and/or implementation of the identified infrastructures, many preliminary decisions need to be taken with respect to issues such as the identification of funders, the financial plan for sustainability, the governance by involved stakeholders, the site and legal form of the managing organisation (and of the research infrastructure, if different), the architecture and the service policies. The aim of this activity is to provide catalytic and leveraging support for the preparatory phase of ESFRI projects leading to the construction of new research infrastructures or major upgrades of existing ones.


The preparatory phase aims to bring the project for the new or upgraded research infrastructure identified in the ESFRI roadmap to the level of legal, financial, and, where applicable, technical maturity required for implementing it.

Proposal consortia should involve all the stakeholders necessary to move the project forward, to take the decisions, and to make the financial commitments, before construction can start (including, but not limited to, national/regional ministries/governments, research councils or funding agencies from the countries that have already declared their commitment in the application to ESFRI). Appropriate contacts with ministries and decision-makers should be continuously reinforced, thus further strengthening the consortia. Operators of research facilities, research centres, universities, and industry may also be involved whenever appropriate. Technical work should be carried out when necessary to complete the final technical design, providing a sound technical base for establishing a cost baseline and detailed financial planning. The financial needs of the project should be mapped out to the extent necessary for funding agencies to establish their own medium- and long-term financial planning.

The preparation of the legal and financial agreements (including site, governance, internal rules, financing of the new research infrastructures) is one of the main activities and deliverables and should be finalised before the end of the project (e.g., through the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding).

The detailed list of activities that can be included in a preparatory phase proposal is given in part A of the section ‚ÄúSpecific features for Research Infrastructures‚ÄĚ. Proposals should explain any synergies and complementarities with previous or current EU grants.

(a) 2019 deadline: Preparatory Phase of the new projects in the 2018 ESFRI Roadmap

Following the update of the ESFRI Roadmap in 2018, support under this work programme will be provided to the Preparatory Phase for research infrastructure projects which enter the ESFRI roadmap in 2018.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 4 million would allow this challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact

This topic triggers the decision making processes leading to the construction and/or implementation of the research infrastructures identified in the ESFRI Roadmap.

  • A landscape of first-class sustainable RIs and services, open to researchers, industry, and other interested groups such as policy makers and the public, is progressively established, which will impact on the acceleration of scientific discovery as well as on innovation and competitiveness.
  • Funding bodies are able to take funding decisions and to conclude the legal agreements necessary for the construction of new research infrastructures.
  • The technical work carried out under this topic will contribute to strengthening the technological development capacity and effectiveness as well as the scientific performance, efficiency and attractiveness of the European Research Area.

Delegation Exception Footnote

It is expected that this topic will continue in 2020.

Cross-cutting Priorities

Socio-economic science and humanities

Application date
Social sciences : Management and Public administration, Information and Communication Sciences, Pedagogic & Education Research, Political science, Sociology