Science often needs facilities and resources, which are usually quite expensive to build and maintain. This is why countries typically build them together. In Europe, these activities have been supported by the European Union. Naturally, these facilities are also built outside of Europe, but until now we have not had a very good idea on who is doing what.
Where would the best cooperation possibilities regarding research infrastructures lay outside of Europe?
“There is already a lot of collaboration between scientists and research infrastructures. Many scientists may have a lot of information in the issue, but the information is not collected in a consistent way. This is what RISCAPE is now trying to solve”, explains Ari Asmi.
RISCAPE is not, however, trying to map all possible research infrastructures in the world. The project is concentrating on eight domains of RIs, outlined by the European Strategic Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI): environmental, biomedical, physics and engineering, energy, astronomical and astroparticle physics, social sciences, cultural heritage, digital humanities and language and e-infrastructures.
“To guarantee a fruitful interaction, you should have some similarities within the infrastructures. Similarities in their operations and policies, for example. We use a definition of a research infrastructure in RISCAPE which assumes, that the research infrastructure should have science or research is in its core, it should be longstanding and its time horizon should be longer than just one research project. It should also offer services to users outside the infrastructure and reach scientific impact that is comparable from ESFRI landmarks or projects.”
So are there any interesting findings in the project so far?
“It has been interesting to notice, that what is considered to be quite normal in the European research infrastructures, for example, services to outside researchers, or support for international visitors, is not at all true in many other regions. This is something that the Commission policies and interaction in the international level might change in the future.”
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