Go back

Investment in tech labs ‘should be coordinated and prioritised’

Research and technology organisations issue call with European Commission science service

Research and technology organisations have called for the creation of a coordinated European strategy for prioritised investment in technology infrastructures.

These infrastructures include demonstrator and laboratory facilities for developing and testing technologies—such as for wind and solar power, industrial robotics and 3D printing—and are vital for research and innovation.

At present, many such infrastructures operate independently through individual funding agreements. In a joint statement on 24 January, the European Association of Research and Technology Organisations and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre said a strategy to synchronise European, national and regional funding for technology infrastructures could help to get better value for money.

“As technology infrastructures are critical enablers for the European research, development and innovation ecosystems, the JRC and Earto recommend a pan-European, agile and sustainable environment for their development, accessibility and governance, within the framework of a dedicated EU strategy,” the organisations said.

Their call follows a 2019 Commission recommendation for the development of an EU-wide strategy for technology infrastructures, building on the experience and framework of the European Strategy for Research Infrastructures.

The JRC and Earto carried out a joint project to gather evidence around existing technology infrastructures, including some of the attributes and challenges shared by different facilities across Europe. They aimed to identify how capacities could best be improved.

Presenting their findings, they said that the development of technology infrastructure roadmaps should be a shared endeavour, with a designated advisory board to help with prioritisation of investments.

“The board should be composed of [EU] member states experts responsible for technology infrastructures within national ministries, as well as relevant stakeholders including research and technology organisations, technical universities, and industry (large and small),” they said.

“Dedicated support and funding” for efforts to coordinate activities will also be needed, they said.