The objective of this programme is to ensure European researchers access to world-class research infrastructures. The European Commission considers not only major scientific equipment to be research infrastructure but also includes sets of instruments, knowledge-based resources such as archives, databases, etc., and enabling ICT infrastructures (e-Infrastructures) such as grids, computing, software and communication infrastructure. Support is given to existing as well as to new research infrastructures.
Support for existing infrastructure is provided to consortia of major existing research infrastructures countries in a certain predefined field located in different European (EU member states and associated). They receive funding for so-called “integrated activities”. These involve granting access to the infrastructures to users from outside their country, and performing common research and networking activities to improve their services. In 2012, a public consultation was conducted on existing research infrastructures meriting funding in H2020.
Support for new infrastructure is normally limited to the planning phases of new infrastructures of pan-European interest identified by the “European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures” (ESFRI).