Author: Maja Dolinar (Slovenian Social Science Data Archives (ADP))

The seventh meeting of the RItrainPlus Community of Practice, held on 1 December, was nothing short of a deep dive into the fascinating world of Experimental Research Infrastructures (RIs). Our esteemed guest, Sebastien Dupraz from ECCSEL, led an enlightening session that peeled back the layers of complexity surrounding these vital research platforms.

Unravelling the Essence of Research Infrastructures

We kicked off the session by framing RIs within the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) definition. It was intriguing to learn how these infrastructures are not just about the tools and technologies but also about fostering innovation and opening doors for external users. The conversation took an interesting turn into the objectives of RIs, highlighting their role in enhancing research facilities and promoting international collaboration, with a nod to the emerging role of science diplomacy.

Diversity and Differentiation: The Heart of Experimental RIs

One of the session’s highlights was exploring the categorization of experimental RIs. Dupraz masterfully explained the spectrum of experimentation methods, from simple usage to the development of groundbreaking methodologies and tools. The discussion on in situ and ex situ experimentation provided a new perspective on how RIs contribute to various research fields.

Experimental Platforms: Where Science Meets Innovation

The conversation shifted to the intriguing world of experimental platforms. Dupraz’s insights into how experimental platforms balance industry needs with fundamental science were eye-opening. The discussion about how experimental platforms differ from traditional RIs in terms of geographical focus and result evaluation was particularly thought-provoking.

From Theory to Practice: ECCSEL ERIC as a Case Study

ECCSEL ERIC’s mission to reduce CO2 emissions in industry and power generation served as a perfect case study. Dupraz detailed ECCSEL’s approach to managing 90 research facilities across five countries, offering a real-world example of how experimental RIs operate and their impact.

Interactive Q&A: A Community Engaged

The Q&A session was a testament to the community’s engagement. Participants actively discussed how they classify their facilities, the unique challenges new RIs face, and the complementary nature of various RIs. The conversation about virtual services and the visibility challenges for new RIs was particularly relevant in today’s digital-first world.

Regulation, Management, and the Future

Dupraz concluded with crucial insights into access regulation, emphasising the importance of professionalism and trust in access policies. The discussion on management strategies and business models in ECCSEL highlighted the need for a balanced approach to service and partnership management.

A Meeting of Minds and Ideas

This meeting was more than just a presentation; it was a meeting of minds, ideas, and a shared passion for advancing the field of experimental research infrastructures. For those who couldn’t join us, we highly recommend watching the recording and exploring the slides from Sebastien Dupraz’s presentation. They are not just informative but a gateway to understanding the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of experimental RIs. All of the materials are available to members in the RItrainPlus CoP.

Stay tuned for more insights and discussions as we continue to explore the fascinating world of research infrastructures.

About RItrainPlus CoP

The RItrainPlus CoP provides a forum for discussion about relevant issues and opportunities for knowledge and best practices sharing through a peer learning approach that would support research infrastructures (RIs) and core facilities (CFs) in their specific managerial and operational challenges. The CoP offers new community meetings every two months, and by signing up, you will be able to access the meeting recordings and materials. This is a great opportunity to learn from experienced professionals and stay up-to-date with the latest best practices in the research infrastructure landscape. Sign up to the RITrainPlus CoP!

Exploring the Frontiers of Experimental Research Infrastructures: Key Takeaways from the Seventh RItrainPlus CoP Meeting