Scientific Frontiers: Aligning RI Landscape with Horizon Europe's Vision

The landscape of European Research Infrastructures has been intricately intertwined with the Horizon Europe (HEU) missions, reflecting a dynamic interplay between scientific endeavours and societal challenges.EU Missions in Horizon Europe 
Across various domains, RIs contribute significantly to the realisation of HEU missions, playing a pivotal role in advancing research, innovation, and addressing key societal goals.

The DIGIT domain’s landscape is marked by the potential for synergies between EuroHPC and EOSC, forming a critical foundation for future developments. RIs facilitate the seamless interoperability between these pillars, enhancing computing and data infrastructures. If realised, this synergy promises significant impacts, especially in crisis management scenarios. RIs, through their computing capabilities, contribute to mission-oriented objectives by providing advanced tools and solutions.

The SSH landscape emphasises the value of research in contributing to societal resilience, sustainable development, and policymaking. RIs in this domain are particularly called upon to build ties and bridges with EOSC, ensuring that they contribute to the sustainable European advanced computing infrastructure. Integration initiatives, such as interoperability between social surveys, or RIs in the Humanities like CLARIN ERIC and DARIAH ERIC, are proposed to maximise synergies and create a cohesive core of data for informed policymaking.

Within the ENV domain, the landscape encompasses collaboration between observational and research ecosystems, underscoring the multifaceted nature of Environmental Science. Environmental RIs address global challenges outlined in the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda,The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
aligning with EU priorities such as the Green Deal and digital transition.A Europe fit for the digital age
ENV RIs contribute to sustainable development, climate action, and disaster risk reduction, proving crucial in tackling SDGs, such as ‘Climate Action’ (SDG 13), ‘Life below Water’ (SGD 14) and ‘Life on Land’ (SDG 15), and EU missions, such as ‘Adaptation to Climate Change’ and ‘Restore our Oceans and Waters by 2030’. 

The landscape in H&F sees RIs as essential contributors to HEU missions. RIs support Horizon Europe missions with particular focus to ‘Cancer’, ‘Adaptation to Climate Change’, ‘Restore our Oceans and Waters’, ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’, and ‘100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030’. By providing access to cutting-edge facilities, data, and expertise, RIs accelerate progress towards achieving mission goals. The transformation of RIs in H&F, embracing digitalisation, sustainability, and collaboration, aligns with the broader objectives of HEU.

In the ENE domain, RIs are positioned at the core of the green and digital transitions. Rooted in the advances of cutting-edge science and technology, a new wave of innovation is underway: deep tech innovation. New technologies for robust, secure, economic, and socially and environmentally benign energy systems will be a cornerstone of Europe’s future well-being. Energy RIs are extremely well-aligned with the currently defined European objectives, and this sector can be expected to remain centrally relevant for the foreseeable future. Moreover, recent geopolitical events, notably the Ukrainian conflict, have highlighted the critical issue of Europe’s overreliance on external sources for key energy technologies such as solar cells and batteries. This dependence poses a stark risk to the EU’s strategic autonomy and economic security. In response, there is an urgent need to bolster internal capacities through RIs, fostering the development and scaling of homegrown innovations in these sectors. Strengthening Europe’s position in the global energy technology market not only supports the green and digital transitions but also ensures a more resilient and self-reliant energy future.

PSE RIs have fundamentally transformed our understanding of the universe and our place within it, offering unparalleled insights at the very limits of time and space resolution. By enabling the detection and harnessing of new natural forces, they act as catalysts for disruptive technologies and innovations, thus aligning seamlessly with the transformative goals of Horizon Europe missions. Beyond basic research, these RIs extend their impact to a multitude of domains including environmental, social, cultural and energy research. Their contributions are vast, from exploring the mysteries of Astronomy and Astroparticle Physics, shedding light on the origins and structure of the universe, to advancements in Particle and Nuclear Physics that push the boundaries of what we know about matter and the forces that govern it. The cross-cutting nature of Analytical Physics RIs is evident in their support for research in Materials Science, enabling breakthroughs in medical technologies and treatments for diseases, imaging for H&F, development of materials for a circular economy, and strategies for climate change mitigation. Examples of such pioneering work include the European XFEL for probing the atomic details of viruses, or the ESRF-EBS for advancements in Materials Science.