CESSDA moves towards strategic goals

Article dated: 19 June 2009

The status of the Council of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) as an ESFRI-recognised Preparatory Phase Research Infrastructure has provided the opportunity for CESSDA to move rapidly towards its goal of reforming itself into a newly-established legal entity.

In October 2008 a meeting for national funding bodies was held at the British Academy in London. This provided the opportunity to present the emerging plans for the new organisation to national research funders and ministerial representatives, and allow them to ask questions about the proposed structure for the new legal entity. Twelve member states were represented at the meeting, alongside representatives of the EC and the research community.

Following this meeting, and taking into account discussion points and the views of national representatives, during December and early January the governance team prepared first drafts of key legal documents for the proposed new European Research Infrastructure (ERI). Following circulation the current CESSDA members discussed these at the CESSDA-PPP Management Board meeting hosted by GSDB-EKKE (the Greek data archive), in mid January and agreed a number of changes and the need for a small number of additional annexes. Building on the discussions and recommendations from the Athens meeting, the draft governance documents were substantially revised and extended during February and re-circulated to the CESSDA membership organisation for consideration and comment in March.

This second period of consultation was then followed in early April by a joint meeting of the CESSDA General Assembly and PPP Management Board, hosted by WISDOM, the Austrian data archive. This useful meeting concentrated on discussing detailed points relating to the new proposed ERI and benefitted greatly from the presence of Annika Thies of the EC which is responsible for legal aspects of Research Infrastructures at DG Research.

Following minor changes resulting from the discussions in Vienna, the collection of governance documents have now been circulated to national funders for their consideration before the upcoming ESFRI meeting in June at which countries will be asked to indicate and confirm their support for the ESFRI Roadmap projects.