News from CESSDA

Article dated: 22 March 2010

At the end of February 2010 the CESSDA Preparatory Phase Project (PPP) was granted a six month extension (effective from 1 January 2010) to enable it to oversee the transition of the existing CESSDA into a new legal entity, a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC).

As this article goes to press, a series of three interrelated meetings, involving the current CESSDA membership and the PPP, are being organised. These meetings, in March 2010, are expected to determine the future direction for a rejuvenated and enhanced CESSDA.

They follow a meeting which the PPP organised, at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), London, in early January 2010 and to which ministerial representatives from all CESSDA member countries were invited, along with representatives from the European Commission. The gathering was important as it followed an offer from the Norwegian and German ministries to fund the management of the ERIC during its early years. On behalf of Norway and Germany, the Norwegian European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) representative, Bjorn Henrichsen, opened the day with a presentation about their offer which generated lively discussion.

As President of CESSDA and Co-ordinator of the PPP, Kevin Schürer then introduced a number of PPP documents including proposals for the operational model, financial information, statutes and a work plan for the ERIC. The report from this meeting will be at the centre of the discussion planned for the PPP management board meeting in March 2010, ensuring that the funders’ plans for the ERIC meet the criteria set by the PPP and the expectations of members.

The meetings will also assess the detailed recommendations from each of the project work packages against the ERIC’s work plan. As each work package was dedicated to areas of activity where it was recognised that CESSDA needs to enhance existing activity, this exercise will ensure that nothing has been omitted from the work plan.

Finally, the CESSDA General Assembly will meet to consider the timing of the closure of CESSDA in readiness for the establishment of the ERIC.