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Legal framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC)

Worldwide scientific progress and the cost of investing in new technologies has prompted Member States to strengthen their cooperation in creating large research infrastructures. However in order to develop the European Research Area (ERA), as well as competitiveness, a legal framework for this type of infrastructure, which will compensate for the absence of appropriate national or international regulation, is necessary. In response to requests from Member States and the scientific community, the Commission adopted this regulation which aims to facilitate the joint establishment and operation of research facilities of European interest between several Member States and countries associated to the 7th Community Research and Development Framework Programme.

ACT

Council Regulation (EC) No 723/2009 of 25 June 2009 on the Community legal framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC).

SUMMARY

This Regulation establishes a single legal base aimed at facilitating the creation and use of a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) by Member States and countries associated to the Community research framework programmes.. However, Member States will remain solely responsible for the design of infrastructure projects and for defining the main aspects such as statutes, statutory seat, etc. This legal framework shall only apply to infrastructures of pan-European interest.

The activities of the ERIC shall be non-profit-making in order to prevent distortions of competition. However, an ERIC can carry out some limited economic activities as long they do not impede the main aim of the research infrastructure.

Research infrastructure created by ERIC under this regulation must respect the following conditions:

  • it must carry out European research activities;
  • it must represent added value in the scientific and technological fields at the European and international level;
  • it must be accessible to researchers from Member States and countries associated to the Community Research and Development Framework Programme;
  • promote the mobility of researchers and the exchange of knowledge within the European Research Area (ERA);
  • it must participate in the dissemination and optimisation of the results of research activities.

Applications for the setting up of an ERIC must be submitted to the Commission for assessment.

The application pack must include:

  • a request to the Commission to set up the ERIC;
  • the proposed Statutes (a list of members, statutory seat, name of the ERIC, rights and obligations of the members, bodies of the ERIC with their competences and the manner in which they are constituted and in which they decide, duration of the ERIC, basic principles, identification of the working language, references to rules implementing the Statutes;
  • a technical and scientific description (see conditions above);
  • an extract from the Statutes which contains the information listed in the Annex to the Regulation;
  • a declaration by the host Member State recognising the ERIC as an international body within the meaning of the Directives on VAT and excise duties.

Taking into account the results of the assessment and the opinions of Member States, the Commission shall adopt its decision and notify the applicant. If the creation of an ERIC is approved, the decision will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

During the assessment period applicants may be invited to complete or amend their application.

The ERIC which has legal personality must have its statutory seat in one of its members (Member State or country associated with the Community Framework Programme for Research).

Membership of an ERIC must comprise at least three Member States, and may include members from third countries and inter-governmental organisations.

An ERIC shall also be considered as an international body or organisation in the sense of the directives on value-added tax, on excise duties and on public procurement. It shall thus be exempted

from VAT and excise duties and its procurement procedures shall be out of the scope of the directive on public procurement.

The liability of the members for the debts of the ERIC is limited to their respective contributions.

The applicable law is firstly Community law, then the law of the State of the statutory seat or of the State of operation regarding certain safety and technical matters.

Five years after its adoption, the Commission shall carry out an evaluation of the legal framework through a panel of experts and shall submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council.

Context

This regulation is one of five strategic initiatives created following the ERA Green Paper, such as the Communication on Joint Programming in Research. This Regulation will facilitate the development of new pan-European research structures through an appropriate legal framework. This initiative contributes to the implementation of the “Research infrastructures” section of the specific programme "Capacities" under the 7th Framework Programme for Research.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EC) No 723/2009

28.8.2009

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OJ L 206 of 8.8.2009

Last updated: 01.06.2010
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