The Hungarian facility, which was implemented from a total budget of HUF 80 billion (EUR 260 million), is expected to run at full capacity from 2019 together with two other laser facilities of similar scale in the Czech Republic and Romania.. At the meeting the government representatives of the three ELI institutions and the EU commissioner for research agreed on how the facilities will enable world-class research as part of the European Research Consortium.
“Hungary launched a unique laser research infrastructure this year, and cooperation with the Czech and Romanian partner institutions in the framework of a consortium will further broaden the perspectives for its utilisation and ensure the possibility to co-finance its operation with the EU,” József Pálinkás said on the outcome of the negotiations on the ELI project on 1 December in Brussels. He added: the new research infrastructure created together with the facilities in Prague and Bucharest is second to none in the world and is expected to attract the most outstanding researchers to the region.
The President of the NRDI Office said: at the meeting of the Competitiveness Council after the talks in Brussels Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation emphasised that the European Commission encouraged member states backing the establishment of ELI and participating in its implementation to take part in financing its operation as well. The EU commissioner mentioned the construction of the ELI infrastructures and the creation of the consortium as an example to follow for those working on similar EU projects. He said: the project clearly illustrates the power of synergies between Horizon 2020 – the EU’s research, development and innovation framework programme – and the Structural Funds.
The President of the NRDI Office pointed out: if ELI becomes an ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium), it will be easier to involve external users in financing the highly costly operation of the infrastructure in the long run. In order for a priority European research infrastructure to become an ERIC it has to meet a complex set of criteria: for example the new facility has to represent significant added value for the EU researcher community and give access to researchers subject to prearranged rules. The consortium form not only enables more effective coordination of services provided to the researcher community but also makes it possible to cover a large portion of operation costs from the contributions of organisations desiring to use the research capacities and thus joining the consortium. Besides, ERIC research infrastructures are also funded by the European Union, so the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania hosting the ELI facilities will only have to cover the smaller part of the costs.
In order to obtain the ERIC status, the Hungarian, Romanian and Czech partners undertook to develop a uniform financing model of cooperation by 31 March 2018 and to apply for the ERIC status by the summer of 2018. They also agreed on taking turns every three years to lead the consortium and rotate the seat of the consortium together with the leadership.
In addition to the President of the NRDI Office, who exercises the owner’s rights of the domestic investment, Puiu Lucian Georgescu, Romanian Minister for Research and Innovation and Václav Velčovský, Czech Deputy Minister for Education, the meeting dedicated to establishing ELI as a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) was attended by Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission and Nicola de Michelis, Head of Cabinet representing the European Commissioner for Regional Policy, as well as Zsolt Fülöp, envoy extraordinary for the international coordination of the ELI consortium.
85% co-financed from EU funds, the laser centre in Szeged is the largest research investment in Hungary in the 2014–2020 period. Its primary objective is the production of attosecond light pulses which make it possible to observe ultrafast molecular processes for research in physics, biology, chemistry, medicine and materials science. In addition to the Hungarian ELI facility, the infrastructure comprises a high-performance laser centre offering unique sources of radiation and particle beams in the Czech Republic and a research centre focusing on laser-based nuclear physics in Romania.
The system of the ELI-infrastructures as well as the proceedings of the ELI ERIC establishment was presented by Carlo Rizzuto, CEO of the ELI Consorium at the at the meeting of the Competitiveness Council.
Carlo Rizutto: Perspectives of ELI for the European research PDF (1 647 KB)
Budapest, 04 December 2017