High-quality equipment and state-of-the-art research facilities contribute substantially to technological and social innovation. "Scientific research is the key to progress," says State Secretary Dekker. "Excellent science is impossible without a high-quality and accessible research infrastructure. The National Roadmap is about the tools that scientists need to perform their important scientific work for society."
Earlier this year, the Permanent Committee for Large-Scale Infrastructure conducted a landscape analysis in which it identified approximately 160 existing and new research facilities in need of investment. There are insufficient funds to support all facilities in the Netherlands, however. That is why a selection of research facilities has been made based on their importance to science. Facilities were also selected based on their compatibility with strategic priorities, such as the Dutch National Research Agenda, the top sectors and the European roadmap for large-scale research facilities (ESFRI).
FOM on the roadmap
FOM and the FOM-Institutes are involved in the following projects on the roadmap: the High Field Magnet Laboratory (HFML) and the FELIX Laboratory cluster, NanoLabNL, the Netherlands Facility for Solar energy research, Dutch Belgian Beamlines at ESRF (DUBBLE), gratiational wave observatory Einstein Telescope, neutrino telescope KM3NeT and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
First allocations in 2018
Mid-2017 research facilities on the Roadmap can submit their requests for funding. The first allocations are planned for early 2018. The Roadmap for Large-Scale Scientific Infrastructure will run for four years. The next update of the National Roadmap will take place sometime in 2020. The Permanent Committee will evaluate the design of the current Roadmap following the upcoming round of funding. Limited additions can be made to this National Roadmap in urgent situations.
Clustering of facilities to promote cooperation
In creating an overview of research facilities in the Netherlands during the landscape analysis, the Committee already confirmed the need for facilities to improve harmonisation and increase collaboration to reduce the required investment. Various facilities are requesting similar equipment, for example, and new investments are being made or planned despite the fact that there is still capacity at existing facilities.
This is why the Committee decided to use clusters of research facilities for the 2016–2020 Roadmap. The Committee has asked these clusters to draft a joint investment plan. "This will lead to greater collaboration and harmonisation," says Permanent Committee chair Hans Van Duijn, "as well as the most efficient use of our limited resources as possible." In addition to 16 individual facilities, the Roadmap consists of 17 clusters.
In order to determine the strategic frameworks for these investments for a longer period of time the Cabinet asked NWO in its '2025 Vision for Science' to appoint a Permanent Committee for Large-Scale Scientific Infrastructure. On 24 June 2016 the Committee presented its first detailed inventory of the research facility landscape as it launched the website onderzoeksfaciliteiten.nl. This website provides the first overview of available large-scale infrastructure in the Netherlands.