MERIL Background and Funding

The importance of research infrastructures

In the report 'EUROHORCs and ESF Vision on a Globally Competitive ERA and their Road Map for Actions' (2009), the ESF and the European Heads of Research Councils (EUROHORCs) highlighted the need to develop shared funding and exploitation of research infrastructures. In January 2010, the ESF launched a Member Organisation Forum to address this issue among its members and with other key players in Europe. The importance of Research Infrastructures as a corner stone of the European Research Area was once more endorsed in the 'Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative Innovation Union' communication of the European Commission (2010). There is consensus in Europe that the scientific community and policy-makers would benefit from a comprehensive inventory of the research infrastructures of Europe.

The timeline of the MERIL project

As of 1 March 2016, MERIL operates with a European Commission H2020 grant (Project # 654296) as MERIL-2, a three-year project to expand and improve the MERIL database and portal.
From 2013 to 2016, MERIL’s operating budget was provided by ESF Member Organisations (MO) following a vote at the ESF Assembly in 2012. This vote by the ESF members confirmed the continuing need for the inventory of existing RIs, both as a baseline for policy-making and as a source of information for scientists.

In July 2009 the European Commission issued a Call under FP7 aimed at updating an earlier European Portal on Research Infrastructures' Services. With the support of key stakeholders, ESF submitted a proposal to the European Commission in December 2009. The proposal was successful and the European Commission provided funding for the first MERIL project, which was launched in October 2010 for a two-year period. The first MERIL portal went live in 2013.


Go to the MERIL portal

The MERIL project is supported by the European Commission under Horizon 2020 from March 2016 to February 2020. From January 2013 to February 2016 it was supported by the ESF member organisations. From October 2010 and December 2012 it was supported by the European Commission under Framework Programme 7.