EST Board chooses ERIC as favorite legal figure for EST

Last April 18th 2018 the EST Board for its Preparatory Phase (PRE-EST) held its annual meeting in Belfast (UK). The principal objective of PRE-EST is to provide both the EST international consortium and the funding agencies with a detailed plan regarding the implementation of EST.

Based on its excellence and maturity, EST became on March 2016 part of the ESFRI Projects list as a strategic facility for the European Community. This fact led to a subsequent speed-up of the project towards its current Preparatory Phase.

During this meeting, the EST Board addressed fundamental issues for the success of the project. Progress made on strategic and technical aspects was presented and a deep analysis of the future governance structure and the financial status of the project was carried out.

A key point of the meeting was the discussion on the future legal figure for EST. After a detailed analysis and a successive discussion of the different alternatives, the Board decided unanimously that the most appropriate legal figure for the project is a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) located in Spain.

EST partners have devoted an important effort during the last years to explore possible legal frameworks and related governance schemes in order to provide the means for the agencies to jointly establish, construct and operate EST as a new research infrastructure. Following a thorough comparison, the present main EST governing body, the EST Board, agrees that the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) is the most appropriate structure, providing, among other advantages, the adequate framework for trans-national cooperation among partners as well as the desired sustainability for the project lifetime.

The experience shows that the ERIC legal figure implies a wider political visibility, also paving the way with key European funding agencies, policy and other decision makers. ERIC privileges/exemptions are also relevant.

The negotiation and approval procedure for setting up an ERIC is carried out at national level. As a result of this PRE-EST Board decision, the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Competitiveness and Industry will initiate the ERIC negotiations process with the corresponding governmental authorities of the EST partners.

 

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