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Two major pan-European research infrastructures have found their home in the Netherlands, which is the first and only member state to date fully ready to host an ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium) in the European Union (EU).
SHARE (Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe) and CLARIN (Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure) are the first two pan-European research infrastructures that were accorded an EU legal personality as ERICs in March 2011 and February 2012, respectively. Unlike CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), which is also a common research facility but set up as an international treaty organisation, ERIC derives its legal personality directly from the European Council’s ERIC Regulation (2009) which is understood to be less time-consuming and cumbersome to pursue.
Since the establishment of ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) in 2002, 48 common (European) research infrastructures have been planned to provide Europe with state-of-the-art research facilities by pooling resources from different member states. The creation of an EU ERIC legal status for such infrastructures is seen as a significant step towards overcoming the limits of national and international laws governing the operation of these common facilities. An ERIC can benefit from exemptions from VAT and excise duty in all EU member states and also enjoys various administrative advantages. The ERIC status, however, does not bring with it additional funds from the European Commission.European Commission – Joint Research Centre ESFRI Strategy Report on Research Infrastructures – Roadmap 2010 European Commission – Research and Innovation