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€4bn to keep Europe at forefront of scientific research

But some question whether price tag is too steep


Pete Carvill

The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) has published its new roadmap, calling for 11 international research labs to be built at a cost of over €4bn.

The roadmap, published earlier this week, is the latest in ESFRI’s work on ensuring that Europe remains at the cutting edge of scientific research.

However, it has been noted by some, including Science Business, that the average cost of a new lab has soared over the last five years.

Science Business wrote: “The 11 research infrastructures listed in the roadmap would cost €380m on average, a steep increase from previous plans. The average cost of a new lab in the 2018 roadmap was €112m, while in 2016 it was €148m.”

Jean-Eric Paquet, EU director general for research and innovation, was at the roadmap’s launch in Slovenia. He was reported to have said that the price tag was something that needed to be looked at.

Science Business laid out some of the more-expensive projects proposed in the roadmap.

It wrote: “The most expensive labs proposed in the ESFRI paper are the Einstein Telescope, which has a price tag of €1.9bn, and EuPRAXIA, a €569m plasma accelerator coordinated by the DESY synchrotron in Hamburg.”

It added: “As the representative of Europe’s large research labs, ESFRI periodically publishes a roadmap setting out what new, shared facilities are required to stay at the leading edge of science. Over the past 20 years, the EU has invested €20bn in research infrastructures pitched in these roadmaps. If the 11 labs proposed in the latest document were to be built, that will rise to €24bn.”

Science investing has been a subject on these pages in recent months. Back in April, Ilya Yasny, head of scientific research, EG Capital Advisors. wrote about the importance of life sciences.