Among the 99 national infrastructures, DATA TERRA is the reference infrastructure for digital in the environmental field

DATA TERRA is a research infrastructure in the field of earth system and environment.

Research infrastructures : presentation


The objectives of the Horizon 2020 programme are to develop European research infrastructures of excellence for 2020 and beyond, to promote their innovation potential and human resources, and to strengthen European policy.

What are research infrastructures?

R.I.s are facilities, resources and services that are used by researchers to carry out their work and foster innovation in their own scientific fields.

Where appropriate, they may be used for education or to support other public policies such as health, safety, environmental preservation, and French presence abroad.

They include :

remarkable scientific equipment – or sets of instruments;
cognitive resources such as scientific collections, archives and libraries;
virtual infrastructures, such as databases, computer systems and communication networks;
as well as any other infrastructure or observation network of a unique nature essential to enable their user scientists to carry out their research and innovation work in an ideal environment of excellence.
These infrastructures may be “single-site”, “virtual” or “distributed”.

Infrastructures: essential tools for research?
Infrastructures have become indispensable elements for more and more communities of researchers.

Thanks to their exceptional performance and their openness to more and more scientific communities, they have helped to federate these communities and have enabled them to make remarkable advances in several fields of physics, biology and materials.

Their exceptional character has also been asserted through the observation and measurement networks of society and its physical and ecological environments.

The explosion in the use of large communication networks has boosted a phenomenal virtualization of research and innovation activities.

Some of these networks are connected to global networks – virtual and real – because certain societal issues in terms of health, energy or climate are now to be considered in a global way.

What types of infrastructure?

There are four types of infrastructures:

The scale of the scientific and technological challenges, as well as the costs of building and operating these infrastructures, require collaboration and significant human and financial resources, very often international. The Ministry of Higher Education, Research and lʼInnovation distinguishes four types of infrastructure according to their national or international character, their mode of governance and their budgetary support:

  • international organizations (IO) based on an intergovernmental convention,
  • Very Large Research Infrastructures (VLRIs), which are part of a government strategy,
  • research infrastructures (IR) implemented directly by the CNRS and its partners,
  • projects that have not yet reached full maturity.
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