Since research has become strongly dependent on electronic Infrastructures (e-Infrastructures) including data-intensive Research Infrastructures, these are recognised as critical, not only for researchers, but also for the general public. The general public will be affected if Research Infrastructures and e-Infrastructures fail to provide their services, which are used to provide answers to global challenges (e.g. COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines rapidly developed with global collaboration supported by RIs/e-Infrastructures). The session aims to highlight this vital role of e-Infrastructures in such transient situations, which need to be reliable, resilient, reconfigurable and highly available, being able to recover from failures and adapt to such situations. Specific cases in terms of management and use of research infrastructures are reported, including support requests from governments, along with lessons learnt from the current threats. These include the on-going COVID-19 crisis, as well as volcano eruptions, earthquakes, and extreme weather conditions, like heat waves with extreme temperatures.
In-line with the Slovenian EU Presidency priorities and the European Research Area (ERA) Policy Agenda action on “Deepening the ERA through inclusive gender equality”, this session highlights two interconnected topics, gender balance and career development in Research Infrastructures and e-Infrastructures. The main focus is to provide researchers with gender equality, equal opportunities, inclusiveness and attractive and sustainable working conditions and careers. The session thus aims to highlight some good practices from research and academia, paying particular attention to Research Infrastructures/ e-Infrastructures, which also have an operational dimension and face difficulties in keeping talented employees under the public sector.
One of the priorities of the Slovenian EU Presidency entitled "A credible and secure European Union, capable of ensuring security and stability in its neighbourhood" is paying special attention to the development in the Western Balkans region (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Serbia) also with regard to the enlargement of the EU.
Research Infrastructures and electronic infrastructures (e-Infrastructures) are key enablers for research collaboration across the globe, and are even more important in regions with long-standing disagreements. Research networking and establishment of National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) are fundamental to interconnect researchers and thus bridge the digital divide between parts of the SEE region and the rest of Europe. The session aims to provide insights into the latest developments to further research and education in the Western Balkans region via relevant work on the development of such infrastructures, including related foresight studies, as a means for integration with Europe and foundation for economic development.