Edited by Dimitris G. Assimakopoulos, Ilan Oshri and Krsto Pandza
Chapter 9: The position and role of research infrastructures in the materials science network
Since the launch of the European Commission’s 6th Framework Programme, the importance of instrumental institutions called ‘research infrastructures’ (RIs) has played an increasing role in the European Research Area, becoming of its one key pillars. These actors can be defined in short as ‘essential or unique facilities used by the (international) scientific community to conduct research in any field of science or technology’. In other terms, an RI can be understood as an entity that provides access to cutting-edge scientific equipment and research services to the scientific community, thus promoting the exchange and diffusion of both knowledge and know-how towards all types of research organizations. The present chapter focuses on one research area where RIs are particularly important, namely materials sciences. This field aims at exploring the fundamental properties and characteristics of materials, a type of research which has a very wide application scope, ranging from metallurgy to nanotechnology.
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