On April 1st, 2019 the European evaluation agencies HCÉRES (France), ANVUR (Italy), and AEI (Spain) signed a framework agreement to collaborate and coordinate in the evaluation of the European Consortia for Research Infrastructures (European Research Infrastructure Consortium – erics), creating the ERIEC (European Research Infrastructure Evaluation Consortium).
ERIC is the instrument developed since 2009 by the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) and confers legal personality on consortia, recognised in all EU Member States. Defined by European Regulation 723/2009/EC of June 25th, 2009, as updated in 2013 by Regulation 1261/2013/EC, the ERIC shall allow the establishment and operation of new or existing Research Infrastructure Networks of European interest.
The main activity of the ERIEC consortium is the mandatory evaluation of ERICs for European Research Infrastructure Networks with ERIC status (20 consortia covering different fields of research). The two-step assessment (preliminary self-assessment by the ERIC infrastructure, followed by an external evaluation, also conducted through an on-site visit, by a committee of international experts selected by the ERIEC Consortium).
The first Consortium to be evaluated is the European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN-ERIC), a European network of research centers for the development and implementation of multinational clinical trials, which acquired the legal status of ERIC in 2013. The evaluation, coordinated by the French agency HCÉRES, ended at the end of 2019 with the publication of the final evaluation report.
Operating at the request of the ERICs, the ERIEC Consortium offers them an evaluation system based on European and international best practices in the field of quality assurance. The common objective is to encourage wider adhesion to the nascent Consortium by other independent international evaluation agencies.