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Roadmap-ul infrastructurilor de cercetare din România și condiționalitatea ex-ante a Comisiei Europene

Nou (20 februarie, 2018)

Punctul de vedere al MCI poate fi accesat aici.

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Azi, 14 februarie, Asociația Ad Astra a remis ministrului Dr Nicolae Burnete (Ministerul Cercetării și Inovării) următoarea scrisoare, adresată comisarilor europeni Carlos Moedas și Corina Crețu, pentru un punct de vedere. Acesta ar urma să fie expediat spre Comisia Europeană, alături de scrisoare, pe 21 februarie, a.c.

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Dear Commissioners,

It has come to our attention that, according to an official statement of the Romanian Ministry of Research and Innovation (RMRI) (1), the ex-ante conditionality „1.2 Research and Innovation infrastructure. The existence of a multi-annual plan for budgeting and prioritization of investments.” for Romania has been lifted as of November 11, 2017. Consequently, as part of the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds, approximately 260 million Euros will be available for the development of the country’s research infrastructure.

Although we welcome the achievement, we question the process that led to the final report on the Roadmap for Romanian Research Infrastructure (RRRI) (2). We strongly believe that it is in our national interest for the ESI Funds to be transparently distributed and spent on performant research infrastructures. Considerable doubts emerge that these two principles have not been followed, as we explain below:

  • The Romanian Committee for Research Infrastructures (RCRI) was reestablished on August 31, 2016; by appointment of the president of the National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation (restructured now as RMRI) (3). Its mandate was to revise the RRRI. A first report of RCRI was published on December 13, 2016 (4). In the “Concluding remarks” section the RCRI members refer to the SIPOCA 27 project (5) as having the means to identify functional schemes designed to monitor the available research infrastructure, especially by upgrading the ERRIS (Engage in the Romanian Research Infrastructures System) platform (6). Thus, the SIPOCA 27 project would produce the consolidated report on the RRRI in accordance to
    1. research and development priorities for the national RDI strategy;
    2. already made investments;
    3. ex-ante usage evaluation of each infrastructure;
    4. commitment to open up the research infrastructure to other stakeholders from the public sector.
  • Contrary to what the RCRI members have proposed, the RMRI, through its SIPOCA 27 project, recruited 84 national experts (7), who were given the task to evaluate the submitted proposals for inclusion in the national roadmap. The appointment of these experts is in itself questionable, in light of the RCRI recommendation that they would be appointed by the RCRI members in order to help them finalize the roadmap. Furthermore, the selection process of these experts (whose expertise we do not question here) was solely a bureaucratic one, all being ranked the same with 11 points (7).
  • Soon, after the recruitment of the 84 experts, a call for proposals was initiated by the RMRI, again contrary to the 2016 report of RCRI which stated that the ERRIS platform should be upgraded and used for the elaboration of the roadmap. As of now, this platform hosts more than 1,600 research infrastructures with their adjacent research services (8,320), technological services (140) and equipment (22,159) (6).
  • Surprisingly, the deadline for submitting such complex proposals (including impact studies for each infrastructure) was 15 (fifteen) days (8).
  • Regarding the 84 experts who evaluated the proposals (a list of the submitted proposals is not available on the MRI’s website) we have noticed that some of them are in direct conflict of interests, being general managers of R&D entities that host some of the 60 selected research infrastructures from the national roadmap (2).
  • The final report (2) on the RRRI (which, to our understanding, was sent to the European Commission) leaves the impression that it was signed by the RCRI members. However, we do have the confirmation of at least one member that he was not aware of its existence and did not sign it.

Based on all of the above, we strongly ask for an independent inquiry of the European Commission on the process that led to the fulfilment of the ex-ante conditionality on Research and Innovation infrastructure by Romania.

It’s not just in European Commission’s interest to make sure that ESI Funds are well spent, but also in our national interest to channel these funds to relevant research infrastructures.

 

Yours sincerely,

The members of the Ad Astra Association (9)


 

1. http://www.research.gov.ro/ro/articol/4684/minister-comunicare-ministrul-cercetarii-i-inovarii-a-reu-it-sa-ob-ina-ridicarea-condi-ionalita-ii-comisiei-europene
2. http://sipoca27.ro/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/RAPORT-FINAL-ROADMAP.pdf
3. http://www.research.gov.ro/ro/articol/4071/despre-ancsi-s-a-constituit-comitetul-roman-pentru-infrastructurile-cercetarii
4. http://www.research.gov.ro/uploads/cric/skm-bizhubc16121415560-v2.pdf
5. http://sipoca27.ro/?page_id=15596
6. https://erris.gov.ro/index.php?
7. http://www.research.gov.ro/ro/articol/4616/selectiei-de-dosare-la-concursul-pentru-ocuparea-posturilor-contractuale-de-expert-panel-pe-perioada-determinata-de-luni-cu-timp-par-ial-4-ore-zi-in-cadrul-proiectului-sipoca-27
8. http://www.research.gov.ro/ro/articol/4625/privind-depunerea-de-propuneri-de-mari-infrastructuri-de-cercetare-in-vederea-implementarii-procedurii-de-elaborare-a-foii-de-parcurs-si-a-realizarii-roadmap-ului-national
9. http://ad-astra.ro/whos-who/?member=1
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