How was EMPHASIS established?
EMPHASIS results from consistent development of plant phenotyping infrastructure funded by both Member States and the European Commission through the Research Infrastructure programmes. For example, there are national platforms such as Phenome-FPPN or DPPN with the goal of building phenotyping capacity on national level. A number of these platforms were also available for access for the European plant science community within the FP7 funded EU project EPPN. A number of other FP7 and H2020 projects has been addressing dedicated scientific questions using plant phenotyping infrastructure, e.g. projects within ERA-CAPS.
Research Infrastructure has specific challenges:
- Linking phenotyping development with demands
- Generating flexible instruments to support demands from diverse stakeholders
- Building expensive infrastructure in a coordinated manner to fit the demand across Europe
- Generating interoperability between infrastructures
- Generating access to state-of-the-art infrastructures
- Generating sustainable development and use of infrastructures (incl. running cost and availability) in an increasingly volatile and short-term funding environment
- Generating a framework for a mid-term perspective
In order to address these challenges and to establish the pan-European plant phenotyping community and to develop complementary infrastructure based on the demand of users, as well as enable access to these infrastructure, an EMPHASIS proposal was submitted by the German and French ESFRI delegation. In total 4 participating countries (BE, DE, FR, UK) were involved in initiating the EMPHASIS proposal. Additionally EMPHASIS was also supported by other governments and a large number of institutions and companies. EMPHASIS was approved by the ESFRI forum and is listed now on the ESFRI Roadmap that was published on March 10, 2016.
The next step is the further development of EMPHASIS include the EMPHASIS preparatory phase. The goal of that preparatory phase defined in the EMPHASIS-PREP H2020 project is the establishment of the legal entity and business plan for a long-term operation of EMPHASIS.