The IGA is the highest governing body of EMPHASIS during its implementation. It consists of member countries that have officially signed a Letter of Intent declaring their intention of moving EMPHASIS towards operation. The IGA makes decisions on high-level strategic aspects for the development of EMPHASIS including the following aspects:
- Scope, timeline and cost coverage scheme of implementation
- User strategy and service portfolio
- The legal form and governance
- Statutory seat country
- Cost book and funding framework
- The IGA will assume this role until EMPHASIS has established its final legal entity. From that point onwards, the responsibility of the highest governing board will be transferred to a General Assembly which yet needs to be established and which will represent the legal owners of the final EMPHASIS legal entity.
As of November 2020, eleven countries have signed the Letter of Intent, with the IGA being open for further participation.
Current IGA members include:
- The Netherlands
- United Kingdom
Countries that recognise the strategic importance of EMPHASIS and are willing to work towards the setup of EMPHASIS can sign a Letter of Intent. By providing this signature, they
- Become IGA members with voting rights and can thus actively participate in decision-making on the future of EMPHASIS.
- Recognise that an EMPHASIS Interim Assembly of Members has been set up to enable high-level input, discussions and decision-making for strategic issues concerning the establishment of EMPHASIS.
- Declare their willingness to work towards EMPHASIS setup through positive and active participation through required meetings and activities.
- Agree to cover their own participation costs for IGA meetings.
The Letter of Intent does NOT create any legally binding obligations to the signatories.
Countries interested in joining the IGA are requested to contact the EMPHASIS Coordination Office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Potential members which have not yet signed the Letter of Intent can join as observers without voting rights for up to one year. They can thus follow and participate in the discussion, but they are not eligible to take part in decision-making.
The IGA has jointly identified Rules of Procedures regulating collaboration of members. Accordingly,
- Members and observers appoint up to two representatives (from ministry and scientific level) being authorised to act on behalf of them.
- The IGA meets on a regular basis (at least every six month) in person or by other means such as videoconference.
The work of the IGA is supported by an EMPHASIS Coordination Office (located at Forschungszentrum Jülich), providing administrative and logistic support, taking minutes and managing a repository of documents.