What is the GSO?

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Global challenges and complex science cases need Global Research Infrastructures (GRIs). The GSO is the international cooperation forum on GRIs.

The group serves the shared policy goals of its member countries in ensuring that world class Research Infrastructures are available to promote high quality research, in particular in areas which require international cooperation on global challenges or where it makes sense to pool investments to secure the best value for money.

The Group:

  • Identifies Research Infrastructures (RIs) of global interest;
  • Analyses how countries evaluate and prioritise the construction of large scale RIs;
  • Identifies new areas of possible cooperation and fosters “distributed” RIs;
  • Promotes transnational access to GRIs;
  • Identifies good practices and analyses case studies;
  • Adopts a common understanding for key challenges, such as data management, innovation or GRI lifecycle management.

The GSO is composed of representatives from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Commission, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, UK and USA. The OECD is an observer to ensure good coordination with the Global Science Forum (GSF).

The European Commission manages the GSO’s executive secretariat. Meetings are held every 6 to 8 months with the hosting country taking up the chairmanship of the group until the following event.

List of senior officials and accompanying experts

How to join the GSO?

The GSO is open to applications from countries hosting a significant number of Research Infrastructures, either global or of global interest. If your country wants to join the GSO, please send an email from the Senior Official in charge of Research Infrastructures to the GSO Secretariat. The application will be submitted to the following GSO meeting. Additional information may be requested.

The GSO Framework

To help RIs determine how close they are to being “global”, the GSO developed a “Framework” that identifies a set of 14 key principles (criteria). Any RI can use the Framework, although it primarily concerns GRIs and National Facilities of Global Interest (NFGI):

  • The GSO framework defines a GRI as a facility whose governance and services are fundamentally international in character;
  • A National Facility of Global Interest is defined in the GSO Framework as a facility with unique capabilities that attract wide interest from researchers outside of the host nation.

If you believe your facility is a GRI or a NFGI, you can download the GSO Framework and self-assess your alignment with each of its criteria.

Why assess your alignment with the GSO Framework?

  • Self-awareness:
    • You can identify your strengths and weaknesses as a GRI;
    • The Framework draws your attention to some potentially neglected issues;
    • It helps you set priorities, decide which areas you should focus on, and how.
  • Communication and outreach:
    • Showing that you are a GRI increases your international visibility and helps you establish partnerships;
    • It increases your attractiveness, both as an employer and as a host for visiting researchers;
    • Your funding agencies / sponsors may consider it an asset;
    • It serves internal communication purposes, fostering staff adhesion to a common goal.

Global Excellence-driven Access

The GSO Framework criterion 8 reads as:

The  GRI  policies  should  reflect  the  global-Excellence-driven  Access  (gEA)  paradigm through  publication  of  a  clear  and  transparent  access  goal.  The  goal  should incorporate  a  peer-reviewed  process  that  recommends  access  based  on  the  most promising  emergent  ideas,  regardless  of  the  country  of  origin  or  the  ability  of  the proposer to contribute financially.

In order to help RIs voluntary document their alignment with the principles of global Excellence-driven Access, the GSO has issued a Declaration of Intent.

You can download this declaration, sign it and use it for your own policy, management or communication purposes. Please also send a pdf copy of the signed declaration to the GSO secretariat for safekeeping.