What is the GSO

The potential for increased international cooperation on Global Research Infrastructures (GRIs) has for a long time been recognised during international high-level meetings on science policy.

At the first G8 Science Ministers’ meeting, held in Okinawa on 15 June 2008, it was decided to establish a Group of Senior Officials on global research infrastructures that would take stock of the existing situation and informally explore new collaboration opportunities. The GSO has been active since 2011.

The group was set up to:

  • identify research infrastructures of global interest
  • analyse how countries evaluate and prioritise the construction of large scale Research Infrastructures
  • identify possible new areas of cooperation
  • promote transnational access to global research infrastructures
  • foster “distributed infrastructures”
  • identify measures to ensure that scientific data is appropriately handled, stored and accessed
  • adopt a common understanding for the joint lifecycle management of global research infrastructures

How it’s organised

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 Commission also manages its 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

Activities and achievements


  • promotes the concept of access to GRIs on the basis of merit analysis through peer review
  • explores how GRIs drive innovation
  • investigates the role of GRIs in sharing and managing scientific data, especially by reinforcing engagement with community-based activities such as the Research Data Alliance 
  • refines and updates the GSO framework
  • identifies good practices
  • explores potential for existing research infrastructures to be opened up to international partners
  • analyses case studies


In its first years of work, the GSO developed a framework that identified a set of key principles (criteria) to be addressed when presenting a Research Infrastructure as a candidate for international partnership.

This framework was approved by the G7 in 2013, along with a white paper on data which contained five principles for an Open Data Infrastructure as well as for effective research data management.

A major milestone was creating a list of exemplary Global Research Infrastructures that can be found in the 2017 report. 

The GSO has also developed a toolkit for global research infrastructures that aims to help your infrastructure.