José Luis Martínez, a research professor at the Materials Science Institute in Madrid (ICMM-CSIC), has been elected as the new Director-General of ESFRI, the eighth since this strategic forum, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), was created in 2002. His mandate will begin in January 2024 and will last for two years.
"I understand ESFRI as a coordination mechanism for large research infrastructures that has the European Commission as its 'cement' and has worked very well so far," explains Martínez. Now he has an "intense period," in his own words, where the main challenge will be to develop a new roadmap for major European scientific facilities. "That means reviewing the existing ones, monitoring their performance, and, on the other hand, evaluating new proposals for scientific facilities. Obviously, the Chair has to manage that whole process," explains Martínez, who has been assigned a newly created secretariat to assist him in the task.
This is not the only objective of the newly elected director. Martínez speaks, among other things, about the need to consolidate integration into the European Research Area (ERA) and to improve coordination between major scientific infrastructures. "Political coordination between states is important to launch new facilities, but there is a second part when the facility already exists, and each one is an independent entity, in which I believe ESFRI can make more efforts to improve coordination." "It's not that it doesn't exist, but it can be improved, and that is very important in times of crisis," he adds.
Martínez knows what he is talking about since, in addition to having held various management and coordination positions in different national and international entities, he has been involved with ESFRI since 2013. In fact, he has been a member of the Executive Board (2013-2016) and has been the director of the ESFRI Strategic Working Group on Physical Sciences and Engineering (2016 - 2021), which has earned him the unanimous trust of the forum.
Jana Kolar, ESFRI Chair, expressed her confidence in Martínez: "I am confident that the experience, knowledge of Research Infrastructures and dedication, combined with the support of a well-connected community will enable José Luis to further enhance ESFRI, for the benefit of its stakeholders.”
“I extend my sincere and hearty congratulations to the Chair-elect, José Luis. The current mandate was not short of challenges, such as increased energy prices, which strongly impacted the research infrastructure community," she said, and added: "Yet, with the help of my committed colleagues from the countries and the EC, as well as the infrastructures and other stakeholders, I believe we now have a more resilient and sustainable system."
For her part, Anna Panagopoulou, Director for ERA & Innovation at the European Commission, congratulated José Luis Martínez and celebrated that he has "an impressive track record as a researcher, manager of large scale research infrastructures, and as Delegation member in ESFRI". "Through his former activities as ESFRI Executive Board member and Strategy Working Group chair for physical sciences and engineering he has an intimate knowledge of the functioning of ESFRI,” said Panagopoulou.
The director for ERA & Innovation at the EC also remembered that during the next term 2024-2025 ESFRI "should further continue its integration in the new ERA policy and continue strengthening the links with a broad range of stakeholders." According to her, "this will help promoting not only scientific excellence and knowledge creation but further reinforce the role of Research Infrastructures as actors in innovation and knowledge transfer".
José Luis Martínez is a Research Professor at the Material Science Institute (ICMM), from the Higher Research Council (CSIC), in Madrid, Spain, with a long experience in Large Research Infrastructures (RI) in Nagoya Institut of Technology (Nagoya, Japan), Brookhaven Nat. Lab (BNL, NY-USA), Institut Laue Langevin (ILL, Grenoble-France) and ESS-Bilbao (Bilbao, Spain) as user of the RIs as well as manager of different RIs. Among others, he was Associated Director for Research in the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (2004-2007), Associated Director of ILL (2007-2012) and Director General of ESS-Bilbao, in charge of the Spanish in-kind contribution to the European Spallation Source (Lund, Sweden) RI. and member of the “Commission National d’Évaluation” (CNE-2) of the French Parlament (“Office parlementaire d’évaluation des choix scientifiques et technologiques”, OPECST) since 2017.
-- Ángela R. Bonachera - ICMM Communication and Outreach Office --