From 11 to 13 February 2020 , the partners of EHRI (European Holocaust Research Infrastructure) gathered at the Institut für Zeitgeschichte in Munich for the official kick-off of the ‘preparatory phase funding’.
This preparatory phase funding began in December 2019 and is a three-year project funding by the European Commission aimed at making the transition from a project, such as the two first phases of existence of EHRI, towards a permanente research infrastructure. This implies that the funding also changes, from a project-based funding, which is temporary by definition, towards a permanent and sustainable funding.
Setting up a research infrastructure is a long-winded process that requires rigurous preparation, as juridical, financial, and policy issues must be addressed and a research strategy must be fleshed out. Getting preparations started is precisely what the preparatory phase funding is all about.
The kick-off was an opportunity for the different partners – for Belgium: State Archives/CegeSoma and Kazerne Dossin - to get to know each other within the framework of the meetings about the different work packages, to get a better overview of the priority tasks and to especially to get a better understanding of the relationships between the different work packages.
A panel discussion with ‘experience experts’ about ‘how to set up a research infrastructure’, hosted by our collega Adina Babesh, made this still rather abstract project a little more tangible.
In any case, it has become clear that the new phase that EHRI has now entered will certainly be different from a classic research project, which has a very content-oriented and scientific focus. Now has come the time to create the framework conditions in order to further (transnational) research, improve international co-operation between researchers, make collections more accessible to researchers and more user-friendly.