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Joint Statement by the EIROforum Council and the National Laboratory Directors’ Council

The National Laboratory Directors’ Council and the EIROforum Council held a remote meeting on 13 January, 2021, to discuss general areas for stronger collaboration including the scientific response to the present COVID-19 pandemic. They affirmed their common commitment to explore collaboration avenues and sharing of best practices.

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates what many of us hold as a firm belief: scientific knowledge and its transformation into technological and healthcare know-how, are our best tools to control and master any kind of sanitary threat.  In fact, techniques and procedures developed over decades of fundamental and applied research in our quest to understand the mechanisms of life at microscopic level should enable us to overcome rapidly the present pandemic. By virtue of these techniques, we were able to perform rapidly the tests required to identify the virus and track down its whereabouts. By transforming scientific knowledge into healthcare, the community of researchers has contributed to slowing down the virus’s progress with sophisticated vaccines developed in less than a year.

Our past investments in science and scientific infrastructure prepared us to face this particular challenge and today’s investments will ensure our societies’ resilience and further progress in the future. Society benefits enormously from these investments.

Although the pandemic occupies the centre of our attention today, other challenges lie ahead, that’s why we must remain active on all fronts. On our path to shed light on the fundamentally unknown, we are often pushed to the highest levels of inventiveness.

Scientific research is, by definition, a preparation for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. The directors of major US and European Research Laboratories are fully aware of their responsibilities to enable R&D at the highest levels of excellence. At their January meeting, they discussed ways to jointly enhance their capacity to fulfil their respective missions. Sharing the same values, and convinced that science performs best through collaboration, the National Laboratory Directors’ Council and EIROforum Council have decided to explore ways to strengthen co-ordination by exchanging best practices and developing the interests they hold in common for the benefit of humanity.