The following selection and hosting process takes place as a yearly campaign:
Who can apply?
- A User Group is a research team of one or more people given access to an infrastructure for the same project. A User Group Leader leads each User Group.
- To be eligible to benefit from access to the infrastructure,
a User Group must satisfy the following two conditions:
- The User Group Leader and the majority of the team must work
for an institution (public or private) established in:
- The EU Member States: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
- The following EU Associated Countries:
- Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey.
- Other countries may become associated during the course of FP7. The latest news will be posted on the CORDIS website.
- The user group leader and the majority of the users must work in a country other than the country(ies) where the legal entity(ies) operating the infrastructure is(are) established.
- Access to the infrastructure is also open to international scientists and organisations outside EU. However, this is only possible if the majority of the User Group works in EU or Associated Countries. Please contact us for more information.
- The User Group Leader and the majority of the team must work for an institution (public or private) established in:
How to apply?
If you have never submitted a project, you are obligatory asked to contact the access team to check the scientific feasiblity of your projects
Contact us before any submissions:
User Groups requesting access are required to submit a complete SFERA User Research Proposal Form (SURPF) which includes all the following information:
- Title of the proposed project
- Project acronym
- The infrastructure to which the research group wishes access (for application to more than one facility, please send separate proposals).
- Submitter: Home Institute, Department, Legal Status…
- A short explanation identifying the research group and its current lines of research.
- Brief CV of the User Group Leader, including a short list of the most relevant papers.
- Information about the proposed project.
- How did you hear about SFERA?
- Summary Report Commitment.
We ask you to fill the form before the deadline displayed in the News!
What is funded?
No funding is directly given to the User Group. Instead, through SFERA Access Providers, the European Commission takes in charge the access cost to the infrastructure and the accommodation expenses of the selected User Groups’ members.
How the projects are selected?
- A Selection Panel is composed of 5 independent experts in related research areas, especially energy, for all the campaigns. At least half of the panel is not associated to any of the proposed infrastructures.
- Each Access Provider sets up a technical evaluation panel to check the feasibility and the technical relevance of the projects regarding to the requested infrastructure. The Access Provider also confirms that the projects comply with the EU grant agreement to benefit with free of charge access to the infrastructure. These evaluation panels assess all proposals received and follow their observations to the Selection Panel.
- The Selection Panel bases its selection on scientific merit, taking into account
that priority should be given to User Groups composed of users who:
- have not previously used the facility, and
- are working in countries where no such research facilities exist.
This procedure is to ensure the transparency, fairness and impartiality of the selection.
How the working stays occur?
- The selected date, the technical details of the stay and for the accommodation are prepared together between the User Group Leader and the Access Provider, or their representatives.
- Each selected User Group sends one to three people simultaneously, for periods ranging between one and four weeks, as defined with the Access Provider.
- Different deliverables are expected at the end of the stays.
What are the expected project deliverables?
- No later than two weeks after the end of their stay, User Group Leader must send the SFERA summary report form (for further details on the SFERA request Summary Report Form, contact facility to which the research group has had access) on their opinions regarding technical and organisational aspects of the service received. This information will be used to improve programme performance in following campaigns and reports to the European Commission.
- Complete the User Group Questionnaire available on-line at
Note the number for the SFERA EC Grant Agreement : SFERA – 228296
Project full title: Solar Facilities for the European Research Area
- Users are requested to communicate any publication resulting from their experiments under this access programme and to acknowledge both European Community support: Financial support by the Access to Research Infrastructures activity in the 7th Framework Programme of the EU (SFERA Grant Agreement n. 228296) is gratefully acknowledged and the use of the facilities and its researchers/technology experts.
- The publication of at least one paper in a peer-review scientific journal is expected.
- Annual Reports of the User Group access activity will be included in the Periodic Progress Reports
The European Commission is authorised to publish the list of the users, in whatever form and whatever medium, including internet.
What if I want to know more?
Please, send us any questions you may have concerning the program to