SESAM opens up
To conduct first-class research, you need first-class equipment and facilities. Large sums are invested annually in research infrastructure in Sweden, in experimental equipment as well as in resources and services. The SESAM project aims to develop models that make it easier for higher education institutions and institutes to open up Sweden’s laboratory infrastructure so that more people can use it – not just other HEIs and research institutes, but also the business sector.
Swedish HEIs and research institutes host several national and international research infrastructures that they have invested – and continue to invest – billions in developing and operating. Many of these research infrastructures are specific and unique, and increased and broader use of these advanced research environments opens the door to further strengthening Sweden as a country of research and innovation.
The project's vision is to bring together the majority of the HEIs and research institutes in Sweden that have and want an open laboratory infrastructure for research in order to try to achieve a unified, legal and functional practice to better make available the infrastructure that exists.
Laboratory infrastructure refers to laboratory-based infrastructure relevant to or partly related to materials, engineering and life sciences. It also includes infrastructures that fall under the EU definition of technology infrastructures. However, a delineation is made for life sciences in the case of biobanks and human data repositories and computational infrastructure. In this project, open laboratory infrastructure refers to laboratory infrastructure that is open to external users.
Robust and transparent decision-making processes for accessibility
There are different ways for external actors to access research infrastructures, but it is not always easy for the host organisation to assess, manage and prioritise between different types of requests. It is not always transparent to laboratory infrastructure users how and under what conditions a laboratory infrastructure can be used. The existing regulatory framework is unclear and not always interpreted uniformly. The project aims to develop models to facilitate and clarify the handling of this, including how different types of requests can be classified and what effects this has on contract form, cost, etc.
There are several regulatory frameworks that a laboratory infrastructure needs to consider in order to develop its pricing, such as state aid and competition regulations and the Fees Ordinance. In addition, different models are applied depending on the nature of use. All in all, it can be difficult and complex to develop correct pricing. In this project, we intend to develop models and practices to help universities and institutes adapt their pricing to different situations and increase transparency for external users on how the price is set.
Clear handling of confidentiality
Managing data and confidentiality issues in a secure and accurate way is important, both for the laboratory infrastructure host and users. There are regulations and conditions, such as the principle of public access to information and “professor’s privilege”, which can make this challenging, for example when drawing up contracts. The SESAM project will work on these issues and develop practices and recommendations.
Occasionally people who are not employees of the laboratory infrastructure being rented need to be on site and use the equipment. In such cases, procedures are needed to manage the risks that may arise in relation to factors such as health and safety and insurance issues. The SESAM project will develop guidelines for this and share good examples of how these challenges have been overcome.