Value of large research infrastructures
Although these facilities are primarily designed to support research needs, their impact goes beyond the production of scientific results and knowledge. Their conception, construction and operation are almost always associated with unique technological developments, data management systems and highly skilled staff.
Large-scale facilities offer rare or unique research tools, which permit new research questions to be posed and increase the likelihood of breakthroughs in understanding, and such insight may have profound social benefits. Similarly, large-scale infrastructures provide access to unique equipment, data or services for a diverse user base, including businesses working with academic groups or carrying out their own proprietary research and innovation, and can provide a focal point for clusters of scientists and engineers, along with high-value, high-technology service companies.