Whoever has run a long-distance race knows that the final lap is very special: you see the line and although exhausted from the long way behind, you mobilize all remaining power for the finish. On 1st September we entered the final lap on our long-distance race for ICOS ERIC: the European Commission and the national governments of eight founding countries agreed on a final version of the statutes of ICOS ERIC which were then given to the translation process into all official EU languages. In a few weeks we can expect a written procedure by the Commission to put ICOS ERIC into place.
While running this final lap, a lot of internal processes have to reach their conclusion. The most important activities during the past years were the specification of our sites in all three observational networks and the clear description of our data life cycle. These efforts were laborious and not always easy to manage. However, we are also here close to the finish line and I see that many people inside our community are working hard to get there.
I want to thank all of you for this strong and continuous work and loyalty for our common goal to make this important research infrastructure reality. Let’s run the final lap together with a mixture of excitement, elevated concentration, pleasant anticipation and – yes! – also a bit of pride that we are a strong community that is able to run together such a long distance.
On the finish line we might then realize that we have booked a triathlon: (i) running for an ERIC (ii) making it operational and (iii) further developing it. I am looking forward to that because I know that there is an enthusiastic ICOS RI community.
Werner Kutsch, Director General