The "Group of Senior Officials" (GSO) on global research infrastructures provides competent advice to the Science Ministers of the G7 nations. The GSO presented a progress report to the Science Ministers in October 2015.
Research nowadays is taking place not only at individual university laboratories and institutes or other research establishments: in many areas, research outcome requires the involvement of multinational or even global institutions. In basic scientific research, these one-of-a-kind centres include CERN in Geneva with its Large Hadron Collider (LHC), or the European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility (XFEL) which is being built in Hamburg. There are critical global infrastructure institutions in other areas, too, for example for the collection of biological samples or social science data. Research infrastructures located at more than one site are becoming increasingly important in light of issues of global relevance such as poverty-related diseases or marine pollution whose solution will require joint international effort. These infrastructures collect data for which large data infrastructures are being developed and whose maintenance and processing require appropriate multinational input.
The joint efforts to build European or international research infrastructures are helping countries to make use of the synergies of a globalized world and the greater mobility of knowledge and researchers. The Group of Senior Officials (GSO) was formed after the first meeting of the G8 Science Ministers in Okinawa in 2008 to enable the exchange of information about planned new research infrastructure of global relevance and to provide competent advice to national science ministries. The members of the group are experts with experience in research infrastructures who engage in regular exchange. The group's mandate was renewed at the G8 Science Ministers meeting in the United Kingdom in 2013. The GSO is now a global forum for the planning and networking as well as further development of global research infrastructures – akin to the ESFRI Forum at the purely European level.
The GSO presented the report on their work during the meeting of the G7 Science Ministers in Berlin in October 2015.