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10 Years of Research Excellence as a European Infrastructure

SHARE-ERIC is celebrating its 10th anniversary as the first European Research Infrastructure Consortium

In March 2021, SHARE-ERIC is celebrating its 10th Anniversary as the first European Research Infrastructure Consortium ever. SHARE-ERIC is the legal entity behind SHARE, the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. The establishment as a European Research Infrastructure Consortium assists SHARE in its research activities on highly topical health and socio-economic issues for Europe and beyond. “SHARE is a unique observatory for policy effects over the life course and for people‘s reactions to policies and events like reforms and crises. Our aim is to improve people’s quality of life with high-quality research on their health and socio-economic living situations and to help making policy reforms more targeted to the needs of people”, says SHARE-ERIC Managing Director, Prof. Dr. h. c. Axel Börsch-Supan, PhD.

SHARE has set new standards in research and scientific data collection: Over the years, it built an operative infrastructure with research teams in 27 European countries and Israel. All continental member states of the European Union participate in SHARE. The survey’s large-scale design has encouraged the SHARE team to come up with constant conceptual improvements, bearing plenty innovations in the fields of methodology. Furthermore, SHARE data enabled researchers all over the world to practice in-depth and topical research in a variety of research fields, from biology to demography, economics, epidemiology, gerontology, medicine, psychology, public health, sociology, and more. To date, more than 12,000 researchers in 75 countries are working with SHARE data and have produced more than 3,000 SHARE-based publications. The number of publications and users are steadily increasing. In 2020, SHARE registered one new publication every day on average. Research based on SHARE data can be used as a valuable tool for evidence-based policy making - among others - for the European Commission, the OECD, the WHO and several national governments.

SHARE-ERIC has reached a huge number of milestones over the last 10 years: 

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SHARE-ERIC´s rooting in the European Research Area
In March 2011, when SHARE had already been operating for seven years, the EU Commission laid the foundation for its establishment in the European Research Area by announcing SHARE to become the first European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) ever. Another important goal was achieved when the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) appointed SHARE-ERIC an ESFRI landmark in 2016. SHARE-ERIC constantly grew and gained new members: The founding members of SHARE-ERIC have been Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany and the Netherlands, with Switzerland having an observer status. Italy joined in June 2011, followed by Greece, Israel, Slovenia and Sweden in 2013, Poland in 2014, France in 2015, Hungary in 2017, Croatia and Cyprus in 2018, and Bulgaria in 2019. Further SHARE countries are currently in the preparation of achieving the status as ERIC member. In 2016 SHARE reached full coverage in the European Union by including all continental EU member states plus Switzerland and Israel. In May 2017, SHARE-ERIC, with 13 other ERICs, established the ERIC Forum – an undertaking that entered new territory in collaboration of ERICs and has since become an important pillar in the European Research Area. Meanwhile 21 ERICs are members of the Forum, including SHARE. Beginning 2019, SHARE-ERIC worked together with the ERICs ESS and CESSDA to build the Social Sciences and Humanities Open Cloud (SSHOC) cluster project, which is realizing the social sciences and humanities part of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). Further cluster projects supported by the European Commission´s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) in which SHARE was involved were DASISH and SERISS. They offered the frame to achieve common goals, for instance a common software or the handling of ethical issues. Since its preparation phase, SHARE has been continuously supported by the European Commission through the projects SHARE PREP, SHARE M4, SHARE DEV3, SHARE COHESION, and recently SHARE-COVID19. We are grateful for the funding by the European Commission and by all SHARE-ERIC members. This has permitted SHARE-ERIC to grow and rise in an unprecedented breadth and depth. It also proved the concept of a European Research Infrastructure Consortium, and affirmed the European Union’s aspirations to create an entity, which not only provides a legal framework, but also bears innovative science. 

SHARE-ERIC in times of the pandemic
In 2020, SHARE was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic amidst its face-to-face data collection of the 8th survey wave. However, SHARE turned the tables and took the chance to design a new SHARE Corona Survey, leading to the SHARE-COVID19 project dedicated to examine the non-intended socio-economic and health consequences of the epidemic containment decisions. Further research will shed light on the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to devise improved health, economic and social policies. In August 2020, the European Commission announced to support the SHARE-COVID19 research project with funding through Horizon 2020 and the Coronavirus Global Response initiative, making it a central pillar in research related to the Corona crisis.

SHARE-based research – a journey through the past 10 years

Please join our journey through SHARE´s research over time and explore selected remarkable scientific results from the past 10 years ago until today.


If you wish to see more detailed insights into SHARE’s scientific achievements or search for a special topic, please have a look at the extensive publications section with all registered publications on our website, check out SHARE’s First Results Books or read our short summaries based on SHARE data