From Science Europe Data Glossary
Definition: research infrastructure refers to facilities, resources and related services used by the scholarly community to conduct top-level research in their respective fields, ranging from social sciences to astronomy, and from genomics to nanotechnologies.
Explanation: research infrastructures may be single-sited (a single resource at a single location), distributed (a network of distributed resources), or virtual (the service is provided electronically). Examples include singular large-scale research installations, collections, special habitats, libraries, databases, biological archives, clean rooms, integrated arrays of small research installations, high-capacity/high speed communication networks, highly distributed capacity and capability computing facilities, data infrastructure, research vessels, satellite and aircraft observation facilities, coastal observatories, telescopes, synchrotrons and accelerators, networks of computing facilities, as well as infrastructural centres of competence which provide a service for the wider research community based on an assembly of techniques and know-how.
See also: data infrastructure; e-infrastructure