The German national R&D project GeRDI aims to develop a Generic Research Data Infrastructure to facilitate cross-discipline FAIR research data workflows for research communities. The central focus of GeRDI initially is on developing a generic search engine that operates across diverse research data repositories, improving for researchers the find-ability and accessibility of siloed data. Developed as open source with the ongoing cooperation of several volunteer research communities using their real-world use cases, GeRDI is intended to become a tool also for the growing community of data stewards. This will be achieved by extending the find-ability and accessibility aspects into a research data lifecycle management environment that supports interoperability and reuse through common standard interfaces with data analysis and publishing functions. The design process is firmly user-centric, with regular rounds of testing and interviews to guide iterative development. GeRDI has a strong commitment to FAIR principles and forms one contribution by Germany to the realisation of the EOSC.