Cloud computing is fundamental to unlocking major European policy goals like that of the European Data Strategy and EU Green Deal, being an essential condition for an innovative and sustainable economy.
The recently launched EU Data Strategy aims to enable access to more secure, sustainable, interoperable, environmentally friendly and scalable cloud infrastructures and services for European businesses. In parallel, cloud computing and edge computing will be among those digital technologies that will contribute to achieving the sustainability goals of the Green Deal in areas such as farming, mobility, buildings and manufacturing.
The development of cloud computing in Europe is being supported with research and innovation actions under the Horizon 2020 programme. European research produces the greatest amount of relevant data globally and the European Commission wants to harness this data for the betterment of European innovation. One of these project actions, Open Clouds for Research Environments (OCRE) aims at helping researchers access the wealth of services cloud tech offers.
OCRE's mission is to break through bureaucratic barriers by connecting commercial cloud services with the research community through several tendering processes. The tenders will result in a framework that will ensure easy access to commercial cloud and digital Earth observation services for researchers with a focus on environmental, societal and medical. Selected providers will become an integral part of the EOSC service catalogue.
Recently, the OCRE tender, which has an estimated total value of 600 million euro, closed. The tender process was successful with a lot interest from the market obtained and the team is currently assessing the tender responses with supplier contracts in place with call-offs available to the institutes by the end of 2020. The EO tender is due to be released soon.
In addition, OCRE recently announced the publication of its first open funding call focused on consumable commercial cloud and digital services for researchers, available via its frameworks. The first funding call for projects will open on September 15th, 2020 and will last for six weeks with no extensions currently foreseen.
Services resulting from OCRE’s tenders will be included in the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). Suppliers selected from the procurement process will become pioneers as one of the early entrants to the EOSC marketplace - helping empower European research in answering Europe's societal issues.
OCRE has at its disposal 9,5 million euro in adoption funding to be distributed to institutions and buyer groups that procure services through the OCRE tenders. This means the demand side is incentivised to acquire more resources from the winning suppliers from the OCRE procurement process.