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Former and new e-IRG Chair to discuss need to intensify collaborations with Research Data Alliance, ESFRI and European Commission

After the recent e-IRG Workshop, held in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, we had the opportunity to speak with the former e-IRG Chair Sverker Holmgren and the new e-IRG Chair as of January 2017, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gabriele von Voigt about the results of the e-IRG Workshop.

Sverker Holmgren thought it was a very successful workshop with lively discussions. Part of the reason for this is that e-IRG has a close interaction and participation from the ESFRI projects through the GEDE initiative under the Research Data Alliance. e-IRG has worked with them setting up the programme. It was an interesting event that brought discussions on the collaboration between research infrastructures and e-infrastructures.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gabriele von Voigt also stressed the importance of the collaboration between e-IRG and other groups. She said that Sverker Holmgren started the close collaboration with ESFRI a while ago. This is a good thing and the outcome of the workshop is a result of this.

Sverker Holmgren has been e-IRG Chair for four years. The collaboration with ESFRI is one of the main results during this period. Sverker Holmgren said that there has always been a collaboration with ESFRI for quite some years but it really has been intensified in these four years. e-IRG now has a clear place in the process for the ESFRI roadmaps. This is something that has been achieved in these years: participating in the process for setting up the questions for the e-Needs and the evaluation of proposals. There is of course a need to look further into the work for this collaboration in the future.

Another thing Sverker Holmgren mentioned that has been achieved is the following. Four years ago, e-IRG started off talking about e-infrastructure initiatives and the need for them to collaborate. Today, they are really collaborating and setting up joint proposals, working together towards this e-Infrastructure Commons that e-IRG has described in its documents.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gabriele von Voigt has been elected for three years as the new Chair of e-IRG to start with. We  wanted to know what she sees as the main challenges for the coming three years.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gabriele von Voigt explained that the main challenges are basically to keep up the level or the pace Sverker Holmgren has started with. e-IRG should keep on going these intensified collaborations, such as with the Research Data Alliance and with ESFRI. There is also a need to intensify the communication within the different countries. This is something e-IRG can work on still to improve this. In some countries, there is still room and possibility for improvement.    

e-IRG is also collaborating with the European Commission in several ways. One of the activities of the European Commission is the European Open Science Cloud. We asked how the former and the new Chair see the relation between e-IRG, the e-Infrastructure Commons and the European Open Science Cloud.

Sverker Holmgren mentioned in the conclusions of the workshop that if one is going to build a European Open Science Cloud, the e-Infrastructure Commons is an essential building block for this. There is more needed but certainly, this type of collaborative efforts of the e-infrastructures and research infrastructures will be needed to build up the European Open Science Cloud.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gabriele von Voigt added that the concept is there but now, there has to be developed an implementation plan. There still is quite a lot to do.