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Delegates meeting in June - focus on the next EC work programme and on the collaboration with ESFRI

The 41th e-IRG Delegates meeting took place in Riga on June 2nd 2015. In the same week a number of e-Infrastructure related events took place in the Latvian capital, including the e-IRG workshop, the Baltic HPC and Cloud Computing Conference and the WIRE Conference. The focus of this closed delegates meeting was on the next workprogramme of the European Commission's H2020 and the collaboration with ESFRI. The delegates also decided to start working on a new e-IRG Roadmap which should replace the previous one that dates from 2012. The e-IRG delegates are representatives of the European countries that provide advice on e-Infrastructures to the countries, the European Commission and all organisations involved or interested in e-Infrastructures.

Just before the meeting, the European Commission (EC) had finished the evaluation of project proposals for a call under the Work Programme 14/15. The EC will fund 34 projects  including 8 Centres of Excellence, 8 Virtual Research Environments and 6 data & computing projects. Large infrastructures like GEANT, PRACE, OpenAIRE, and EGI will also receive funding for their next phase. Support projects that get funded, include OpenMinTed and RDA.

The next two-year Work Programme for 2016/2017 will be published in September. The total budget for e-Infrastructures will be 221 M€ for the two years. In June the European Commission was still actively collecting comments.

Many comments were received on the draft Work Programme. The main change compared with the previous Work Programme is the new architecture that includes integration and consolidation of platforms, prototyping platforms, and support policy as separate topics. International cooperation, the Human Brain Project and the Square Kilometre Array are also expected to be included.

In the Directorate Research and Innovation of the European Commission (DG RTD) the 15 proposals for support of ESFRI projects from the last call have been evaluated favourably.

The structure in the  next Work Programme 2016/2017 for DG RTD is similar to that in the previous one. One Call (100M€) will support pan-European Research Infrastructures and has 4 actions: design studies for new Research Infrastructures (20M€); support of new ESFRI projects (40M€); opportunities for other Research Infrastructures that are not part of ESFRI; and the European Science Cloud. In addition there will be calls for supporting projects.

e-Infrastructures also have the attention of the highest political level in the European Union: The European Council. On May 29, the Council made several observations in this regard: The Council "STRESSES the importance of PRACE, a world-class European High Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructure for research that provides access to computing resources and services for large-scale scientific and engineering applications; ACKNOWLEDGES the need to develop the new generation of HPC technologies and CALLS for the reinforcement of the interconnected network of data processing facilities GEANT. In this respect, INVITES ESFRI to explore mechanisms for better coordination of Member States' investment."

e-IRG is closely working together with ESFRI on supporting large Research Infrastructures. One activity will be to draft a document that analyses the European e-Infrastructures landscape. It will be based on the e-IRG document "Best Practices for the use of e-Infrastructures by large-scale research infrastructures", published earlier this year.

Research infrastructures generate a lot of data. How the management and long term preservation of these data could be handled will be investigated by e-IRG. Of course, e-IRG will make use of the expertise of the Research Data Alliance and experts from the countries that are working already for several years on this topic.

The European Commission will organise a big ICT 2015 event in October in Lisbon focusing on European R&D. ESFRI and e-IRG together will organise a session at this event.

One of the most important documents of the e-IRG is the Roadmap. e-IRG Roadmaps provide recommendations and visions on how e-Infrastructures should and could be developed over the coming years. The previous version dates back from 2012. A lot has changed.  Meanwhile a number of large e-Infrastructures including GEANT, EGI, and PRACE have written new strategy documents. The e-Infrastructure Commons is now well established.

A new version of the Roadmap will be prepared covering:

• New models in research, innovation & learning to cover services related to data infrastructures, virtual environments and multi-domain scientific workflows.

• Easy access to and efficient use of knowledge, implemented in a European Science Knowledge Base for exchanging information between disciplines and projects.

• Virtual Research Environments (VRE) with integrated environment of visualization, computation services, data storage, measurement devices.

• Scientific workflows.

• Opening e-Infrastructures for massive data collection using new (mobile) technologies including the Internet-of-Things, Crowd sensors and Machine-to-machine technologies.

Of course, the e-IRG Roadmap will concentrate on consequences on strategy and policy that may have an impact on e-Infrastructures, such as privacy and governance. A first draft of the Roadmap is expected later this year.

The next e-IRG delegates meeting will be held in Luxembourg on September 17th. For more information about or comments on the e-IRG work you can always contact an e-IRG delegate in your country.

Further reading:

1. Full public minutes
2. Reports on the Riga events:

- Videos of the workshop presentations
- Baltic HPC & Cloud Computing Conference 2015
- Open Science perspective highlighted at e-IRG workshop in Riga
- The importance of being earnest about the long tail of research

3. e-IRG document section
4. Other relevant documents in the e-IRG Knowledge Base