In 2009 the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) commissioned Research Councils UK (RCUK) to lead a review to assess the progress to date and identify the next steps for development of the UK’s e-infrastructure for research and innovation.
The report was prepared by the Review Expert Group chaired by Professor Carole Goble. It concluded that whilst the UK’s e–infrastructure is well developed and indeed is amongst the best in the world, further efforts are needed to build on this early success to drive forward the continued development of a globally competitive research base within the UK. This is of particular importance at a time when other countries are making major investments in the creation of coordinated e-infrastructure.
The report also calls for the development of the UK’s e-infrastructure through enhanced co-ordination and leadership and a phased programme of relatively modest, but heavily targeted ‘added value’ funding. Through such co-ordination and leadership, the aim is to drive out waste and duplication and to drive forward efficiency savings across the sector in the development, exploitation and use of e-infrastructure. In the absence of leadership and co-ordination, all the evidence points to the real danger of duplication and significant wasted investment.
The scientific rationale for a more co-ordinated e-infrastructure is equally compelling. The report argues that a well integrated e-infrastructure has the potential to increase collaboration, sharing and reuse of resource dramatically across the research community, driving gains in research productivity and innovation. A far greater sharing of e-infrastructure also offers the potential to fuel exciting new multi-disciplinary research which is widely recognised now as critical to address the most pressing scientific challenges.
A full copy of the report is available here