e-IRG Support Project
The project e-Infrastructure Reflection Group Support Programme 7 (e-IRGSP7) is intended to provide the vital core services to the e-Infrastructure Reflection Group (e-IRG). The project will support e-IRG in providing advice mainly via high-level recommendations and documents on policy-making towards inclusive, federated, user-driven and resilient e-Infrastructures and their related services.
The e-Infrastructure Reflection Group is an independent, inter-governmental policy advisory body pursuing the vision of an inclusive and holistic e-Infrastructure ecosystem promoting digital transformation in the new European Research Area, spanning all areas of e-Infrastructures, namely research networking, high-throughput and high-performance computing, and data infrastructures. The vision of e-IRG is an inclusive and holistic e-Infrastructure ecosystem promoting the digital transformation in the new European Research Area, while the mission of e-IRG is to support policy making towards inclusive, federated, user-driven and resilient e-Infrastructures and connected services, within and between Member States (MSs) and Associated Countries (ACs), and between thematic (vertical) and generic (horizontal) e-Infrastructures. Despite the considerable progress achieved in EOSC, the EOSC Governance has not adequately addressed consolidation issues between horizontal European e-Infrastructure providers, nor the requirements of the thematic Research Infrastructures that are treated with lower priority and are key for EOSC Sustainability. Furthermore, EOSC seems to be focussing on establishing a ‘web of fair data’ whilst a diverse set of data processing and analysis capabilities are key in obtaining fundamental objectives of the EOSC as infrastructure facilitating the European Open Science policy. An unjustified separation of EOSC and e-Infrastructures stands in the way of an integral view on added value for the Research and Innovation area. The coordination among National Open Science Clouds (NOSCs)/National HTC/Grid Infrastructures (NGIs), National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) and all other national actors through which links between national and pan-European initiatives exist, is also not always well considered, while regional cooperation and coordination needs to be increased. Similarly, EOSC connections with EuroHPC are still at early stage and some initials strands may come as part of Horizon Europe.
e-IRG will aim to contribute towards bridging these gaps, reflecting on the above issues and providing concrete advice and recommendations to all related stakeholders. This covers EOSC related stakeholders, both horizontal (EGI, EUDAT, OpenAIRE, etc.) and thematic infrastructures (RI clusters/projects), along with GÉANT/NRENs part of “Horizon Europe” and EuroHPC part of “Digital Europe”. e-IRG, as an independent body of representatives from Member State and Associated Countries, will liaise with the EOSC Steering Board, supporting its efforts for the envisaged e-Infrastructure environment through expertise and high-level advice. e-IRG aims to continue its fruitful collaboration with ESFRI to jointly work on further highlighting the crucial role of thematic infrastructures in EOSC for its uptake and sustainability and contribute to the related ERA policy agenda actions on Research Infrastructures (RIs) and EOSC. Special attention will be given to the national infrastructure components, in line with the Competitiveness Council Conclusions on EOSC referring to e-IRG’s role.
e-IRG, thus, sees its mandate as an independent body, composed of representatives from the Member States and Associated Countries, to monitor the processes and developments towards a full implementation of the e-Infrastructure Commons through the partnerships of all stakeholders, the inter-connectability and convergence of services of the National Nodes in the Member States and Associated Countries and at the European level. Finally, e-IRG aims to promote the digital transformation and the crucial role of e-Infrastructures in the new ERA and beyond, given also the foreseen pillars on Open Science, Open Innovation and Grand Challenges including health, digital and industry, climate, etc. The unique positioning of future e-IRG lies in providing policy advice on the intersection of GÉANT, EOSC, EuroHPC and the digital transformation of the ERA.
In summary, e-IRG:
- facilitates the collaboration between all actors in the field of pan-European e-Infrastructures – networking, high-throughput and high-performance computing, and in particular data management and related processes and services;
- stimulates work and strongly facilitates the international coordination of e-Infrastructure activities and the presentation of all different components to users as integrated e-Infrastructure services;
- fosters innovation in the data area, including stimulating the interaction between data producers (e.g. Research Infrastructures), e-Infrastructure providers and leading-edge users;
- cooperates with EOSC, ESFRI, ESFRI RI projects, and other pan-European Research Infrastructures and e-Infrastructure providers.
This is mainly done by:
- producing strategic and policy reports, analyses and recommendations;
- actively stimulating discussion with and between all stakeholder groups;
- informing and influencing policy makers (regional, national, European and international) based on work carried out by e-IRG delegates;
- maintaining a comprehensive understanding of the state of the art and progress in the field of e-Infrastructures;
- promoting a user-driven and scientific excellence approach in e-Infrastructure policy making, taking into account e-IRG Members’ recommendations and constraints;
- advancing the European landscape of e-Infrastructures taking into account national roadmaps;
- proposing objectives for further developing the e-Infrastructure ecosystem taking into account the overall landscape;
- proposing synergies and future cooperation between projects, initiatives and institutional actors;
- monitoring the impact of e-IRG recommendations in the European research infrastructure landscape.
e-IRG thus identifies and documents the e-Infrastructure policies, European scientific users’ and research communities’ needs and it provides recommendations to national and European policy bodies and funders, initiatives, and major projects. These recommendations are published as concrete policy proposals in a variety of documents. e-IRG aims to coordinate the activities of pan-European e-Infrastructures to implement e-IRG’s vision of a ‘European e-Infrastructure Commons’ for knowledge, science and innovation that is open and accessible, continuously adapting to the changing requirements of research and to new technological opportunities. This vision is currently implemented at the European level in the form of EOSC. e-IRG has identified a need to further the concept of the e-Infrastructure Commons within the Member States and Associated Countries since there lies the responsibilities for the building blocks of the European e-Infrastructures and Research Infrastructures. The e-IRG Roadmap 2016 and the document “National Nodes – Getting organised; how far are we?” further detailed the idea of the ‘European e-Infrastructure Commons’ and provided an analysis of the situation in the European countries.
e-IRG Support Programme
Since the e-IRG delegates are high-ranking busy professionals from both national ministries and key e-Infrastructure providers, the efficiency of e-IRG relies on support actions that streamline the internal e-IRG processes and eliminate the burden of routine activities for the delegates. e-IRG has been supported by a series of support actions:
- e-Infrastructure Reflection Group Support Programme (e-IRGSP) 2005-2007
- e-Infrastructure Reflection Group Support Programme 2 (e-IRGSP2) 2008-2010
- e-Infrastructure Reflection Group Support Programme 3 (e-IRGSP3) 2010-2014
- e-Infrastructure Reflection Group Support Programme 4 (e-IRGSP4) 2014-2016
- e-Infrastructure Reflection Group Support Programme 5 (e-IRGSP5) 2016-2018
- e-Infrastructure Reflection Group Support Programme 6 (e-IRGSP5) 2019-2021
During the 65th e-IRG delegates meeting, which took place virtually in May 2021, organised in the framework of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the e-IRG delegates unanimously appointed the current deputy project manager of the e-IRGSP6 Fotis Karayannis to lead the consortium to submit a proposal for a follow-up e-IRG support programme (e-IRGSP7). This new support programme will continue the successful work of the previous support programmes, secure their achievements, enable the further operation of e-IRG for the remaining period, and support e-IRG in its next policy actions and recommendations.
 Council Conclusions on EOSC https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-9029-2018-INIT/en/pdf
e-IRGSP7 has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Programme call HORIZON-INFRA-2021-DEV-01-05, Grant Agreement number 101057802.