The European Commission, Member States and the scientific community launched the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and presented it to EU science ministers and future users at an Austrian EU Presidency conference in Vienna last Friday.
The EOSC aims to provide a safe environment for researchers throughout the European Union to store, analyse and re-use data for research, innovation and educational purposes.
“With the Open Science priority, we set out to change the way European science works. And the launch of the first Cloud portal today is a major milestone on that journey. The Cloud will give Europe a global edge in reaping the full benefits of data-driven science. Thanks to the commitment of scientists, the industry and the EU member states we have seen an idea become reality in less than three years,” said Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation.
According to Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, the European Open Science Cloud will allow millions of researchers to store, manage, analyse and re-use vast amounts of research data in a trusted environment across technologies, disciplines and borders. It will unlock the value of big data by providing world-class supercomputing capability, high-speed connectivity and leading-edge data and software services for science including artificial intelligence algorithms, industry and the public sector.
The governance structure comprises people and institutions to be nominated as members of the EOSC Governance Board, Executive Board and Stakeholder Forum. They will jointly shape a strategic implementation plan and annual work plans, as well as the rules of participation in EOSC. The European Commission will chair the Governance Board, while each Member State nominates a board member. The membership of the Stakeholder Forum is open to everyone; the winning consortium that will coordinate and support it is expected to be announced in January 2019.
The launch of the portal, enabling access to the first sets of services and resources, is a major step towards completing the EOSC by 2020. This universal entry point has the potential to help 1.7 million researchers and 70 million professionals in science, technology, humanities and social sciences to access a growing volume of open data and other resources from a wide range of national, regional and institutional public research infrastructures in Europe.
Under Horizon 2020, €600 million has been allocated to setting up the European Open Science Cloud by 2020. Efforts to make the EOSC federated infrastructure more inclusive, covering all phases of the research cycle and all scientific communities, will go hand-in-hand with initiatives to widen its user base to the public and private sector.