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South East European Research Area for eInfrastructures

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Policy-level networking between national electronic infratsucture programme owners

Electronic infrastructures, such as networking and distributed computing, are crucial resources for the European research community. An EU-backed project has helped to build policy-level support for the regional European Research Area (ERA) in this sector.

Digital Economy

Distributed computing — which utilises the capacity of computers across a wide network to perform resource-hungry tasks towards the achievement of common goals — has taken off in a big way. A number of e-infrastructures enable European researchers to share computing power and resources. One of these is GÉANT, which connects over 50 million users at 10 000 institutions across Europe, and operates at speeds of up to 500 Gbps. On the computing front, these include PRACE and EGI which support researchers in need of computing power. Although GÉANT and other e-infrastructures enjoy broad geographical coverage across the EU, some parts of Europe are less supported than others. With EU co-financing, the 'Southeast European Research Area for e-infrastructures' (SEERA-EI) project aimed to integrate south-eastern Europe more fully into the e-infrastructure component of the ERA, focusing on the policy level. The project linked national programme managers with a view to helping them set up a framework for a common regional platform and agenda. Towards that end, SEERA-EI collected and circulated information on ongoing programmes and conducted an analysis of the current state of play. In addition, it produced collections of good practices, a policy guide, and guidelines for national e-infrastructure programmes and regional cooperation. Project members established a website and electronic platform to facilitate the exchange between its 19 partners. During SEERA-EI's lifetime, four memoranda of understanding were signed in a number of areas, including grid and e-infrastructure development, resource sharing and network collaboration. SEERA-EI has helped to deepen regional collaboration in e-infrastructure and assisted in integrating south-eastern Europe into the wider ERA in this sector.

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