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Implementation and operation of cross-cutting services and solutions for clusters of ESFRI and other relevant research infrastructure initiatives


Specific challenge: If different research infrastructure initiatives such as ESFRI projects, other world class research infrastructures, ERICs, e-infrastructures and Integrating Activity projects are developed, implemented and operate in isolation, there is a risk of fragmentation, lack of interoperability between them and parallel development of divergent solutions to same problems. In order to avoid this, there is a need in Europe to coordinate common activities, to define harmonised policies for access to the infrastructures and data lifecycle (acquisition, access, deposit, sharing and re-use), to develop and deploy common underpinning technologies and services, and to implement common and efficient solutions on issues such as, for example, data sharing and provision, architecture of distributed infrastructures, distributed and virtual access management, and development of common critical physical and virtual components (e.g. detectors,  components for data management).

Scope: This topic will contribute to the construction and operation of the research infrastructures identified in the ESFRI Roadmap, therefore proposals must be centred and built around ESFRI projects in a specific thematic area that is broad enough to gather critical mass (e.g. Biomedical Science, Advanced Light Sources, Astronomy, Environment and Earth Sciences). While the ESFRI projects represent the core component of any cluster, other relevant world class research infrastructures, ERICs, e-infrastructures and Integrating Activity projects should also be involved in a cluster.

To ensure coordination and synergies between the largest possible number of ESFRI projects and other research infrastructure initiatives in a thematic area, proposals should address a coherent set of common activities and be comprehensive.

Proposals should develop synergies and complementarity, optimise technological implementation, define workflows and ensure coordination, harmonisation, integration and interoperability of data, applications and other services between the ESFRI and other research infrastructure initiatives in specific thematic areas. They could focus on issues such as policies, models and solutions for data and knowledge handling, including access, preservation and management; protection of sensitive data and sample; technological innovation and innovative processes with key industry partners; harmonised access policies; deployment and management of networks of observatories; real time observations, sampling procedures; timescales; instrumentation; standards.

Proposals may address the development of skills and the specific training of staff managing and operating the research infrastructures, as well as fostering the innovation potential of research infrastructures, in complementarity with the horizontal activities supported under Call H2020-INFRASUPP-2014/2015 (in particular topics INFRASUPP-3-2014 and INFRASUPP-4-2015). Activities should contribute to a faster adoption of best practices and foster the use of open standards and interoperability in data and computing services. When addressing common or interoperable data services, proposals should encompass the definition of metadata, ontologies and identifiers as well as models (e.g. open web services) to process semantics at machine level. Proof of concept, prototyping and deployment of advanced data services will be supported. The detailed list of activities that can be supported under this topic is given in part C of the section “Specific features for Research Infrastructures”.

Consortia should include key participants of the involved infrastructures initiatives as well as other partners needed to develop the required solutions. Proposals should build upon the state of the art in ICT and e-infrastructures for data, computing and networking and work in cooperation with e-infrastructure service providers. 

This topic is complementary with topics EINFRA-1-2014, Big research data, and EINFRA-9-2015, Virtual Research Environments - VRE: EINFRA-1-2014 addresses services that are potentially transversal and generic, VREs integrate data, network and computing resources for interdisciplinary communities whereas INFRADEV-4-2014/2015 address interoperability of services and common solutions for cluster of ESFRI and other research infrastructure initiatives in thematic areas.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 6 and 15 million would allow this topic to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact

·         Contribution to the realisation of the Innovation Union flagship initiative's Commitment n. 5: "to complete or launch the construction of 60% of the ESFRI projects by 2015";

·         Common ready-to-use services, systems, standards or other types of components will be made available to the involved research infrastructures initiatives, including the non-ESFRI projects, thus contributing to the development of a consistent European research infrastructures ecosystem.

·         Interoperability between research infrastructure services, including data services, enables novel research leading to innovation and new insights;

·         The efficiency and productivity of researchers rise thanks to an easier and seamless access to complementary services provided by different infrastructures and/or to reliable and open data services and infrastructures for discovering, accessing, and reusing data;

·         Research communities adopt common approaches to the data management lifecycle (data and metadata curation), which leads to economies of scale;

·         Trust in a community's data improves;

·         Economies of scale and saving of resources are realised due to the optimisation of implementation and operation through the common development of components and solutions.

Type of action:  Research and innovation actions