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Access to commercial services through the EOSC hub

The action will cover the following activities:

  • research activities for understanding how various needs from researchers can be aggregated and the complementary commercial services required to maximise the impact of the tools already available in the EOSC catalogue of services which enable inter-disciplinary research;
  • technical integration of the complementary commercial services into the EOSC catalogue of services, including management of the access rights and establishment of appropriate legal agreements (contracts, service level agreements, etc.) that are necessary to make accessible the commercial services to the EOSC users; due consideration should be given to the use of open standards and interoperability of the services;
  • provision of access to the services through the EOSC catalogue of services.

Proposals will address the availability of both types of services listed below:

a) Commodity type commercial digital services that are necessary for interdisciplinary research activities including, but not limited to, e.g. cloud services (storage, computing, and applications), software licenses, simulation tools, collaboration and virtualization tools.

b) A wide variety of secure Earth Observation commercial services[[Copernicus is the Union Earth observation and monitoring programme. In this context, the Commission is setting up for Copernicus consolidated Data Access and Information Services (DIAS) platforms primarily addressing open data and other components from the EO Community that will eventually lead to (data-related) EO commercial services. The commercial services based on DIAS would become available to the scientific community also through the EOSC.]]. Proposals should address commercial services stemming from the use of Copernicus open data accessible through the 'DIAS' platforms and its smart integration into the service catalogue of the EOSC. These commercial services may include other space or non-space inputs.

The proposals should include:

1) an outline of the methods to be used for gathering specifications and requirements from scientists/users that would properly reflect the user-focused perspective of the EOSC;

2) the proposed criteria for the selection of the most relevant commercial services addressing the needs discussed under point (1) above, that can generate positive impact on research activities;

3) the proposed indicators for continuous monitoring of the quality of the service taking into account the feed-back received from the users as well as appropriate criteria for ensuring broad usage of the services.

4) a clear description of how the interoperability and use of open standards will be taken into account during the project execution.

These services will have to be integrated in the EOSC via procurement. A specific target of this action is the development of a value-added capability for procuring and brokering commercial services for the EOSC. Public e-Infrastructures should act as aggregators of demand for such commercial services and provide access to the acquired resources through the EOSC hub for the benefit of the scientific community. The commercial services targeted by this action should complement the service offering of the EOSC catalogue of services. In order to limit the costs of integration into the EOSC catalogue of services, the action should focus on commercial services that are compliant with any available standards and guidelines set for the management of the EOSC services. The access mechanisms to the services proposed in this topic should be based on pan-European identity management and authentication services, aligned with those used in the EOSC framework and build on the experience and outcomes provided by the AARC project and its continuation, AARC2.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 11 and 12 million would allow this challenge to be addressed appropriately. A balanced allocation of the budget between the above two types of commercial services is expected (50% each). Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

To achieve excellence in their research activities, researchers need to use a broad range of state-of-the-art services that sometimes are not made available by their public e-infrastructure facilities, either because not offered by them or because they are developed more efficiently by commercial operators. The challenge is to set-up a legal and technical mechanism to integrate these supplementary commercial services into the EOSC hub in order to make them available to the scientists.

  • Set-up a value-added procurement mechanism for commercial services that creates economies of scale in procuring and brokering resources for the EOSC and helps optimising investments enabling long-term sustainability for the EOSC;
  • Enable the creation of new market opportunities and new solutions by facilitating cross-fertilisation of heterogeneous data and services;
  • Lower access barriers for scientific community to commercial services, including DIAS-supported added value services and enhance industry’s potential to take advantage of scientific market opportunities.