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EPOS Implementation Phase

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - EPOS IP (EPOS Implementation Phase)

Reporting period: 2018-10-01 to 2019-09-30

The European Plate Observing System (EPOS) aims at creating a pan-European research infrastructure for solid Earth science to provide virtual access to data, products and services and physical access to facilities. Understanding how the Earth works as a system is critically important to modern society. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, landslides and tsunamis are all Earth phenomena impacting on society. Solid Earth science is the place where to find answers on how to maintain the Earth a safe, prosperous, and habitable planet. Earth scientists use observational and experimental data to model how geo-hazards arise and evolve. EPOS, by providing open access to harmonized and quality-controlled data from diverse Earth science disciplines and by facilitating cross-disciplinary research, can contribute to this and other grand challenges.
EPOS fosters innovation in a multidisciplinary research framework, utilizing human skills and knowledge and infrastructures across different disciplines, technologies and countries. The EPOS mission is to create a unique, sustainable, distributed infrastructure that integrates the diverse and advanced European Research Infrastructures for solid Earth science relying on novel e-science concepts. The EPOS vision and mission, conceived during the preparatory phase, have guided the whole implementation phase, and they will continue to define the horizon also during the operational phase. Indeed, the EPOS overall objective is to provide to diverse stakeholders, including, but not limited to scientists, an integrated research platform to empower our ability to respond to fundamental scientific and socio-economic questions related to geo-Hazards and geo-Resources.
The EPOS Implementation Phase had two main goals: 1) implement the data and service provision in an effective technical, governance, legal and financial framework through the EPOS IP project and 2) establish EPOS ERIC. Both goals have been successfully achieved and the EPOS IP project has actually created the conditions for the EPOS ERIC guidance of the EPOS Delivery Framework.
On October the 30th 2018, the European Commission granted the legal status of ERIC to EPOS. The Consortium, based in Italy, has been established by nine founder countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia and the United Kingdom with Greece, Iceland and Switzerland participating as observers. Poland and Greece have then joined the ERIC as member and Iceland will join in the forthcoming months. More countries are expected to join the ERIC within 2020.
The first three years of the EPOS IP project have been dedicated to implement and validate the data and service provision, while the last year has been dedicated to test pre-operational performances. The central hub of the Integrated Core Services (ICS-C), the novel e-infrastructure for providing integrated access to Data, Data-products, Software and Services (DDSS elements) from different scientific communities federated through the Thematic Core Services (TCS), has been built and the prototype has been validated and tested. Nine TCS will be soon formally established to federate the different scientific communities in EPOS (namely, Seismology, Near-Fault Observatories, GNSS Data and Products, Volcanoes Observations, Satellite Data Products, Geomagnetic Observations, Anthropogenic Hazards, Geological Data and Modeling, Multi-Scale Laboratories). Two further communities are going to enter with the status of “Candidate TCS” with the goal of being federated in EPOS in the near future, namely the Geo-Energy Test Beds and the Tsunami Data and Modeling. The latter is a new community that approached EPOS during the Implementation Phase. The EPOS IP project created the conditions to tackle the sustainability challenge from a technical, legal, governance and financial point of view. This integrated platform composed of the ICS and TCS represents the federated EPOS Delivery Framework.
Currently, 149 research organizations, 256 research infrastructures from 25 countries and 5 international organizations (ORFEUS, EMSC, EUREF, INTERMAGNET, EuroGeoSurveys) are involved in the EPOS Delivery Framework. The community that participated to the EPOS Implementation Phase is relevant with a total of about 1,000 people involved in the project at various levels. These figures guarantee an effective engagement of scientists and a shared approach to data, metadata and service integration.
The EPOS IP project succeeded in developing the “EPOS portfolio” characterizing the data and service provision. Out of 365 DDSS elements proposed for implementation by TCS at the beginning of the project, 221 have been validated and successfully tested at TCS level, representing 61% of the entire portfolio, 186 of which resulted to be successfully tested also at ICS level (84% of validated services). These 186 DDSS elements are interoperable with ICS-C through 281 web-services. The TCS-ICS federated system is the skeleton of the EPOS Delivery Framework and represents the solution for integrating distributed research infrastructures via shared standards for data and metadata, representing a practice for FAIR data management.
EPOS is contributing to develop an open innovation culture from different perspectives.
Community building. EPOS IP project succeeded to promote community integration in solid Earth science allowing EPOS ERIC to exploit project’s results and guide the federated Delivery Framework. EPOS Thematic Core Services (TCS) represents the newly formed community of scientists, data providers, institutions and users.
Cross-disciplinary data and service provision. EPOS is enabling science by providing access to multidisciplinary data, data products, software and services. EPOS brings together European nations and combines solid Earth science infrastructures and their associated data and services together with the scientific expertise into one integrated delivery system for solid Earth science. This allows the data to be managed, stored and preserved in a cost-efficient way, with appropriate quality and safety assurances, fostering access to the data across borders and domain boundaries.
Foster e-science innovation in RIs management and operation. EPOS can provide effective solutions to share and preserve FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Re-usable) data. EPOS is fostering IT innovation to empower access, storage, preservation and curation of large amounts of solid Earth data thus enabling stakeholders from different fields (research, education, society, business) to use, re-use and exploit data and services for the benefit of science and society.
Long-term sustainability of integrated RIs in a pan-European perspective. The innovation potential of the EPOS infrastructure involves enabling the use of multidisciplinary solid Earth science data, data products and services relying on national research infrastructures distributed across the whole Europe. There is an intrinsic economic value in harmonizing and optimizing public investments dedicated to support national RIs in Earth science and in sharing resources to implement and operate novel core services (TCS and ICS) of global perspective. Moving from financial viability to long-term sustainability of pan-European integrated services coordinated by an ERIC represents a contribution to innovation culture for operating environmental distributed RIs.
EPOS in numbers
EPOS Architecture
EPOS - European Plate Observing System