What is the problem? Europe lacks sufficient infrastructures to support innovation
Research in ICT often requires support from large scale infrastructures that are very costly to build.
Innovation clusters lack the critical mass to become global poles of attraction for scientists and innovators even with the support of many national, regional and local governments in Europe
Research increasingly takes place in "virtual research communities" that transcend national, administrative and scientific discipline borders: ICT e-infrastructures are necessary to support this online collaboration and sharing of resources, creating a seamless "online" European Research Area.
Research environments can only be competitive if equipped with advanced ICT tools for compute- and data-intensive processing and management, which are tailored to the needs of user communities and allow for experimentation "in silico".
Limited interoperability and concerns for data protection hamper the development of cloud infrastructures and services that could energize economic activity.
Why is EU action required? To build Europe wide infrastructures that support innovation
Access to advanced research infrastructures is necessary to increase the quality and efficiency of research. Such infrastructure is indispensable for the formation of innovation clusters and multidisciplinary collaboration. These clusters reach their full potential when they acquire a Europe-wide, or even world-wide, scope and become global poles of attraction for scientists and innovators.
Europe would benefit enormously if it hosted such infrastructures and world-renowned clusters in dynamic ICT-intensive sectors, from high performance computing and networking to systems biology and climate change simulation. They would provide the groundwork for cutting-edge research and talent attraction.
What are the Commission's plans?
To address the problems mentioned above, the Commission will pursue actions in the following areas:
- ICT research infrastructures and innovation clusters;
- ICT-based infrastructures (e-Infrastructures); and
- Cloud computing infrastructures, with particular focus on government and science.
- Large scale testing environment to make validations and proof of concept for future internet research.
What has the Commission done until now?
- Launch of projects providing cloud computing services to research communities
- Launch of the e-Infrastructure Policy Forum, bringing together the policy makers in this domain from 27 Member States
- Publication of study on security, privacy and trust challenges in cloud environments
- Publication of study on EU strategy for supercomputing
- Public consultation on the Cloud strategy (mid-May to end-August 2011); consultation with selected industrial players to establish strategic orientations and priority actions; hearing of selected experts on Cloud jurisdiction, data compliance, interoperability or security
- Report of the Géant Expert Group On a 2020 Vision of Research Networks
- Communication on the open data package
- Launch of two actions on cooperation of EU competence centres on organic electronics (COLAE) and on cooperation between the ETP and national technology platforms in photonics (InnoPho21)
- Publication of position paper on OLAE innovation clusters and competence centres
- Study on parallel scientific software
- Adoption of Communication and Recommendation on Scientific Information including positioning on Open Access to data and publications 16 July 2012
- Selected projects, which are providing testing environments from the networking layer, sensors, cognitive radio, cloud, up to services and applications
- Project supporting experimentally driven research bridging over to innovation
- Communication on the High Performance Computing strategy; Council conclusions. HPC strategy adopted in February 2012
- Studies on cloud computing demand (markets, barriers, clouds for science and public authorities)
- Co-organisation of the ICRI 2012 Conference with the Danish Presidency, 21-23 March 2012
- Communication "Towards an EU Cloud Computing Strategy"
- Launch of the second implementation phase of the European high-performance computing service PRACE; launch of the EUDAT infrastructure for scientific data
- Launch of the third (last) implementation phase of European high-performance computing service PRACE, piloting pre-commercial procurement. PRACE-3IP was successfully launched on 1 July 2012
- Project selected to federate testing facilities and enhance access to testing environments
- Launch of an international Task Force on scientific data interoperability. The TF was pre-launched in October 2012 and the formal 2nd launch happened in March 2013 with VP Kroes
- Consultations for defining the workprogrammes under Horizon 2020. The following consultation meetings took place in 2013:
- Géant, Brussels, 18 January
- Industry and Innovation in e-infrastructures, Brussels, 8-9 March
- e-Infrastructures for Open Science, Rome, 11-12 April
- Human Capital Development, Brussels, 30 May
- Distributed Computing, Prague, 18 September
- The Communication "Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe" was adopted and published in September 2012. The overall goal is to speed up and increase the use of cloud to the benefit of users and services providers alike. Key actions of the strategy in the Communication include: strengthening interoperability through standardisation and certification measures; overcoming concerns over contractual relationships between cloud service providers and consumers; and bringing together industry expertise and public sector users to work on common procurement requirements in the European Cloud Partnership
What will the Commission do?
The following actions and studies are foreseen or in progress:
- Follow-up of Council Conclusions on the HPC strategy (expected for May 2013)
- Follow up of the 2012 Communication and Recommendation on Scientific Information, including development and implementation of open access policies in Horizon2020 (research publications and data) and launch of work with the Member States' National Points of Reference on scientific information
- ICRI 2014 in April 2014
- Launch of Work programme 2014-2015 on research infrastructures
In link with Action 121 ("Follow up of the European Cloud Computing Strategy"):
- Standards terms and performance criteria in service level agreements for cloud computing services
- Certification schemes for cloud computing
- Financial/tax aspects of cloud computing services
Uptake of Cloud in Europe. Follow-up of IDC Study on Quantitative Estimates of the Demand for Cloud Computing in Europe and the Likely Barriers to Up-take.