Action 53: Financially support joint ICT research infrastructures and innovation clusters

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 data protection concerns 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 persormance 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.

What has the Commission done until now?

In 2010 and 2011:

  • 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
  • Launch of the second implementation phase of the European high-performance computing service PRACE; launch of the EUDAT infrastructure for scientific data
  • Public consultation on the Cloud strategy (16 May to 31 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 (foreseen for November 2011)
  • 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

What will the Commission do?

In 2012:

  • Communication on the High Performance Computing strategy; Council conclusions
  • Communication and Recommendation on Scientific Information including positioning on Open Access to data and publications
  • Studies on cloud computing demand (markets, barriers, clouds for science and public authorities)
  • Co-organisation of the ICRI 2012 Conference with the Danish Presidency
  • Communication "Towards an EU Cloud Computing Strategy"
  • Launch of the third (last) implementation phase of European high-performance computing service PRACE, piloting pre-commercial procurement
  • Launch of an international Task Force on scientific data interoperability
  • Consultations for defining the workprogrammes under Horizon 2020