What the European Open Science Cloud is

The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) is an environment for hosting and processing research data to support EU science.

The process to create the EOSC was initiated by the Commission in 2015. It aimed to develop a trusted, virtual, federated environment that cuts across borders and scientific disciplines to store, share, process and re-use research digital objects (like publications, data, and software) following FAIR principles.

The EOSC brings together institutional, national and European stakeholders, initiatives and data infrastructures to develop an inclusive open science ecosystem in Europe.

This can lead new insights and innovations, higher research productivity and improved reproducibility in science.

European Data Strategy

The European Data Strategy recognises the EOSC as the nucleus for a science, research and innovation data space which will become articulated with the 9 sectoral data spaces foreseen by the strategy.

The EOSC timeline indicated in the European Data Strategy foresees the following stages

  • by 2025: deploy EOSC operations to serve EU researchers
  • from 2024: open up, connect and articulate EOSC beyond the research communities, with the wider public sector and the private sector
  • post-2020: establish a renewed, stakeholder-driven EOSC governance structure possibly in connection with the launch of a corresponding EOSC European Partnership in the first quarter of 2020

European Research Area (ERA)

The EOSC is a central element supporting knowledge circulation, diffusion and uptake in a revitalised European Research Area (ERA) which is fit for the digital age.

One of the 14 actions introduced in the Communication on a new European Research Area for research and innovation consists of ensuring an EOSC that is offering a web of FAIR data and related services.

Development of the EOSC until 2020

In May 2015, the Commission proposed creating a European Open Science Cloud to the Competitiveness Council.

The aim was to federate existing research data infrastructures in Europe and realise a web of FAIR data and related services for science, making research data interoperable and machine actionable following the FAIR guiding principles.

In the initial phase of development until 2020, the Commission invested around €320 million to start prototyping the EOSC through project calls in Horizon 2020 - the Commission's research and innovation funding programme.

In March 2018, the European Commission published the EOSC Implementation Roadmap detailing the main action lines of the first EOSC implementation phase until 2020.

A multi-layered, interim governance structure was established from November 2018 to steer and oversee the implementation of the EOSC from 2019-2020, .

This interim governance is composed of

  • EOSC Governance Board: representatives from EU countries, countries associated with Horizon 2020 and the Commission to ensure effective supervision of the EOSC implementation.
  • EOSC Executive Board: representatives from the research and e-infrastructures communities.
  • EOSC stakeholders: a wider range of actors, consulted through a series of stakeholder events and online consultations to collect input and recommendations.

Read more on the interim EOSC Governance 2018-2020

The EOSC under Horizon Europe 2021-2027

EU countries and countries associated with Horizon 2020, represented in the EOSC Governance Board, agreed unanimously to run the EOSC as a co-programmed European Partnership under Horizon Europe from 2021.

Horizon Europe is the Commission's research and innovation funding programme, succeeding Horizon 2020 from 2021.

This is the best instrument to provide a framework for collaboration and the pooling of resources at European, national, regional and institutional levels.

The proposal for a candidate EOSC partnership was published in June following a process of co-creating its vision including strategic and operational objectives to be achieved by 2027.

In July 2020, an EOSC association was set up to provide a single voice for advocacy and represent the broader EOSC stakeholder community. This association aims to become operational by early 2021 and rapidly expand its membership.

The new governance model agreed with EU countries for the next EOSC implementation phase after 2020 will be tripartite including

  • the EU represented by the Commission
  • the European research community represented by the EOSC Association
  • Eu countries and countries associated with Horizon Europe represented through a steering board to be set up in 2021 outside of the EOSC association