European E-Infrastructure Services Gateway
During the last two decades, Europe has invested significantly in the development of e-infrastructures that support scientific research and the commercialisation of resulting services. In parallel to the thematic investments under the European Strategic Framework for Research Infrastructure (ESFRI), horizontal e-infrastructures have gained the trust of the wider research community. GÉANT, PRACE, EGI, EUDAT and OpenAIRE are the most prominent. These empower scientific communities with ubiquitous, trusted and seamless access to facilities, resources and collaboration tools, bringing to them the power of technology for communication, computation, storage, access and instrumentation. To date, their services primarily target researchers. This needs to change in the “Open Science, Open Innovation and Open to the World” era as a broader group of actors enter the picture: industry, governments, educators, citizens. In the same vein, observers have raised concerns about the uptake of e-infrastructures by a wider set of stakeholders, primarily due to issues of service accessibility, interoperability and fragmentation, comprehensibility and clarity, as well as the inconsistent use of performance indicators for assessing added value and impact on the European Research Area (ERA), broadened to include industry and society.).
In this context, EFIS Centre, in partnership with JNP (Greece), the University of Athens (Greece), Leibniz Universität Hannover, GEANT Ltd (UK), PRACE AISBL (Belgium), EGI.eu (the Netherlands), the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) and CNR – OpenAIRE (Italy) submitted a proposal to the European Commission in March 2016 (under the INFRASUPP-03-2016 call of Horizon 2020) to develop the European E-Infrastructure Services Gateway (eInfraCentral).
EInfraCentral’s mission is to ensure that by 2020 a broader/more varied set of users (including industry) benefits from European e-infrastructures. A common approach to defining and monitoring e-infrastructures services will increase their uptake. It will also enhance understanding of where improvements can be made in delivering services. The challenge is to shift towards an e-infrastructure market place, to initiate new service offerings and to engage with a broader set of users & needs. This will be achieved through an exchange of know-how between e-infrastructures and consultations with a broad range of existing or potential users.
EInfraCentral will pursue 3 specific objectives:
1: Structure an open and guided discussion between e-infrastructures to consensually define a common service catalogue.
2: Develop a one-stop shop portal for users to browse the service catalogue, and enhance the monitoring of key performance indicators that focus on availability and quality of services and user satisfaction.
3: Draw policy lessons for a future European e-infrastructure market place as an extension of the common service catalogue and portal (incorporating a larger number of e-infrastructures).
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