European Commission embraces the FAIR principles

Yesterday, the European Commission unveiled its plans to make all data derived from EU-funded research projects findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR). The Commission estimates that €2 billion in Horizon 2020 funding will be allocated to its so-called ‘European Cloud initiative’. And this is just the beginning.

ELIXIR-NL’s Head of Node Professor Barend Mons is the Chair of the high level expert group that has provided the European Commission with recommendations for the European Open Science Cloud. You can read their draft report here. Barend Mons explains: “The Commission estimates that, overall, €2 billion in Horizon 2020 funding will be allocated to the European Cloud initiative. An additional €4.7 billion of public and private investment will be required in the next 5 years.”

Watch our eye-opening animation about Open Science.

Mandatory data stewardship plan
Following the expert group’s recommendations, a proper data stewardship plan will become a mandatory part of Horizon2020 grant proposals. This measure will be implemented as soon as possible. “So it is very important for DTL partners to get their data stewardship expertise in place quickly”, says Barend Mons. The expert group has also recommended training 500,000 data experts in the next five to ten years.

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Part of larger plan

The European Cloud initiative is part of a package of measures to strengthen Europe’s position in data-driven innovation, to improve competitiveness and cohesion and to help create a Digital Single Market in Europe. In the period 2014-2010, the EU will allocate €77 billion for research. The Netherlands is likely to receive €700-800 million from H2020.

Action plan
The Commission will progressively put in place the European Cloud Initiative through a series of actions, including:

  • As of 2016: creating a European Open Science Cloud for European researchers and their global scientific and private collaborators by integrating and consolidating e-infrastructure platforms, federating existing scientific clouds and research infrastructures, and supporting the development of cloud-based services.
  • 2017: opening up by default all scientific data produced by future projects under the €77 billion Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, to ensure that the scientific community can re-use the enormous amount of data they generate.
  • 2018: launching a flagship-type initiative to accelerate the nascent development of quantum technology, which is the basis for the next generation of supercomputers.
  • By 2020: developing and deploying a large scale European high performance computing, data storage and network infrastructure, including by acquiring two prototype next-generation supercomputers of which one would rank among the top three in the world, establishing a European big data centre, and upgrading the backbone network for research and innovation (GEANT).

Easier access and re-use
The European Cloud Initiative will make it easier for researchers and innovators to publish, access and re-use data, and will reduce the cost of data storage and high-performance analysis. Making research data openly available in the FAIR format can help boost Europe’s competitiveness by benefitting start-ups, SMEs and data-driven innovation, including in the fields of medicine and public health. It can even spur new industries, as demonstrated by the Human Genome Project.

More information
* Watch the press conference about the European Cloud Initiative.
* Read more about the European Cloud Initiative in the EU Newsroom.
* Watch the video ‘Information day on the support to the EOSC through upcoming calls’
* Read DTL’s Vision on Open Science.


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