Friday, March 26, 2010

ECRI2010, Barcelona - Overview from EGEE Project Director

- Bob Jones, EGEE Project Director

I recently took part in the ECRI2010 conference held in Barcelona on 23-24 March 2010, attended by several hundred delegates. EGEE was invited to display a poster and leaflets in the Exhibition, which mainly gave priority to the ESFRI projects.

This was the 6th European Conference on Research Infrastructures, the previous event being ECRI2008 held in Versailles on 9-11 December 2008.

The conference was structured as a series of 90 minute plenary sessions, each with a keynote speaker, followed by a series of short interventions by panellists, leading on to a question and answer session.

For me, the following points summarise the conclusions of the event:

  • The visibility, importance and potential cost of e-infrastructures for future Research Infrastructures has become more prominent at ECRI2010 than at the previous event in 2008.

  • ESFRI projects will be prioritised and funding will follow as a consequence - 44 projects are currently included in the ESFRI roadmap.

  • Research Infrastructures are not self-sustaining and will always need to rely on public funds. Only those ESFRI projects that show a return on investment for member states will be funded.

  • Governance models are a hot subject and opinions differ but a common point is that they require professional management to be constructed and operated effectively.

Conclusions from this event will be used as input for the political agenda of the Council of Competitiveness and to advance the implementation of Research Infrastructures.

For e-infrastructures, the meeting came to the following conclusions:

  • E-infrastructures are the backbone of research, including large scale facilities.
  • Networking, computing, simulation and data are all essential parts of e-infrastructures, and need service oriented models.
  • Closer interaction is needed between providers of e-infrastructures and the community of users.
  • Europe’s e-infrastructures should be linked into global e-infrastructures.
  • Open access of data, standards and inter-operation are all issues that need to be addressed.

Further development of computing infrastructures, such as the PRACE supercomputing network and grids, should be given a high priority. Innovation should also include input from industry, for e-infrastructures as well as PRACE and grids.

As regards data, Europe needs a vision that leads to an open and trusted European digital information infrastructure.

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