Thursday, April 11, 2013

Knowledge and Technology Transfer on the EMI (or better SciencePAD) spot

EGI Community Forum 2013, at its second day in the University of Manchester: EMI, more precisely SciencePAD (Platforms, Applications, Data), keeps focussing on sustainability. This time the curtains opened the scene on Knowledge and Technology Transfer (KTT).

It seems indeed to be one of the best approaches. Why? Let’s consider…Have you ever considered how technology affects our everyday lives, so much so that we don’t even think about it? Just consider what each day will be without technology. You wake up to an electronic alarm; brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush while the coffee is getting ready and the television is on with the last news. What is the first thing you do at work? Sit in front of the computer and read e-mails from anywhere in the world.

Directly or indirectly, technologies can have a significant impact, sometimes less evident, in every aspect of your life. Even though we can easily access them, this is not for granted but it is the results of a long process. For centuries, in the quest to find out responses to its major queries, fundamental research developed very sophisticated instruments using cutting-edge technologies and requiring performance that often exceeds the available industrial know-how. Technology has promoted and still promotes on all levels the injection of science into daily life in many different ways. For example, nobody would ever have thought that a phenomenon based on the theory of quantum mechanics – quantum entanglement – would find practical applications in the fields of cryptography, computing and, who knows even teleportation in the future, leading to the creation of new companies to secure information sharing. Moreover, technological developments most often require the involvement and interaction of experts in a large variety of domains, such as IT and derivatives, thereby resulting in technological cross-fertilization and knowledge transfer.

“SciencePAD allows decisions to be taken based on knowledge shared and verified by a large community of experts, for developers to share their software, researchers to get the needed support, companies to offer services, and sponsors to assess the projects’ impact. – Says Alberto Di Meglio, EMI project director and chair of the SciencePAD collaboration. –– Just as today, the EMI project is able to help the complex relationship among experts (developers, users, service providers, research communities, commercial companies, etc.) working in the different data environments (Cloud, desktop, stand-alone, High-Performance Computing, etc.).”

So, let’s see more specifically what the SciencePAD KTT future requirements are:

1.      To understand how to manage software information within scientific communities

2.      To formalise such information and its integration with the other digital entities

3.      To guarantee the long-term preservation and re-use of software, especially related to data

4.      To realise a data-driven Software as a Service prototype platform for research.

Last, but not least:

5.      To investigate the constraints, conditions and tools required to promote the transfer of ideas and people from academic research to commercial endeavours.

Thanks to the technologies developed for the purpose of research activities, scientific laboratories have produced improvements in many fields (beyond their specific domains), making our daily environment more functional, practical and comfortable. Researchers are continually working to find better solutions for technical and scientific problems from which the entire humanity profits. Even being aware, they know what Winston Churchill meant when saying: “Success is never final, and failure is never fatal”.

So, EMI (or better SciencePAD) must go on…

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