We talk with Diego Scardaci about the EOSC Early Adopter Programme - an EOSC-hub initiative aiming at bringing together researchers and providers to accelerate science
What is the EOSC Early Adopter Programme?
The EOSC Early Adopter Programme was launched by the EOSC-hub project to support research communities interested in exploring the latest state-of-art technologies and services offered by the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). The Early Adopter Programme (EAP) has a main goal to facilitate research communities to scale up the in-house infrastructure and to access a richer set of resources.
Projects from the first EAP call started in December 2019. The second call recently selected more projects in April 2020, reaching a total of 13 use cases in the programme.
What are the main benefits for researchers? Can you give some specific examples?
The programme guarantees to the researchers:
- the support from infrastructure expert staff that will assist them on integrating activities with the EOSC resources and services.
- the technical infrastructure needed for piloting technical solutions. This includes accessing resources such as data, applications, software, and other services from EOSC-hub providers and partners depending on the research community needs.
A nice example is the project "Towards an e-infrastructure for plant phenotyping" from INRAE (France). The principal investigator, Vincent Nègre, has already deployed a first pilot to process a large amount of agriculture data with the EGI Cloud Compute service. To do this, he is also exploiting some other advanced analytic services like the EGI Notebooks. He is also planning to integrate his application with the EGI Check-in service to enable the secure access to the services with institutional identities.
You have coordinated the EAP programme from the beginning. How did you find the process? What are some challenges?
It has been a very nice experience! The EOSC Early Adopter Programme gave us the opportunity to show researchers how EOSC can help them in a concrete way. It has been very interesting matching the needs of the scientists with the large portfolio of services offered by EOSC-hub and EOSC Portal in general. Making scientists really able to order, via the EOSC Portal and Marketplace, access and use these services and see how this can help them in their daily work has been for us a demonstration of the validity of the EOSC concept and of the results we achieved in EOSC-hub.
The biggest challenges we had to deal with have been about making able scientists and IT experts to work together although they are coming from two different worlds with different backgrounds.
How did you make the selection?
To select the awarded projects from the many proposals we have received, we have defined a thorough review processes that included 3 different phases and involved around 15 experts:
1) a technical review: to assess the maturity of the scientific tools proposed for integration into EOSC and the complexity of the proposed integration scenarios;
2) an impact assessment: to identify the projects dealing with relevant scientific challenges and representative of a broader scenario that when established in EOSC would have impact across Europe and beyond.
3) consensus meeting: involving all the reviewers that participated to the technical and impact assessments to define the final list of awarded projects.
What are the main advantages of being part of the EOSC?
EOSC offers a broad spectrum of services and technologies for the research data management lifecycle and scientific outputs like data, publications and software of pan-European relevance. By joining the EOSC, scientists can benefit from this service offering to integrate their tools with the most advanced ICT services able to deal with huge amounts of data in an effective way. Furthermore, researchers can also use EOSC to advertise their scientific tools, making them available to communities outside their usual areas, and so creating new collaborations.
Diego Scardaci is Technical Solutions Lead at the EGI Foundation and part of the EOSC-hub Technical Coordination team.