Outcomes from the first EOSC GB-EB Meeting, 7-8 May, Munich
"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." - Henry Ford
The EOSC Governance Board (GB) and Executive Board (EB) came together on the 7th and 8th of May for a special meeting dedicated to building cooperation and trust between the two boards. They were joined by a number of European Commission representatives including Jean-Claude Burgelman, head of Unit for Open Science and Data Policies DG RTD; and Andreas Veispak, head of eInfrastructure & Science Cloud, DG Connect. Partners from the EOSCsecretariat.eu project which supports EOSC governance were also present and guided proceedings.
Both boards have an essential role in defining and establishing the governance of the EOSC. They also represent different stakeholder groups and viewpoints. The GB is made up of representatives selected by each EU member state and associate country. They are charged with ensuring the effective supervision of the implementation of the EOSC which must also bear in mind the requirements and coordination among the EU member states. The EOSC Executive Board on the other hand, is made up of representatives from the research and e-infrastructure communities. They have been appointed by the European Commission to provide advice and support on the strategy, implementation, monitoring and reporting on the progress of the implementation of the EOSC.
Andreas Veispak highlighted that the EOSC represents a key aspect of the EU Digital Single Market in terms of increasing digitization in society, and putting Europe’s digital assets at the disposal of scientists in order to address the societal challenges that Europe faces. For science to achieve this, the perfect conditions are required and the EOSC is a key element of these conditions. The EOSC represents a unique opportunity for Europe to ensure services and data for scientists are of a high quality.
Jean-Claude Burgelman has been instrumental in driving forward the EOSC from its origins. He stressed the need for a long-term commitment from the EC, member states and the scientific community for a successful EOSC. Europe’s strength lies in its diversity, solidarity and quality and with GB representatives from 23 different member states, and EOSC must listen to member states and their respective requirements and experience.
Indeed, Hans-Josef Linkens, GB chair and Federal Ministry of Education and Research mentioned that EOSC should make optimal use of existing strategies and infrastructures and learn from best practices implemented at national level. In particular, EOSC can learn from best practices implemented at a national level, in particular in the identification of interoperability standards which is a priority in many member states.
EB co-chairs Karel Luyben, CESAER and Cathrin Stover, GÉANT were united in highlighting the importance of engaging with researchers. As end-users, they are key to the success of an EOSC which needs to be community-driven, inclusive and diverse, research focused, open, transparent and trusted.
National strategies and perspectives were presented from Germany, Spain, UK, Italy and France and GB members were united in their support for the EOSC. There was consensus that it can optimize services for science by building on existing and upcoming solutions from across Europe.
The event saw participants break-out into a series of small interactive groups in order to discuss a variety of EOSC topics such defining its mission and essential elements for a roadmap to build the EOSC. With the EB launched at the start of 2019 and the scope and objectives of the EB Working Groups now defined and published, this was also the opportunity for intense and collaborative discussion on WG topics: architecture, landscape, FAIR, rules of participation and sustainability. The GB have now proposed participants for each of the WGs who will play an active role in the delivery of key outcomes in creating a clear governance for EOSC over the next two years. Expectations and levels of commitment were discussed to ensure that the objectives of each group can be reached.
The importance of inclusiveness and dialogue with scientific communities (but also with different initiatives such as the European Data Initiative and the HPC world) was also highlighted as a channel to identify and balance priorities and needs in terms of standards, services, and data. Flexibility will be key in keeping the entry bar low enough for EU-wide and cross-disciplinary collaboration. The identification of EOSC success stories will be an important way to convince both users and providers of EOSC services of its value and importance across Europe.
The varying maturity and delivery timeline of various national strategies was also discussed and therefore EOSC timelines for delivery and implementation must also be realistic and dialogue key. The GB is the channel for achieving this and collaboration with the EB in terms of providing national perspectives will be an important aspect of the successful collaboration.
What happens next?
With over 50 participants from across Europe, this event was important in terms of building trust and ensuring that the GB and EB come together with the aim of keeping together and working together. Both the GB and EB will meet separately at pre-arranged meetings in Brussels (22 & 24 May respectively). Both boards are committed to collaboration and alignment which will be supported by EOSCsecretariat.eu.
A series of public webinars will also introduce the WGs in June and July to ensure transparency and an exchange of information. Open calls for participation to join WGs on architecture, FAIR and rules of participation; are expected to be launched in September. Furthermore, two EOSC events are planned by the end of 2019, namely a one-day event in Helsinki on the 22nd of October in conjunction with the RDA Plenary 14 (23-25 October 2019) and the EOSC Symposium 26-28 November in Budapest.
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