Data and Distributed Computing e-infrastructures for Open Science

Publication date
December 8, 2016
March 29, 2017
Short description

This topic covers two complementary areas of e-infrastructures very closely related with the objective to make research data discoverable, accessible, assessable, intelligible, useable, and wherever possible interoperable – c.f. G8 principles on research data:

(a) Secure and agile data and distributed computing e-infrastructures: fostering the integration of a secure, permanent, on-demand service-driven, privacy-compliant and sustainable e-infrastructure incorporating distributed databases, computing resources and software.

The European data and computing e-infrastructure landscape remains very fragmented which is an obstacle for research collaboration at European and global levels and introduces additional complexity for achieving sustainable governance. The challenge is to integrate at European level the geographically and disciplinary dispersed resources to achieve economies of scale and efficiency gains in providing the best data and computing capacity and services to the research and education communities. This action is interrelated to INFRADEV-04-2016, “European Open Science Cloud for Research”.

(b) Access and preservation platforms for scientific information: supporting the integration and consolidation of e-infrastructure for reliable and permanent open access to digital scientific records, based on existing initiatives across Europe (institutional and thematic repositories, aggregators, etc.).

The European infrastructures need to respond to the emerging requirements for seamless and reliable access to publications, research data and software. These requirements are complemented by the need for long term preservation and curation of scientific information to fully support data and computing intensive science. The challenge is to support the integration at European level of a robust and sustainable e-infrastructure, based on existing initiatives across Europe (institutional and thematic publishing platforms, aggregators, etc.) and services supporting European Open Access policies. An additional challenge is the building of capacity to link all kinds of digital research objects in order to enable a more transparent evaluation of research and reproducibility of results, enabling trust and facilitating access by innovative business actors.


Grants awarded under this topic will be complementary between them. The respective options of Article 2, Article 31.6 and Article 41.4 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied. The main purpose of the collaboration agreements referred to in Article 41.4 of the Model Grant Agreement is to work on potential synergies, overlaps and gaps in the overall service offering. In addition, links should also be established with projects selected under topic INFRADEV-04-2016, to collaborate, exploit potential synergies and ensure complementarity.

Proposals will address part (a) or (b), but not both. At least one proposal for each part will be selected:

(a) Secure and agile data and distributed computing e-infrastructures (proposals should address all points below):

(1) integration of computing, software and storage resources exposing them through a dynamic registry and catalogue of services supporting European research and education communities in their tasks related with data and computing intensive science. This integration should be done by means of open and flexible architectures and include institutional, regional, national and European capabilities, packaging them in the optics of end-user needs

(2) seamless operation of highly scalable and agile data and computing platforms and services dedicated to analytics including hardware and software components, database, compilers, analytics software, supported to easy user entry points for the community of users

(3) reliably address the aspects of privacy, cybersecurity and information assurance supporting multiple compartments with private, public or industrial corpus of data, protected from unauthorized access by secure interfaces

(4) adoption of standards-based common interfaces, open source components enabling access and processing of underlying data collected/stored in different platforms and formats. Empowering users to customise application and services tailoring them to specific requirements, which will differ across disciplines, applications etc

(5) work closely with user communities (from different disciplines) to foster the use of digital infrastructures, promote the values of open science and support their data management plans. Engage and train users (researchers, educators and students) to contribute to the dynamic registry and catalogue of services improving quality of data, software and computing infrastructure that become available for re-use

(6) foster interoperability of pan-European thematic/community-driven e-infrastructures providing cost-effective and interoperable solutions for data management. The data and computing e-infrastructure should be able to interoperate with resources based on different technologies which are operated/owned by public and or private organisations

(7) support the preservation and curation of data and associated software so that the reproducibility and accuracy of the data can be verified

(8) enable seamless transition and e-infrastructure upgrades, exploiting economies of scale and promoting interoperability with similar infrastructures across and beyond Europe and operate user-friendly and comprehensive repositories of software components for research and education

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 10 and 15 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

(b) Access and preservation platforms for scientific information (proposals will address all points below):

(1) Deployment and maintenance of service-driven knowledge e-infrastructure responding to general and specific requirements of researchers and research organisations for open access to research digital objects, their registration and preservation. This e-infrastructure will further develop the research capacity through a coordinated and participatory architecture linking institutional and thematic repositories across Europe. It will support publishing platforms by providing essential services for scientific information that can be used by humans and machines. Such target platforms can be generic, specific for a research field or specialised on quality assurance, discoverability, archiving etc. Essential functions of this service-driven approach will include helpdesks, training and guidance to support producers and users of scientific information, community building to support research data sharing and management, as well as implementation of Open Access policies in Europe. Relevant indicators on the take-up of open access in Europe including publications and data should be elaborated and reported regularly. The project will promote a limited set of biblio- and webometrics that reflect open access policies. It will collect bibliometric data on publications, citations, data citations, etc. on all Horizon 2020 scientific output (including on the Open Research Data Pilot) and produce both standard and on-demand statistics.

(2) Supporting global interoperability of open access data e-infrastructures and linking with similar initiatives across the globe to complement the physical access to research facilities with data access and to ensure that Europe plays a leading role in international collaborations.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 8 and 10 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. It is expected that one proposal will be selected.

Expected Impact:

(a) the operation of a federated European data and distributed computing infrastructure for research and education communities will optimise the access to IT equipment and services and will put all European researchers and educators in equal footing to access essential resources to express their talent and creativity. Establishing partnerships with industrial and private partners the e-infrastructure will train people in research and academic organisations preventing lack of skilled and specialised infrastructure operators. It will avoid the locking-in to particular hardware or software platforms that would jeopardise the long-term planning for capacity upgrades. With such an operational infrastructure more scientific communities will use storage and computing infrastructures with state-of-the-art services for their research and education activities. The open nature of the infrastructure will allow scientists, educators and students to improve the service quality by interacting with data, software and computing resources. It will increase the incentives for scientific discovery and collaboration across disciplinary and geographical boundaries, putting Europe in the driving seat at global level. It will further develop the European economic innovation capacity and provide stability to the e-infrastructure.

(b) a reliable operation of e-infrastructure services for access and preservation of scientific information will make the intellectual capital of Europe available to researchers, business and citizens at large. It will generate economic and scientific advances now and in the future as that capital is safely preserved for further exploitation by future generations. Open Access publications resulting from Horizon 2020 funded research are available and easily findable online. Data needed to validate published results is linked to the publications and publicly shared whenever possible. Accurate science metrics for Horizon 2020 can be produced with almost no effort. Most of the European institutional repositories (at least 95%) as well as the principal thematic repositories are part of the same interoperable repository network.

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.

  1. List of countries and applicable rules for funding: described in part A of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.
    Please also note that a number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects (follow the links to China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan). 
  2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.

    Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the standard proposal template.
  3. Evaluation

    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold: described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme, with the following exceptions:

    Under criterion Excellence, the third and fourth sub-criteria are substituted by:
    •The extent to which it is demonstrated that the concerned platforms and services are based on systems and technologies that have reached at least TRL 8 before the start of the project.
    •The extent to which the Service Activities (Trans-national and/or Virtual Access Activities) will offer access to state-of-the-art infrastructures and high quality services, and will enable users to conduct excellent research as demonstrated, inter-alia, by both the quality of the associated catalogue of services and the baseline and expected future measurements of related KPIs

    Under criterion Impact, the second sub-criterion is substituted by:
    •Potential to enhance capacity for innovation and production of new knowledge

    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process
  4. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement:

    Information on the outcome of the evaluation: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.
  5. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms for the type(s) of action(s) under this topic:

    Research and Innovation Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates 
    A specific proposal templatefor the topic will be available soon.
    A specific evaluation form for this topic will be available soon.
    H2020 General MGA -Multi-Beneficiary
    Annotated Grant Agreement
  6. Additional provisions:

    Horizon 2020 budget flexibility

    Classified information
  7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.
    Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

    Open access to research data
    The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

    Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

    Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

    - Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs.

    - Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

    The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.

  8. Additional documents:

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Research infrastructures (including e-Infrastructures)
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: General Annexes
    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 - Regulation of Establishment
    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

Source: Participant Portal

  • H2020
Geographical focus
  • H2020
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary

Entry created by Anna Sirocco on November 10, 2016
Modified on December 19, 2016