Integration and consolidation of the existing pan-European access mechanism to public research infrastructures and commercial services through the EOSC Portal (INFRAEOSC-03-2020)

Publication date
November 19, 2019
Deadline
April 22, 2020
Short description

Specific Challenge:

The phase of integration and consolidation of e-infrastructure platforms initiated under the Research Infrastructures Work Programme 2016-2017 (in particular, through the EOSC-hub) as well as the work carried out by other EU funded projects and initiatives[1], has set the ground for the development of the EOSC Portal. Through its main components, the EOSC website, catalogue of services and marketplace[2], researchers and other users can find and use research-enabling services and resources, get technical support, integrated solutions from the EOSC providers, participate in co-design, and be informed about and engaged with, the EOSC vision and policy initiatives.

Building on this work, the challenge is now to consolidate and scale up the EOSC Portal and its underlying service platform in order to: 1) strengthen the EOSC Portal so that it continues to provide an increasing portfolio of high quality standard compliant and interoperable services of proven user interest and scientific relevance from a wide range of national, regional and institutional public research infrastructures in Europe as well as from commercial service providers in its catalogue; 2) reinforce the role of the marketplace as the access channel to integrated, composable and reliable services; 3) attract more users, within the research community and beyond, by enhancing the user experience and seamlessly accommodating their needs; and 4) ensure its long-term sustainability taking into account all the relevant governance and business frameworks.

Scope:

Building on the outcomes of the projects awarded under topics EINFRA-12-2017[3], INFRAEOSC-06-2019 (a), INFRAEOSC-05-2018 (a), INFRAEOSC-04-2018 and other relevant EU funded projects and initiatives[4] (including the thematic clouds), proposals should address the following activities all together:

a. Operation, maintenance and enhancement of the EOSC Portal (the website, the catalogue of services and the marketplace)

  • Enhance operational aspects of the EOSC Portal: proposals should include tools and activities to ensure the basic functionalities underpinning the portal, such as the support, quality, security, reliability and traceability of services, effective monitoring of usage and evaluation of performance, messaging and usage accounting. A user-friendly interface, offering integrated information on the EOSC vision and process, should be also ensured, encouraging constant learning and alignment in all disciplines and Member States.
  • Engage with the supply side of EOSC: proposals should provide a framework to interact with all service and resources providers[5], in order to ensure that their services are integrated into the catalogue of services and, where appropriate, the marketplace. They should also ensure the alignment of the providers with future EOSC principles, standards and values including compliance with the Rules for Participation and FAIR principles[6] and the reduction of the complexity barrier to users. Consortia should address issues related to the adoption of common standards by all suppliers, the implementation of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), the automatic collection and exchange of information related to service updates, the mechanisms for reporting usage, the support for virtual access accounting mechanisms[7], etc.
  • Interact with the EOSC end users and provide a highly usable service platform: proposals should foresee the necessary feedback mechanisms (including a user panel) and user behaviours’ analysis within the EOSC Portal environment to allow for constant improvement of the features of the different EOSC Portal components and their usability easing the way users can interact and evaluate the service. The analysis should include gender sensitive issues, when relevant. Proposals should also put in place the necessary mechanisms to elicit users’ needs requiring new services (including commercial ones).

b. Fostering and enabling secure service composability

To allow for a higher level of service integration within the EOSC marketplace, proposals should take due consideration of the need for secure composition of services and resources from different providers. Researchers and other EOSC end users should be able to discover services and combine them to compose new, more complex services, tailored to their specific needs. By enabling EOSC users to compose reliable, secure and scalable services, the EOSC marketplace will become more flexible and adaptable, maximising its impact and benefit for the research community.

In this context, proposals should provide a framework, including specific pilot scenarios, for exposing, integrating and managing a wide-range of standard and policy compliant cross-domain and domain-specific research enabling services and resources from pan-European horizontal and thematic research infrastructures as well as from commercial providers. In particular, they should:

  • Allow for user friendly discovery, access and re-use of major public research outputs (e.g. publications or datasets) and data processing capabilities, analytical tools or any other added-value quality service from various providers;
  • Provide and evolve service management tools that support the provider’s participation to the EOSC federation;
  • Foster secure composability of services and interoperability of datasets and other outputs by supporting the use of common interfaces, standards, ICT specifications and best practices that not only allows for services to be reused in multiple service compositions but also ensures the reliability, flexibility and scalability of those services.

c. User enhanced experience using Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques

Proposals should describe how the EOSC Portal would be enhanced with AI-based services in order to exploit usage patterns and to advise researchers and other EOSC users on the most suitable EOSC services according to their research profiles and needs. In this way, researchers that have completed their EOSC user profile (including their affiliation, research interests and needs) can get suggestions based on what services other EOSC users with similar interests and access rights have used to address their research needs. The advice will have to be continuously updated, based on the actual activity of the users at the EOSC Portal enhancing quality and improving predictive response to cover evolving needs and ensure engagement. The quality of the advice of such AI-based services should improve with the increase of the number of EOSC users and services available.

d. Widening the EOSC user base

Proposals should include strategies and well-defined structures for gathering needs from potential new user communities and propose methods outlining the operational requirements to be satisfied by the EOSC Portal to effectively attract and integrate new users. This includes the possibility of federating and/or integrating heterogeneous and hybrid research clouds into the EOSC Portal.

In order to enable users from non-research communities to access EOSC services through the EOSC Portal, the AAI[8] federated architecture implemented in the EOSC Portal should be fully aligned with the legal and interoperability framework set by the eIDAS Regulation[9].

Proposals shall include the development of APIs or any other necessary feature that allow third parties such as Open Data Initiatives or other initiatives under the European Common Data Space to become users of the EOSC services and to access the available services in the EOSC Portal from their own environments.

Proposals should include an outline of the legal, technical and business processes to be implemented through contractual agreements between the EOSC Portal and user institutions that are interested in providing increased accessibility to EOSC services and resources to their affiliated members.

e. Widening the service offer with commercial services

Proposals should address both of the following activities:

  • Proposals should incorporate commercial services into the EOSC marketplace and expand it, by building further on the work carried out under the topic INFRAEOSC-01-2018[10] and under the EOSC-hub project. In particular, proposals should (1) through the EOSC Portal feedback mechanisms[11], aggregate the various needs of EOSC users for commercial services that are complementary to the services offered by public infrastructures, (2) procure preferably green[12] innovative commercial services addressing the aggregated user demand and (3) make available the purchased services to EOSC users. Proposals will make the procured capacity available for access - together with other capabilities of interest - through the portal access channel. Service capacity shall be allocated to projects and initiatives through a selection process that ensures excellence, fair distribution across scientific communities and removal of digital divides across communities and countries. The procurement mechanism should be compatible with the Green Public Procurement initiative[13]. Examples of commercial services that could be incorporated include commodity type commercial digital services that are necessary for interdisciplinary research activities or secure Earth Observation commercial services stemming from the use of Copernicus open data, etc. The inclusion of such added-value commercial services will enrich the existing catalogue, generate positive impact on cross-disciplinary research activities in the EOSC environment and improve user experience with the overall EOSC service offering. A maximum amount of EUR 10 million of the total budget for this sub-topic is foreseen for this procurement activity.

     

  • Building on the work of the EOSC-hub project, proposals should collaborate with private sector entities, in particular with SMEs, in the context of digital innovation hubs initiatives, in order to stimulate an ecosystem of innovation and knowledge transfer that fosters the development of commercial services to continuously cover the needs of EOSC users[11].

f. Support activities

Proposals shall also cover all the following activities aiming at boosting the impact and outreach of the EOSC Portal:

i. Outreach and skills

Leveraging on existing networks and actions for training on and outreach of the EOSC and in strong collaboration with the awarded grants under topic INFRAEOSC-07-2020, proposals should include activities to:

  • Foster the EOSC initiative’s uptake and spread both geographically and across scientific disciplines and communities (including long tail of science). Moreover, proposals should include measures and dissemination activities for closing the gap between European countries with higher and lower EOSC uptake, including the EU candidate countries and the Western Balkans.
  • Develop the necessary skills of EOSC users for sharing resources, managing data and applying the FAIR principles in the context of the EOSC Portal, by e.g. providing researchers and data practitioners with consolidated cross-infrastructure training packages for data skills, data science and data stewardship.

ii. Support to the Research Data Alliance’s contribution to the EOSC:

  • Proposals retained for funding should directly support the contribution of RDA to the EOSC initiative and, in particular, in the context of the EOSC Portal.
  • Proposals should also provide financial support to third parties wishing to engage and participate in the Research Data Alliance processes and activities, including RDA outputs adoption fostering the interoperability and service composition in the EOSC Portal[15].

Grants awarded under this topic will be complementary to the actions awarded under topic INFRAEOSC-07-2020. The main purpose of the collaboration agreements referred to in Article 41.4 of the Model Grant Agreement is to describe the terms and conditions for the provision of services through the EOSC Portal.

Grants awarded under this topic will be complementary to the action awarded under topic INFRAEOSC-06-2019 (a) and should conclude a collaboration agreement.

For grants awarded under this topic, beneficiaries will be subject to the following additional obligations aiming at ensuring exploitation of its results: proposals must necessary state the participants’ commitment to: a) use open source software, b) make tools, standards, specifications and all other relevant outputs generated in the action available, through a well-defined mechanism, to the EOSC governance and any other institution responsible for the continuity of the EOSC Portal beyond the lifespan of the Grant Agreement.

Grants awarded under this topic are expected to carry out an analysis regarding energy consumption and environmental impact of technologies used in the context of the project. The analysis should include an action plan in order to limit the carbon and energy footprint with a specific reference to the standard EN 50600-4[16] together with a timeline for implementation of the defined milestones and KPIs.

As the scope of this activity is to consolidate a single EOSC Portal, at most one single proposal covering all the described activities (a. to f. included) is expected to be funded.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 40.9 million and a 30 months duration would allow this challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts and durations.

Expected Impact:

  • Provide pan-European access to state-of-the-art secure, interoperable and scalable EOSC services and resources enabling the emergence of genuine Open Science, enhancing data skills and boosting data intensive research in Europe.
  • Enable researchers and other users to compose secure and scalable services that respond to actual and evolving needs, in a secure, flexible and scalable environment.
  • Build an agile EOSC and increase the uptake of its services by public and private sectors stakeholders, across Europe, exploiting solutions and technologies for the benefit of all areas of economy and society.
  • Reduce the burden for research organisations and other service users to engage in complex procurement processes, support cross-analysis of data from heterogeneous sources and create market opportunities for innovative research data services.
  • Increase the overall value of open research data and ensure that EOSC contributes to the global playing field of open FAIR data.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Open Innovation
Gender
Open Science

[1]In particular, those mentioned in the SWD for the Implementation Roadmap of the EOSC Commission Staff Working Document, SWD(2018) 83 final.

[2]The EOSC marketplace is conceived as a platform integrated into the EOSC Portal where users are able to access, order and compose different services and resources: https://marketplace.eosc-portal.eu/

[3]http://www.eosc-hub.eu/, https://www.openaire.eu/, and https://eosc-portal.eu/

[4]In particular, those mentioned in the Implementation Roadmap of the EOSC Commission Staff Working Document, SWD(2018) 83 final.

[5]Including with service providers in the grant awarded under topics INFRAEOSC-02-2019, INFRAEOSC-04-2018 and the thematic clouds developed under other parts of the Horizon 2020 programme.

[6]See for reference: SWD(2018) 83 final – Implementation Roadmap for the European Open Science Cloud.

[7]See description of Virtual access activities in part D of the section “Specific features for Research Infrastructures”.

[8]Authentication and Authorization Infrastructure. Based on the work of AARC, AARC2 and the EOSC-hub projects.

[9]Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market.

[10]OCRE project: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/219198/factsheet/en

[11]See point a1) on user feedback.

[12]For more information about the green public procurement initiative:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/gpp/index_en.htm

[13]http://ec.europa.eu/environment/gpp/index_en.htm

[14]See point a1) on user feedback.

[15]In line with the conditions set out in part K of the General Annexes. A maximum amount of EUR 1M is foreseen for the total financial support to third parties under this point while the maximum amount per third party may not exceed EUR 60 000.

[16]EN 50600-4: Information technology: Data centre facilities and infrastructures. For the link to the latest published version, tools and resources regarding the standard, check: https://ictfootprint.eu/en-50600-4-factsheet-0


original source: Funding & tenders

Call identifier
INFRAEOSC-03-2020
Type
  • H2020
Geographical focus
  • H2020
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Engineering and Technology

Entry created by Admin WBC-RTI.info on December 19, 2019
Modified on December 19, 2019