10 years of Nordic collaboration on e-infrastructure ensured

A historical milestone in long-term Nordic collaboration has been reached with the signing of a 10-year agreement on joint development of advanced IT-services for research. The agreement will be presented Wednesday 15 May 2013 in Trondheim where the Nordic e-Infrastructure Collaboration (NeIC) is holding a conference on e-Infrastructure.

E-Infrastructure refers to the electronic super-highway: super-computers, data storage systems and services that facilitate efficient collaboration in the Digital Age. Operating these systems is costly and requires highly specialised competencies. In return, these systems provide researchers with access to the most advanced technologies and open new doors to the future.

Memorandum of Understanding funds e-Infrastructure until 2023

In the last 10 years, the Nordic countries have proven that collaboration on e-Infrastructure pays off. Since 2003, close collaboration on deployment of the first and only distributed Tier-1 Service within the Worldwide Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid at CERN has helped to advance basic physics research. This has in turn enabled the Nordic countries to make a modest, but significant, contribution to the discovery of the Higg’s particle in 2012, selected by Science magazine as Breakthrough of the Year, 2012.

Together, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Sweden have achieved results and built competencies, which would not have been possible for each country to obtain individually. Now these five countries have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which will ensure funding to the amount of 12.5 MNOK (2013) per year for the NeIC for the period 2013–2023. This will make it possible to develop services within a larger range of scientific fields under the ongoing collaboration. The NeIC is organised as a unit under NordForsk in Oslo.

Director of NordForsk, Gunnel Gustafsson, is pleased with this new step, saying:

“This is the first time a commitment to a 10-year long collaboration agreement has been achieved among the Nordic countries. Our research communities will benefit greatly from this extremely positive development. Each Nordic country in itself is too small to take part in the highly specialised e-Infrastructures, but together we can take full advantage of our resources.”

Conference and workshops in Trondheim 13-16 May 2013

Gudmund Høst, Director of the NeIC, is looking forward to presenting the new Memorandum of Understanding on Wednesday in Trondheim. Leading Nordic researchers and technical experts will be convening here for the conference entitled “Nordic e-Infrastructure Collaboration: Lessons, opportunities and future directions.”

“I’m looking greatly forward to four extremely busy days in Trondheim with 160 colleagues. This gathering of researchers and technical experts is a perfect environment for discussing and pinpointing important issues relating to e-Infrastructure. The conference will provide a good basis for fostering new ideas for innovative technological solutions, and help to pave the way for the future direction for Nordic e-Infrastructure Collaboration,” says Gudmund Høst.

“The Nordic research councils have shown great foresight in signing this Memorandum of Understanding, and created a framework ensuring that resources and capacity can be directed directly to the benefit of our researchers,” he concludes.

The conference is funded by Norden, NordForsk, Intel, HP, Hitachi Data Systems, CSC - IT Center for Science, DeIC, NeIC, NORDUnet, Norwegian University of Science & Technology, RHnet, Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing and UNINETT Sigma.


For further information about the conference 13-16 May 2013:

NeIC Director Gudmund Høst: gudmund.host@nordforsk.org +47 95 81 68 46 or Senior Adviser Erlendur Helgason: erlendur.helgason@nordforsk.org +47 90 11 10 12.
Press enquiries: Please contact Communications Adviser Linn Hoff Jensen: linn.jensen@nordforsk.org +47 97 46 65 64

About the Nordic e-Infrastructure Collaboration

The Nordic e-Infrastructure Collaboration (NeIC) is an organisation that facilitates the development of high-quality e-Infrastructure solutions in areas of joint Nordic interest. The NeIC is a distributed organisation consisting of technical experts from academic high-performance computing centres across the Nordic countries. Neic.nordforsk.org

NordForsk is an organisation under the Nordic Council of Ministers that provides funding for Nordic research cooperation as well as advice and input on Nordic research policy. Nordforsk.org

Text: Linn Hoff Jensen
Photo: Leigh Prather/shutterstock