The Nordic region – leading the efforts on eInfrastructure

Sverker Holmgren, Programme Director for NordForsk’s eScience Globalisation Initiative, has been appointed chair of the e-Infrastructure Reflection Group (e-IRG). e-IRG is a resource group that lays the strategic foundation for eInfrastructure in Europe. He takes over for Gudmund Høst, who was recently appointed Director of the Nordic e-Infrastructure Collaboration (NeIC). The NeIC is a collaboration between the Nordic countries to facilitate the development of eInfrastructure solutions for Nordic research communities.

eInfrastructure a priority area

A well-functioning electronic infrastructure (eInfrastructure) is an indispensable part of modern interdisciplinary and transnational research. Through the development of eInfrastructure, vast amounts of data and resource-intensive computational operations can be distributed regardless of geographic distance. The Asian countries are investing heavily in eInfrastructure and are at the forefront in the field. The EU’s dynamic goal to become the most competitive region in the world, laid down in Horizon 2020, requires a strong focus on eInfrastructure. The e-IRG resource group has a vital role to play in laying a foundation to achieve this goal. Established in 2003, e-IRG aims to create a political, technological and administrative framework for the electronic infrastructure in Europe. A crucial part of the future efforts will be to create a strategic basis for the activities and provide support to national as well as international initiatives in the field.

Nordic region attracting attention

The new chair, Sverker Holmgren, believes that the Nordic region has made great strides in the development of eInfrastructure. “Many of the objectives that e-IRG identifies as strategically important have already been achieved in the Nordic countries. Many of NordForsk’s programmes and projects derive enormous benefit from the work being done with eInfrastructure. The NeIC will coordinate the eInfrastructure activities in the Nordic region and will ensure more effective use and coordination of the data networks already found at the national research institutions. These efforts are attracting attention from Europe. The Nordic region is one of the few regions that has developed a mature collaboration on this type of infrastructure, in relation to the cooperation in CERN, for instance. Dynamic research groups in the areas of health, bioscience and climate have a great need for good eInfrastructure. The Nordic initiative in this field will therefore generate benefits in the form of higher efficiency and better distribution of research across national boundaries and subject areas.

Text: Marius Hagen/photo Shutterstock

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