EOSC Focus meets to coordinate final year of the project

BRUSSELS – The EOSC Focus consortium partners convened at the EOSC Association (EOSC-A) offices in Brussels on Friday, 19 April 2024, for their second in-person General Assembly (GA).

Representatives of the nine beneficiaries gathered for the full-day, hands-on meeting to evaluate the progress of the EU-funded project and identify key priorities considering the latest developments in the EOSC ecosystem. The energised and positive in-person meeting also facilitated the fine-tuning of an ambitious work plan in advance of the project’s final year.

Scheduled to conclude in May 2025, the EOSC Focus project aims to support the Horizon Europe co-programmed European Partnership for EOSC (the EOSC Partnership) in its mission to establish Open Science as the “new normal”. The second GA centered on integrating the work of the consortium partners with the immediate needs and long-term objectives of the EOSC Partnership.

Adapting to emerging needs in the EOSC ecosystem

The GA was strategically organised to take place three days after the Partnership’s European Tripartite Event, a meeting that brought together representatives of the European Commission, the EOSC Steering Board, and the EOSC Association to discuss high-level, forward-looking topics pertaining to the deployment of EOSC. Outcomes of the European-level event informed the lively discussions during the GA and helped the EOSC Focus partners to determine what activities to prioritise for the months ahead.

Fresh from the Tripartite Event, Karel Luyben, President of the EOSC Association, informed the GA participants that EOSC-A had received a mandate within the Tripartite to lead on the development of the EOSC Federation Handbook, the community-driven effort to develop the EOSC Federation. EOSC Focus, in particular Work Package 5 “Sustaining EOSC” will support the work led by the EOSC-A Board of Directors.

Fostering collaboration on all fronts

The agenda moved through the financial status of the project and onto updates on the integrated activities of the six Work Packages. The achievements of the consortium so far were recognised in the European Commission’s Research Executive Agency’s (REA) mid-project review issued in March, and are evident in the nine approved deliverables that are available on eosc.eu.

One of the key objectives of EOSC Focus is to strengthen collaboration within the complex, multi-stakeholder EOSC ecosystem. To achieve this goal, the partners have supported the organisation of National Tripartite Events, conducted interviews that highlight the work of EOSC-A Mandated Organisations, and closely monitored activities in regions across Europe.

While continuing to implement impactful country-specific activities, the project will systematically expand on its outreach events to empower national level communities and support capacity development.

EOSC Focus is preparing a report from the Winter School 2024, which will be published in May and will include practical action points to maximise the impact of results from projects funded by the EU in direct support of the implementation of EOSC. The partners have also created an online workspace on the EOSC Forum for each Opportunity Area Group to encourage their members to share ideas and collaborate in an efficient way.

Building on the achievements of the first EOSC Winter School, organised at the beginning of 2024 with the support of EOSC Focus, the group discussed how to best sustain collaboration across EOSC-related Horizon Europe projects and deepen understanding in the Opportunity Areas identified for the technical development of EOSC.

Macro-Roadmap for the implementation of EOSC

One of the numerous achievements of the EOSC Focus project has been the creation of the first visual EOSC Macro-Roadmap for the implementation of EOSC. To populate the roadmap, the team interviewed 18 Horizon Europe projects and mapped their results over time and according to selected objectives of the EOSC Partnership’s Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda (SRIA). By summer 2024, the project will conduct interviews with the seven new Horizon Europe INFRAEOSC projects funded under the 2023 call.

An ambitious plan to upgrade the Macro-Roadmap and populate it with additional content was presented at the meeting. By the end of the year, the interactive roadmap will also include the deliverables of the EOSC-A Task Forces and selected use cases from the in-kind contributions, or so-called Addithttps://eosc.eu/macro-roadmap/ional Activities, of the EOSC Association members.

Looking back and looking ahead

After the lunch break, the group decided on specific actions in response to recommendations from the review by REA of the project’s First Periodic Technical Report, which the consortium submitted in January. The assessment concludes that the project has advanced substantially towards its objectives and “has so far [made] an active and positive contribution in shaping the future of EOSC.”

Before wrapping up, the delegates dedicated ample time to scrutinising EOSC Focus’s ambitious work plan for 2024-2025 and discussing the strategic considerations around the organisation of the EOSC Symposium this autumn. The symposium is not only a critical event on the path to EOSC post-2027, but also an important milestone for the EOSC Focus project, as many of the activities discussed at the GA will directly feed into the Symposium’s programme.

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