The overall purpose of the EOSC Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda, or SRIA, is to define the general framework for future research, development and innovation activities in relation to the European Open Science Cloud.
This framework will be further developed in the context of the EOSC Partnership, drawing on inputs from EOSC Association member organisations and Task Forces.
The SRIA is of interest to all the individuals and organisations interested in or impacted by EOSC, both now and within the timeframe of Horizon Europe. This includes research-performing organisations, research funders, service providers, governmental organisations, companies/businesses and citizens. Naturally the European Commission is also a key stakeholder for the SRIA as it is used to inform the work programmes via the Multi-Annual Roadmap (MAR), which forms Section 8 of the SRIA.
The current version of the SRIA (1.2) was approved by the EOSC Partnership Board at their 5th meeting on 06 December 2023.
The structure of the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda
- New ways of science
- The current, digital age is the most recent stage in an evolving continuum of ways in which technology has supported and enhanced science. This section outlines the history of the digitisation of research, establishing the technological context from which the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) has evolved. It includes lessons to be learned, and developments from which EOSC will benefit and to which it will contribute.
- EOSC in the making
- The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) initiative is the tangible outcome of a number of key European and global policy milestones and position statements regarding Open Science. EOSC is an integral part of, and supports, the European Commission’s strategy for realising the European Research Area (ERA), in particular the policy priorities of Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World and the goal of findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) data. This section outlines the EC policy context for and stages of EOSC’s development, including its governance structure and activities during the transition period 2019–2020, and the landscape of national infrastructures and international initiatives, as well as the role of the governance of EOSC in the form of the EOSC Association.
- Strategic objectives of the European Open Science Cloud
- The first two sections of this Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda have placed the European Open Science Cloud in the context of the digital age and of Europe’s strategy towards Open Science and FAIR data. This section outlines the challenges that remain with regard to that legacy, and the role EOSC will take in alleviating them, specifically through the overarching objectives that must be achieved in order to realise the potential benefits for science and society.
- Guiding principles
- If EOSC is seen as the European endeavour of sharing research data, then this complements the European means to handle these data: the e-infrastructures in Europe. Data without e-infrastructures to store, compute and connect are of no use to EOSC and can only exist on paper or in the researcher’s head. On the other hand, e-infrastructures without any data (only ‘zeros’ or ‘ones’) are meaningless. Data- and e-infrastructures form what can be thought of as a ‘Yin-Yang’ relationship. One is not possible without the other. Whether the whole of data-infrastructures and e- infrastructures should be called EOSC or whether EOSC is only a part of that is largely a question of semantics.
- Implementation challenges
- Based on the guiding principles and recommendations, the European Open Science Cloud governing bodies have identified fourteen action areas to help deploy the EOSC ecosystem. The seven areas relating to the primarily technical challenges and prerequisites to implementing the EOSC ecosystem are:
- Metadata and ontologies;
- FAIR metrics and certification;
- Authentication and authorisation infrastructure;
- User environments;
- Resource provider environments;
- EOSC Interoperability Framework.
This section describes each of those areas, giving an assessment of status, identifying gaps and proposing priorities. The remaining action areas are described in the next section, Boundary conditions.
- Boundary conditions
- Seven action areas have been identified by the EOSC governing bodies to help deploy the EOSC ecosystem which relate to the social, financial, legal, educational and cultural challenges and prerequisites to its implementation. These are classified as boundary conditions and are:
- Rules of Participation;
- Landscape monitoring;
- Business models;
- Skills and training;
- Rewards and recognition;
- Widening to public and private sectors and going global.
This section describes each of those areas, for each one providing an assessment of status, identifying gaps, proposing priorities and, where appropriate, describing some further considerations which should be taken into account.
- Expected impacts
- The climate crisis, the extinction of species, global poverty and social inequality are only a few of the challenges that humankind is facing in the 21st century [EC_HE_Missions]. Research plays a crucial role in addressing these challenges and, against this background, EOSC will be a major European vehicle for joining forces to help transform individual research efforts into collective efforts. EOSC will also help to fill infrastructure as well as social gaps in unstructured areas, and play a significant role in raising to the most advanced level the science domains that have unsatisfied e-needs, with the target to increase levels of integration.
- This Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) sets clear goals to develop the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and build a research environment that promotes Open Science and increases trust in and reproducibility of research. The overall impact is a pan- European research landscape that offers significantly improved discovery, access, interoperability, and exploitation of research outputs for researchers and for research and innovation stakeholders.
The funding periods for the Horizon Europe (HE) work programmes and the SRIA implementation stages both run from 2021 until and including 2027. Each stage defines a high-level objective for the period, aligned with the vision of enabling a trusted, virtual, federated environment in Europe to store, share and reuse research outputs across borders and scientific disciplines. For each stage, priority areas are defined, their prioritisation and scheduling reflecting community feedback from the open consultation process.
The Multi-Annual Roadmap
The Multi-Annual Roadmap (MAR) forms Section 8 of the SRIA.
The EOSC Association periodically updates the MAR to devise a set of priority actions and outcomes, The current MAR, as presented in SRIA 1.2, covers the 2025-2027.
The 2025-2027 MAR builds on work conducted in the previous phase of development. Priorities are assigned to three levels for implementation:
- European: denoting everything done at European level, be that projects financed through the Horizon Europe programme, activities of the EOSC Association, or work by research infrastructures and service organisations operating at a European level.
- National: denoting national level activities in the Member States or Associated Countries that contribute to the development of EOSC as described in the SRIA.
- Institutional: denoting activities within participating institutions (e.g. a university or other research-performing organisation) that are aligned with the country strategy and development of EOSC as described in the SRIA.