Towards Sustainable Funding Models for the European Open Science Cloud

Landscape, Monitoring and Engagement arrow_forward Landscape Monitoring


EOSC needs to overcome challenges, including the highly fragmented research data landscape with widely varying levels of “FAIRness”; complexity, variety and lack of overall coherence of the funding landscape.

It is widely agreed that the future stability and success of EOSC requires an agreed sustainable financing plan, but this is lacking. This topic is the focus of this report.


It presents the interim findings of the Task Force, including a scoped view of the main EOSC building blocks.

Target audience: EOSC Tripartite Governance, EOSC-A mandated organisations and Task Forces, relevant experts such as EOSC projects, ESFRI RIs and European e-Infrastructures.

Main highlights

The Financial Sustainability Task Force focussed on the main building blocks of EOSC: EOSC-Core, EOSC-Exchange and the Federation of Data & Data Services.

It has scoped and defined the EOSC Exchange and Data Federation in the context of financial sustainability, identified barriers and boundary conditions, and performed initial development of financial scenarios for the EOSC Core, Exchange and Data Federation which address the period from 2027 onwards, after EC Framework Programme seed funding for EOSC runs out.

The landscape is evolving rapidly and numerous strands of activity are taking place currently which will inform or influence the future work.

This report summarised the beginning of the work to develop proposals for long-term financial sustainability of the main building blocks of EOSC (EOSC Core, EOSC Exchange and the Federation of data & Data Services). It also provided a basis for further study of relevant aspects, and for developing validated scenarios and recommendations for financial sustainability of EOSC.

Key recommendations

The Core should be funded by public money provided by the EC and member states, and associated countries. Joint ownership goes hand-in-hand with joint funding of EOSC Core. The MS and EC will jointly decide the strategic direction of EOSC and align it with wider European vision and priorities. Strong representation of the research community is also required, to ensure EOSC serves researchers’ needs. In-kind contributions by MS may be considered but do not confer the right to be exempted from the financial contribution. Individual researchers should not be excluded, should their country decide not to pay the contribution.

Analysis of the Exchange identified three distinct types of service provisioning, each supported by a different financial model:

  • Centrally financed consumption of services, including a selective service portfolio of essential services (horizontal and thematic) which is 100% centrally funded
  • Procurement-compliant access to contracts with research-relevant commercial services
  • Not-for-profit community services brokered between the thousands of organisational participants in the EOSC, with service transactions facilitated by the marketplace. This category constitutes the true marketplace of EOSC. It includes both horizontal and thematic services.

For the EOSC Exchange to work and be sustained, funds need to be found to meet the marginal costs of the additional cross-border consumption of services arising through EOSC. The mandate of national service providers and institutions needs to change, to provide their services outside currently established boundaries, and/or against payment in the EOSC Exchange.

Assessing the financial needs for EOSC Data Federation requires consideration of costs at European level but also at local/regional, national, international and thematic levels. Federation of data must use existing infrastructures and thematic ecosystems without duplicating efforts. Categories of additional costs for data federation include those for making data FAIR, making experiments reproducible, ensuring long-term access to data, and federating data to EOSC. Issues which arise include

  • the need to de-duplicate data
  • the costs and consequences of harmonisation – alignment of metadata schemas and associated access procedures, certification and validation of repositories and operation and maintenance costs, in particular what will happen to the current thematic data portals once a model for federating data into EOSC has been created
  • the costs of legal and ethical issues including sensitive data, where the Task Force recommends creating a federated group of experts for the EOSC and also setting up a risk management contingency fund.