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March 23, 2020


As noted by our partner project, international challenges such as COVID-19, or climate change, highlight the need for open and integrated digital solutions in a transnational framework for scientific cooperation. These are key aspects of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) vision.

Over the past few weeks, as most universities and research institutions had to suspend classes and shift to remote work when possible, several EOSC-Pillar partners have been playing their part in dealing with the pandemic through open science and collaboration. These efforts once again proved the importance of national initiatives and of their cooperation in responding to these global public emergencies.

EOSC-Pillar partners and COVID-19

This month, as the COVID-19 situation became increasingly more intense across the EU, the Commission announced the selection of 17 new research projects on all aspects of this emergency: epidemiology, diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines. 

CINECA, one of the EOSC-Pillar partners in Italy, is participating in a crucial collaborative effort known as EXscalate4COV, the second largest of these projects, coordinated by the Italian pharmaceutical company Dompe. It aims at leveraging supercomputing resources such as CINECA’s Marconi supercomputer, coupling them with some of the continent’s best life-science research labs to counter international pandemics faster and more efficiently. Researchers will work to make the Exscalate platform a sustainable resource to be deployed in all future pandemic emergencies.

In the meantime, the French consortium for health science AVIESAN has selected 20 research projects on COVID-19. CNRS and INSERM, both partners in EOSC-Pillar, have contacted the project leaders to identify those who could benefit from our IT services. Two of them focussed respectively on epidemy propagation modelisation and virtual screening expressed a clear interest, so contacts were established to quickly respond to their needs using EOSC-Pillar services.

The European Open Science Cloud

Now, imagine if the results of all these efforts were consistently made available throughout Europe and beyond, via an interconnected framework accessible with the same credentials across domains. An ever-growing open science environment where researchers and institutions can collaborate and share cross-disciplinary data sets and results. This is what the European Open Science Cloud will provide to the scientific community, in the wake of global challenges that require adequate and coordinated answers. 

As proven by EOSC-Pillar and the other EOSC regional projects, local and national institutions are playing a fundamental part in the development of this framework, which will take into account the different levels of readiness and encourage cooperation between the Member States and Associated Countries. The results of our national initiatives survey, offering an overview of the current landscape of open science initiatives across the five EOSC-Pillar countries, are going to be discussed in our webinar on the 3rd of April

Our work will pave the way for the harmonisation of initiatives and the uptake of FAIR data principles across Member States, facilitating the implementation of the EOSC. 

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