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Austria in the development of EOSC

© Marthe Bierens (TU Graz)

The EOSC landscape is a dynamic and fast-growing environment. Austrian institutes and researchers have been part of this landscape since the beginning. The launch of the EOSC Association in 2020, to bring together a large group of stakeholders of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), was a crucial step towards establishing the legal entity to govern this endeavour. This role was confirmed through the creation of the EU co-programmed partnership, a tripartite initiative which includes the European Commission and the Member States. The mission of EOSC Association is to lead the development of EOSC as a ‘Web of FAIR Data and Services’ for science in Europe. EOSC will be a multi-disciplinary environment where researchers can publish, find and re-use data, tools and services, enabling them to better conduct their work.

The purpose of the Association is (1) to provide a single voice for advocacy and representation for the broader EOSC stakeholder community, (2) to promote the alignment of European Union research policy and priorities with activities coordinated by the Association, and (3) to enable seamless access to data through interoperable services that address the entire research data life cycle, from discovery to storage, management, analysis and re-use across borders and scientific disciplines.[1]

Several mechanisms have been put in place to give researchers, organisations and Member States the opportunity to contribute to these goals. The most important one is at present that of the Task Forces: These are 13 expert groups who on a voluntary basis discuss key areas of the implementation of EOSC, identify strategic gaps and areas for investment, and provide input to the EOSC Partnership’s Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda. Researchers from EOSC SOA members participate in 12 of the 13 Task Forces.

The European Commission is contributing to the development of EOSC through various funding streams, the most recent being the INFRAEOSC calls of the Horizon Europe programme. These projects develop different aspects of EOSC, ranging from key technical components, to addressing specific needs in Open Science of a community or research fields (e.g. sensitive medical data), to dissemination and training. Austrian partners are involved in many of these projects, including EOSC Focus, Skills4EOSC, EOSC Pillar, EOSC Future, E-IRG SP7, EOSC-Life, EGI-ACE, OntoCommons and EOSC4Cancer.

The EOSC Association is formed by Members and Observers, with a total of 240 organisations to date. 7 Austrian institutions (5 Members and 2 Observers) have joined the EOSC Association. Besides ordinary Members and Observers, Member States have the possibility of appointing one Mandated Organisation to represent its voice. In the case of Austria, ACONET is the official national representative. EOSC Support Office Austria serves as its operational body, actively working to achieve a coordinated contribution to EOSC from Austria, and to support the development of the Austrian Open Science Policy, thus realising the vision of EOSC on Austrian soil. If you are interested in becoming part of the development of EOSC, please join our initiative and become a member!

[1] EOSC-A Articles of Association: https://eosc.eu/eosc-association