Home » News » 3rd General Assembly EOSC-Austria

The third General Assembly of the EOSC Support Office Austria

Vienna (Austria), 18 October 20223

© Franziska Krauss, Meghan Bohardt (University of Vienna), 20.11.2023

The Vienna Natural History Museum (NHMW) hosted the third General Assembly of Austria’s EOSC Mandated Organisation – EOSC Support Office Austria (EOSC SOA) on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, organised by Heimo Rainer, Head of the Department of Botany at the NHM and outgoing Chair of the EOSC SOA Management Board, and the SOA Secretariat. The SOA members came together to elect new candidates for the EOSC SOA governing bodies, reflect on achievements accomplished in the past year, and to engage in a lively discussion about EOSC’s near future. The event was covered on X (formerly known as Twitter) via @eoscassociation.

Katrin Vohland from the Vienna Natural History Museum

Photo: Alice Schumacher (NHMW)


Petra Karlhuber, Secretary General of the ACONET Association

Photo: Alice Schumacher (NHMW)

DSC_0361_Karel Luyben_

Karel Luyben, President of the EOSC Association

Photo: Alice Schumacher (NHMW)

Katrin Vohland, Director General of the NHM and chair of the EOSC SOA Steering Committee, welcomed all guests and discussed the NHM’s membership in the EOSC SOA and the EOSC Association within the context of the Museum’s Open Science strategy. After Heimo Rainer welcomed the University of Graz as a new member of the EOSC SOA in 2023, the members got ready to vote. Paolo Budroni (TU Wien Library) and Maria Seissl (Head of the Vienna University Library), as the first and second chairpersons of the SOA GA lead everyone through the election process. All the candidates who were up for election to the EOSC SOA governing bodies were confirmed in their respective positions. Their terms of office will commence with November 1, 2023.

With this election process, the coordinators of the EOSC SOA Working Groups were confirmed as well. Heimo Rainer presented their work over the past year and announced that out of eight Working Groups, six will continue their activities in 2024. The Working Groups on Stakeholder Engagement and Key Performance Indicators will go dormant by the end of 2023.

Petra Karlhuber, Secretary General of the ACONET Association as the formal Austrian EOSC Mandated Organisation, then took the floor to present an overview of ACONET Association’s news and activities over the past year. She introduced the audience to the new Association Board and discussed a new project the ACONET Association is leading: AQUnet, the Austrian Quantum Fiber Network, which aims to establish an Austria-wide fiberglass network for the distribution of quantum information and quantum metrology signals. Petra Karlhuber also announced that the ACONET Association will withdraw from PRACE by the end of 2023.

Going from the Austrian to the European level, Karel Luyben, President of the EOSC Association, presented EOSC as a concept and as a network, i.e., as a network of thematic or national nodes, and invited the audience to engage in a discussion about how EOSC will develop in the near future. In the lively exchange that followed, the discussants touched upon topics such as the further development of the EOSC governance structure, the added value of EOSC for European researchers, and the role of private service providers in EOSC.

In the second half of the event, Heimo Rainer reflected on the achievements accomplished during his term as first chair of the SOA Management Board; namely, focusing on internal and external communication measures. Mailing lists were restructured, the SOA community voted for a new logo for the initiative, and new issues of the SOA newsletter were published. As a result of the joint effort of the different EOSC SOA governing bodies, the EOSC SOA Activity Report for 2022 was produced. Heimo Rainer also mentioned the continuous effort and activities in the EOSC SOA Working Groups as well as Austria’s contribution to the EOSC Association Task Forces.

To provide a look at what is to come for the EOSC SOA in 2024, the newly elected chairs of the General Assembly and Management Board each gave a short statement of their plans and ambitions for the near future.

Ilire Hasani-Mavriqi (TU Graz), the new first chair of the EOSC SOA General Assembly, thanked the members for their trust and stressed the crucial role of Member States in building a sustainable EOSC. She intends to focus on aligning all initiatives, streamlining information, and coordination with the BMBWF (Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research).

As the new second chair of the SOA General Assembly, Barbara Sanchez (TU Wien) discussed the support for new research opportunities on part of both the Ministry and the universities, which will publish new calls for funding and continue building their infrastructures and training programs for research data management, respectively. She explained how she aims to continue to foster an environment of open dialogue and critical reflections at the EOSC SOA, keeping the FAIR principles at the forefront of all activities.

Tereza Kalová (University of Vienna), who is taking over the position as the first chair of the Management Board from Heimo Rainer, plans to focus on building capacity for Open Science practices, fostering a continuous exchange of ideas, and converging the European level of EOSC with the Austrian environment, e.g., by translating EOSC Task Force results to the Austrian context.

Turning to Austrian universities as key actors in the Open Science movement, Lola Karner gave a short presentation on Open Science Austria (OSA), an interdisciplinary stakeholder platform under the umbrella of the Austrian University Conference (UNIKO). OSA aims to actively shape the discourse on responsible research assessment and has joined COARA.

To conclude the event, Stefan Hanslik (BMBWF) took a look back at the beginnings of the EOSC SOA initiative and acknowledged the efforts and accomplishments achieved over the past years. He expressed the Ministry’s full support for the EOSC SOA and the activities envisioned for 2024 and thereafter.

Building on this strong support, the EOSC SOA is entering its next phase. We will keep you up to date on all activities and new developments on our website and in our newsletter.


Heimo Rainer (NHMW)

Photo: Alice Schumacher (NHMW)

DSC_0388_Ilire Hasani Mavriqi_

Ilire Hasani-Mavriqi (TU Graz)

Photo: Alice Schumacher (NHMW)

DSC_0394_Barbara Sánchez_

Barbara Sanchez (TU Wien)

Photo: Alice Schumacher (NHMW)

DSC_0399_Tereza Kalová_

Tereza Kalová (University of Vienna)

Photo: Alice Schumacher (NHMW)


DSC_0405_Lola Karner_

Lola Karner (OSA)

Photo: Alice Schumacher (NHMW)