Integral approach for strengthening ICT infrastructure for research

31 October 2019

NWO has submitted the Implementation Plan Investments Digital Infrastructure to the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ingrid Van Engelshoven. This plan is a further elaboration of the previously published advisory report Integral Approach for Digitisation in Science about how the ICT infrastructure for research and the associated expertise can be strengthened in the Netherlands.

In line with the plan, a long-term strategy for future investments in High-Performance Computing will be published for the first time. The implementation plan has been realised in consultation with relevant parties from the field. With this NWO - at the request of the Ministry of Education Culture and Science - has provided a framework for the annual investment of 20 million euros to strengthen the ICT infrastructure for research, as included in the Coalition Agreement.

In the implementation plan, NWO calls for the extra ICT funds to be deployed along two main lines: strengthening the national high-performance computer facilities and supporting the continuing digitisation of science.

Strengthening the national high-performance computer facilities

Low-threshold access to high-performance computer facilities is vital for carrying out top research. Due to the digitisation of all scientific disciplines, a growing number of researchers need high-performance computer facilities. Good support is also needed to train these researchers in using this ICT infrastructure. Other facilities for data processing at SURF will also be strengthened. In addition, funding will be made available to staff these facilities with the appropriate expertise and to provide users with support so that the full potential of the computer facilities can be utilised.

Digitisation

Part of the funds will be used for realising the ambitions stated in Theme 2 of the National Platform Open Science: making research datable suitable for use. NWO encourages knowledge institutions to consolidate their expertise in the area of research data management and research software at a single location within the institution: the digital competence centre (DCC). For researchers, these DCCs are a local hub for support and technological resources in the area of research data, open data and FAIR data. NWO is making one-off funding available for strengthening the DCCs. In addition, NWO will make funds available for developing and disseminating knowledge within and between DCCs, in collaboration with SURF. Furthermore, in 2020, a funding instrument will be opened  for broader thematic DCCs, which support digitisation in a specific scientific discipline, for example. Finally, the open rounds of The Netherlands eScience Center, which support digitisation across the entire breadth of science with scientific software, will be expanded.

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Source: NWO