Italy at the forefront of European Open Science
The first general assembly of EOSC Aisbl, the international organization that aims at implementing the European vision of open science, saw the election of the Italian Marialuisa Lavitrano as Director with a three-year mandate in the first BoD.
Full professor of general pathology at the University of Milan Bicocca and director of BBMRI.it, the Italian node of the European BioBanking Infrastructure (BBMRI-ERIC), Lavitrano was nominated by ICDI (Italian Computing and Data infrastructure), the initiative that gathers the main Italian research institutions and infrastructures. Her candidacy was strongly supported by the CNR, INFN, the University of Milan-Bicocca and the entire Italian Research and Academic community, and was endorsed by many research infrastructures and European universities.
"The pandemic we are experiencing has dramatically demonstrated the need for a broader, more transparent, timely and transnational sharing of research data to find answers to the challenges posed by the epidemic - said Marialuisa Lavitrano - The COVID 19 emergency is not the exception, but only further confirmation of the great global scientific challenges of our time and future ones, from climate change to the fight against diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer's to energy and food security. EOSC is the right way to achieve these goals by promoting the fundamental importance of open science not only for researchers, but for society as a whole ".
EOSC is an initiative launched by the European Commission in 2018 with the aim of realizing the vision of a European Research Data Commons, in which data is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) across borders and scientific disciplines, with the goal of making scientific processes more efficient, inclusive and transparent and improving the return on investment in research.
At the heart of this endeavour lays the EOSC Association, which brings together universities, research institutions, funding agencies and research infrastructures from all across Europe and represents one of the fundamental elements for the co-design and implementation of EOSC: through the formalization of an agreement in partnership with the European Commission, the association will define the strategic agenda for the realization of the Open Science Cloud in the seven years of the next Horizon Europe framework program for research and innovation, and will orchestrate its implementation.
During the general assembly, which took place yesterday, December 17, in videoconference due to the pandemic-related restrictions, the 140 delegates of research infrastructures and scientific and academic institutions from all over Europe elected the first board, which will accompany the association in its first steps. The Italian scientific and academic community is deeply committed to achieving the EOSC goals and the election of Professor Lavitrano with the highest number of preferences represents a recognition of this leadership role.
Karel Luyben, rector of the Technical University of Delft and chair of CESAER, the conference of European polytechnic universities, was proclaimed President.
Marialuisa Lavitrano was elected Director for a three-year term, together with Suzanne Dumouchel (CNRS, FR) and Klaus Tochtermann (ZBV, DE). 2-year directors Ignacio Blanquer (UPV, ES) and Sarah Jones (GEANT) were elected, while Wilhelm Widmark (SU), Bob Jones (CERN) and Ronan Byrne (HEAnet) were elected for a one-year term.
The European Cloud for Open Science (EOSC), is an initiative launched by the European Commission in November 2018. EOSC is building a platform that, through the federation of existing and future data infrastructures, will provide researchers, innovators, businesses and citizens an environment with open services for the management, analysis and reuse of research data across different disciplines.
The EOSC Association, established last July 2020, is an important step towards the realization of EOSC and plays a crucial role in bringing together, in a single structure, the interested stakeholders and in particular the authorized bodies, including the Italian ICDI network, and the National Open Science Initiatives (NOSCI) which coordinate nationally the participation of research organizations and research infrastructure operators in order to actively contribute and monitor future EOSC developments. During the first general assembly on December 17, the four founding members of the EOSC Association - CESAER, CSIC, ICDI and GÉANT - officially welcomed and approved 142 members, including 21 organizations with national mandates, as well as 49 observers.
ICDI (Italian Computing and Data Infrastructure) is a forum created by representatives of major Italian Research Infrastructures and e-Infrastructures, with the aim of promoting sinergies at the national level, and optimising the Italian participation to European and global challenges in this field, including the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), the European Data Infrastructure (EDI) and HPC. As of today, ICDI is regulated by a MoU signed by Area Science Park, CINECA, CNR, Elettra Sincrotrone, ENEA, GARR, INAF, INFN, INGV, OGS, SISSA, Università di Milano-Bicocca and open to the participation of other organisations.
ICDI is one of the four founding members of the EOSC Association: the incorporation was signed on 29 July 2020 in Brussels by representatives of GARR (www.garr.it), of CSIC (with a similar role of national representation of the activities of scientific data for Spain) and by two European organizations: CESAER and the GÉANT network.
ICDI can therefore be considered a contact point for the coordination of Italian participation in EOSC development initiatives.