Data, Computing and Digital Research Infrastructures

A Digital Infrastructure is broadly defined as a set of information and communication technology components, which typically include physical parts – computer and networking hardware and facilities – but also various software components. Digital infrastructure is tightly linked to a number of digital services and data repositories.

Digitalisation is a trend which is proceeding with increasing speed across all scientific domains. Essential components – such as computing, data, networks and software – work together forming an ecosystem where it is possible to transfer and analyse data in a much more extensive way than ever before. These components are together called e-infrastructures, a term which intends to indicate their horizontal nature serving all research infrastructures (RIs) at some level.

Digital Infrastructures are expected to boost research, growth, innovation and job creation. However, infrastructure as such is not the main target. To efficiently utilise the resources and understand the results with an ability to achieve high quality scientific breakthroughs, significant development of skills and competencies is needed. Priorities should include training software developers, data analysts, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and High-Performance Computing (HPC) experts, as well as domain scientists. This training, embracing the opportunity to work cross domain with the same e-infrastructure and services, ought to be a key goal for European advancement.

The e-infrastructure services at the European level are often being provided by federating national e-infrastructures in a collaborative setting. European initiatives are therefore dependent on the existence of strong and coherent national e-infrastructure nodes.