Investments in data management and scientific computing open up new opportunities

Ministry of Education and Culture 13.11.2017 12.52 | Published in English on 5.12.2017 at 12.42
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During 2017–2021, the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, together with other research and innovation operators, will implement a development programme for research infrastructures and services in data management and computing. Among other things, the programme will update computing environments supporting research and improve services for research and education.

“The constantly increasing amount of data and the application of computing methods create new opportunities for an increasing number of disciplines, but they also require diverse services that support the infrastructure,” said Erja Heikkinen, Counsellor for Science Affairs at the Ministry, during a workshop organised by the Data and Computing 2021 development programme.

The core of the development programme consists of investments that will update the computing environment of CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd and ensure international cooperation. In spring 2017, in the mid-term review of the Government Programme, the Finnish Government agreed that research infrastructure in this field will be developed to meet the international standards, and areas such as research and education related to artificial intelligence will be strengthened. Over the next years, a total of approximately 35 million euros will be invested in the development of data management, computing environments and related services.

According to Heikkinen, a high-quality research infrastructure for data management and computing enables increasingly diverse data-intensive research in Finland and supports international research collaboration.

“Finns are already actively involved in a number of European research infrastructures. Strong national infrastructure and competence are required to be able to utilise international environments and European research funding.”

The development programme also takes into account the developments in the research infrastructure policies applied in the Nordic and European countries. In Europe, there are two new ongoing initiatives that are directly related to the national development programme. The European Commission is preparing a proposal concerning the implementation of a European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and an initiative concerning high-performance computing. The schedule for these proposals is the end of this year or the beginning of next year.

Data management and computing development needs discussed in a workshop

In future, the infrastructure that is about to be renewed and the related services will be provided for the research community with a wider access, as the researchers of government research institutes will also be granted access to the national computing and data management environment. From CSC, the Ministry of Education and Culture buys services that support the development programme’s implementation. These purchases for the research community amount to 10.5 million euros on an annual basis. The services have been available to researchers from universities and universities of applied sciences, but research institutes have been charged for their use. The driver for unifying the principles of use is the desire to promote cooperation and improve opportunities for competence-based growth.

In the workshop organised by the Data and Computing 2021 development programme, more than 50 researchers and research administration specialists from universities, universities of applied sciences and government research institutes worked to create a snapshot of the requirements for the research infrastructure, services and competences related to data management and computing. In addition, a separate review has been prepared on the data management and computing requirements of research institutes.

A steering group nominated by the Ministry is responsible for the various development programme areas, and it supports competence development. The group comprises representatives of ministries, research organisations, companies and research funders.

A new national research information hub is being prepared parallel to the development programme. CSC is implementing and coordinating a national service that compiles metadata on publications, research data, research infrastructures, researchers, projects and research teams.

More information on the development programme and its implementation

Further information

Counsellor for Science Affairs, Erja Heikkinen (Chair of the steering group; Ministry of Educationand Culture), tel. +358 295 330 101

Counsellor of Education, Petteri Kauppinen (Ministry of Education and Culture), tel. +358 295 330 147

Senior Science Adviser, Anu Nuutinen (Academy of Finland), tel. +358 295 335 085

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