Researchers learn about SURF services
A first: workshop on ICT infrastructure for Roadmap projects
05 APR 2017
For the first time, NWO, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, brought together researchers and SURF and other providers of ICT services for research. This took place on 30 March, at a workshop on ICT Infrastructures for Roadmap projects, at SURFsara in Amsterdam.
In its National Roadmap for Large-scale Academic Infrastructure NWO has selected the 33 most important large-scale research facilities in the Netherlands. To be able to apply for funding, they need to "outline a true picture of the ICT infrastructure required, an agreement on this with SURF, and the costs it involves."
By doing this, NWO is confirming not only the need for powerful and reliable ICT provision for any type of large-scale research, but also the interest of making the best possible use of existing provision and expertise. This is a welcome new development, says Erik Fledderus, general director of SURF: "In the past, researchers only received financing for ICT facilities if they built them themselves. That was not very practical, because physicists or historians are not ICT experts."
Developments such as big data have also meant that the demand from researchers for support from SURF has grown hugely over the last few years. "We would love to meet the demand, as we are here to help with the advance of academic research. But that does have to be funded, of course, for example through these projects."
The workshop was organised jointly by NWO and SURF. The programme in the morning consisted of presentations by the organisations that have been created in order to support academic research in the Netherlands through ICT services. SURF, of course, but also, for example, the Netherlands eScience Center, DANS data storage, DTL (focused on life sciences) and Nikhef (institute for particle physics). Services from universities such as Groningen and 4TU were also there.
The ICT infrastructure they needed
In the afternoon, there were sessions where researchers mapped out the ICT infrastructure they needed, with the help of a facilitator, and using a questionnaire. Experts from the service providers were on hand to deal with questions. The service providers will also be available in the months following the workshop to provide support for queries about the Roadmap or other areas.