What will online research environments look like in 2027?

Collaboration is indispensable for successful research. Physical, but also online collaboration. Virtual research environments are crucial in this respect. What will they look like in five years' time? We have drawn up a vision for that, based on discussions with a large number of stakeholders from the SURF community.
Twee onderzoekers in lap met laptop

Multidisciplinary and cross-institutional collaboration

The researcher who writes a dissertation on their own in their study room: this image is outdated. Research is developing strongly multidisciplinary and inter-institutional. Researchers from the same institution often work together, but more often than not, they collaborate with researchers from other scientific institutions or companies, both in the Netherlands and abroad. Online research environments (Virtual Research Environments, VREs) are needed for this type of collaboration.

The vision in brief

It is important for institutions to think together about the direction in which online research environments are developing. They have done so together with SURF, and so we have arrived at a shared vision of that direction up to 2027, which can be summarised as follows:

By 2027, we envisage a VRE ecosystem of portals and platforms that comply with national and international standards so that researchers can easily collaborate with good access to data and software in repositories. This will require national coordination of the ecosystem, including developing a VRE target architecture with its members, encouraging federated collaboration and concluding appropriate software licences. The VRE ecosystem must be organised in such a way that innovation of parts remains possible.

Not set in stone

Naturally, this vision is not set in stone. In the coming years, we will continue to discuss the theme of research environments with SURF members. The theme also has a place in the roadmaps of SURF's innovation programmes.