Kick-off meeting of the EOSC Sustainability Working Group
The EOSC Sustainability Working Group (WG) met face-to-face and for the first time on 11th July 2019 in Frankfurt.
The meeting was intended to set the scene by reminding the members of the objectives of EOSC, its governance structure, the mandate of the Sustainability WG as well as its expected deliverables. Moreover, it was the first opportunity for WG members, chairs, rapporteur, EC and EOSCsecretariat representatives to meet and exchange views. Coming from 18 countries, the members collectively have a wide range of profiles and extensive experience. At the same time it was recognised that interaction with the other WGs will be important.
The members summarised their experience, their aspirations for the WG and what they see as the key opportunities and risks to its success.
A key objective of the Sustainability WG is to identify the most probable alternatives for the business models and legal structure of the EOSC. It was agreed to provide an initial analysis of alternative business model scenarios and potential future legal models by the first quarter of 2020. The alternatives and options will then be further refined and finalised towards the third quarter of 2020. In order to identify such alternatives, the Sustainability WG decided it was first necessary to clearly define the scope and function of the EOSC.
The concept of the EOSC as a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that offers added value to researchers was taken as a starting point with its scope as described in the Strategic Implementation Plan:
“Based on the consultation of stakeholders, the EOSC should be a federation of existing and planned research data infrastructures, adding a soft overlay to connect them and making them operate as one seamless European research data infrastructure.”
The Sustainability WG will collectively review the assembled background material, including the results from EOSC related H2020 projects, input gathered by the members and potentially perform studies using external expertise to assess relevant aspects and options in four domains:
- Analysis of hybrid financing models taking into account alignment with national investments and roadmaps as well as European Commission programmes and funding instruments.
- Identification of the conditions under which a legal entity for EOSC is necessary, and if so, possible structures that are compatible with existing national and European legislation.
- Identification of governance framework options for each possible legal vehicle.
- Impact assessment of regulatory and policy environment relevant to the EOSC.
The assessment will take an iterative approach, starting from the MVP, with each iteration progressively adding more functionality and services while analysing the impact such an expansion would have on the four domains listed above.
The intention is to have a first strawman document ready in September 2019 for discussion with the Governing Board.
This strawman document will also be shared with EOSCsecretariat.eu in order to prepare the terms-of-reference for studies that are deemed necessary by the Working Group.
In terms of communication, the need for documented scenarios further highlighting the EOSC value proposition for researchers was identified and will also be discussed with EOSCsecretariat.eu.
The Sustainability WG will convene monthly via teleconferences and plans to organise face-to-face meetings as frequently as reasonable, by default, up to once per quarter.