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Cloud-Based Data Storage, Sharing Initiative Unveiled by European Commission

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The European Commission yesterday unveiled a new initiative to build a cloud-based infrastructure for the storage, sharing, and use of scientific and technological research data across Europe.

Called the European Open Science Cloud, the initiative will initially target the scientific community, but is expected to later include users from the public sector and industry. According to the EC, it represents one part of a broader effort to create a so-called Digital Single Market, which will coordinate efforts by European Union nations to digitize industry.

"Our goal is to … make science more efficient and productive and let millions of researchers share and analyze research data in a trusted environment across technologies, disciplines, and borders," Carlos Moedas, the EC commissioner for research, science, and innovation, said in a statement. "The benefits of open data for Europe's science, economy, and society will be enormous." 

Günther Oettinger, EC commissioner for the digital economy and society, added "The European Cloud Initiative will unlock the value of big data by providing world-class supercomputing capability, high-speed connectivity, and leading-edge data and software services for science, industry, and the public sector."

As part of its effort to build the European Open Science Cloud, the EC said that in 2017 it will open up all scientific data produced by future projects funded through the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. By 2020, it aims to have developed and deployed a large-scale European high-performance computing, data storage, and network infrastructure. 

The EC anticipates the overall cost of implementing the cloud initiative will be €6.7 billion ($7.6 billion), with €2 billion expected to come from Horizon 2020 funding. The remaining funding is expected to come from public and private investment over the next five years.