Moving forward a "Blue" European Open Science Cloud in 2017

This January 2017, the European Open Science Cloud pilot (EOSCpilot) kicked-off. The main scope of the pilot is to design and test the governance and policy frameworks that will enable for a successful development of the European Open Science Cloud as described in the EC Communication on European Cloud Initiatives [2016]. The major focus of the European Open Science Cloud will be on the integration and consolidation of e-infrastructures and on the federation of existing research infrastructures.
European Blue Growth
But what about all the services developed so far in the e-infrastructure world to support domain-specific communities? Is there place for them in the EOSC vision?
Absolutely, and it was engagingly discussed in Brussels, in January 2017, during the BlueBRIDGE workshop “Understanding how ecosystems of e infrastructures can support Blue Growth”. As the title of the event offers, the focus of the discussion was on the Blue Growth sector referring in particular to the aquaculture and ecosystem approach to fisheries domains. What is the role that data-driven science and innovation plays in the Blue Growth sector? How can European e-infrastructures concretely facilitate this role? Will the European Open Science Cloud benefit the Blue Growth Sector? Marco Weydert, Marine Resources Unit, DG-Research & Innovation, EU Commission, reassured all the participants that the Commission is going to set up a "Blue Cloud pilot", within the EOSC, aimed to analyse the needs of the Blue Growth community and provide them with the right services. Organisations working in the domains of fisheries and aquaculture are limited by a lack of data and an inadequate awareness of how marine and maritime science can efficiently support them in their daily work.
Weydert remarked that the players who will be part of the Blue Cloud Pilot must cover the full data work-flow starting from data collection, data access and harmonisation until data analysis and publication. During the workshop consensus was achieved on the fact that thematic infrastructures such as Copernicus and EMODnet, the European Marine Observation and Data Network, must be at the foundation of such a  Blue Cloud Pilot. They will be the data fuel. On the other hand, horizontal e-infrastructures providing basic services must be the engine to compute and store data. 
But something else is missing. Scientists, researchers, policy advisors and SMEs operating in the Blue Growth sector need customized services to solve specific problems and not always they have the skills to directly use the horizontal infrastructure services. Another layer on top of the horizontal e-infrastructures is needed and is represented by the thematic e-infrastructures, like the one underlying BlueBRIDGE, that provide dedicated community services and act as "mediator" between the e-infrastructure world and the end users. 
So what's our role in all of this?
Well, Trust-IT is involved in the outreach activities in predominantly all the initiatives mentioned above (such as EOSCpilot, BlueBRIDGE, Copernicus & EMODnet) and we act as the glue in streamlining the communication between all actors to getting the right message to  the relevant stakeholders of the Blue Growth sector and place existing challenges firmly on the radar, to help find solutions to them. Exciting times ahead for us all.
Publication date: 30 Jan 2017