E-infrastructure - taking forward the strategy
Following the publication in 2004 of the Science and Innovation Investment Framework 2004-2014, a working group was established under the auspices of the then OST to consider priorities and proposals for action in developing the e-infrastructure necessary to underpin the continuing success of the UK research base. The working group’s report Developing the UK’s e-infrastructure for science and innovation was published in February 2007.
The report called for a step-change in national provision, with greater investment and more co-ordination between the key agencies in the ﬁeld leading to concerted action on e-infrastructure development. Without such a step-change, it warned, the UK risks losing its place as one of the most productive and successful research nations in the world.
Although the report was delivered over three years ago, there has been little progress in determining whether and how its recommendations might be taken forward by relevant agencies, including Government Departments, the Funding Councils and the Research Councils. The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and RCUK therefore instituted a review of the 2007 report and its recommendations, with the aim of producing a new report setting out practical next steps. As the ﬁrst stage of that review, the ESRC, on behalf of DBIS and RCUK, commissioned the Research Information Network (RIN), working in partnership with the Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation (ISSTI) at the University of Edinburgh, to undertake a series of 40 semi-structured interviews with research funders, and with specialists (from the UK and overseas) in information technologies, e-science, and e-infrastructure. The results of the interviews were intended to inform the deliberations of an Expert Group, charged with the production of the report. That Group was chaired by Professor Carole Goble, from the University of Manchester, and made up of representatives from the British Library, JISC, the Research Councils and the RIN.
- The key objectives in this series of interviews were to gather evidence and perceptions on
progress in developing the UK’s e-infrastructure for research since the original report was published in early 2007;
- areas of the original report and its recommendations that may need further consideration; and
- priorities for implementation that should be included in the Action Plan, and in particular where Government intervention may be required.
The interviews were carried out during the summer and autumn of 2009. These were synthesised into this document, which was submitted to the Expert Group in December 2009. Now that the Group has completed its work, in the form of its report Delivering the UK’s e-infrastructure for research and innovation, published in July 2010, the RIN document too is being available in the hope that it will provide an evidence base and some valuable insights into the rationale underlying the arguments in the report.