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This press release is being issued by NeSC on behalf of the Office of Science and Innovation (OSI) e-Infrastructure Working Group

Developing the UK’s e-infrastructure: major report published today

Growth of the UK economy depends upon the innovations of its researchers, says OSI Working Group

8 th February, 2007. Maintaining the UK’s world leadership in research and innovation requires a national e-infrastructure capable of meeting the needs of researchers in the digital age.  Furthermore, there is a danger that without such an e-infrastructure, the development of the UK’s science and research base and the growth of its knowledge-based economy will be seriously impaired.

These are some of the findings of a major report published today which sets out the requirements for a national e-infrastructure to help ensure the UK maintains and indeed enhances its global standing in science and innovation in an increasingly competitive world.

Produced by the Office of Science and Innovation (OSI) e-Infrastructure Working Group, the report - Developing the UK’s e-infrastructure for science and innovation - calls for greater coordination between the key agencies in the field, greater investment in e-infrastructure and a ‘step-change’ in ‘national provision and concerted action towards e-infrastructure development.’ Without such a ‘step-change’, the report warns, the UK risks being overtaken by rapidly industrialising countries such as China, India and South Korea.

Made up of senior representatives from JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee), the Research Councils, RIN (Research Information Network) and the British Library, the Working Group was formed in response to the Science and Innovation Investment Framework 2004-2014, published by the Treasury, the DTI and the DfES in 2004, to explore the current provision of the UK’s e-infrastructure and help define its future development. While the current e-infrastructure has, the report finds, helped secure the current standing of UK research, supporting vital developments in many fields, such a position is not sustainable, it continues, without high-level coordination, political will and significant further investment.

The working group established six sub-groups which have each produced reports, also published today, in the following areas:

  1. Data and information creation
  2. Preservation and curation
  3. Search and navigation
  4. Virtual research communities
  5. Networks, compute and data storage
  6. AAA (authentication, authorisation and accounting), middleware and DRM (digital rights management)

The overarching report presents these six areas as distinct but interconnected stages of a lifecycle, a lifecycle that is crucial, the report argues, to the future of research in the UK and to the research community’s activities to engage with industry and apply its world-leading innovations to commercial use.

To access the report, please go to: www.nesc.ac.uk/documents/OSI/index.html


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