Interactions for Sustaining a UK Research Computing Ecosystem

There appears to be every prospect in the immediate future for real development to enhance the computing infrastructure that underpins research in the UK. This comes after several years of sound and detailed analysis showing why this is crucial, in documents like the RCUK’s ‘Review of e-Science’.

On 8 July, the Town Meeting – referred to in the previous “Industrial Relations in Plans for Research Computing” post – looked to put the final touches to a Strategic Plan for the UK Research Computing Ecosystem. It was very well attended, only underlining the urgency felt by researchers for this issue to move forward.

Before the Town Meeting, there were still inevitable questions. From Searchlighter’s point of view, one concerned the balance of the stakeholders declaring an interest in this issue being able to cover all the bases on what is required in any infrastructure of this kind. Is the engagement of a kind that the issue demands? (more…)

Open Discovery and a Vision for Innovations

Towards the end of May 2011, the Wellcome Trust hosted an event to reflect on the work of the Resource Discovery Task Force so far.

This was an opportunity for JISC Involve to invite the participants at the core of the work to present their thoughts, for there to be a launch of the Discovery site, ready for Phase 2 of the project, with the newly drafted Open Metadata Principles prominent to coincide with their launch at this conference. While the day was self-contained, my week as a whole had also given me a useful introduction.

The day before, I attended another event, hosted by Mobile VCE as a workshop on future business models for mobile environments. It became apparent that the stakeholders in the development of these environments had all seen quite quickly that old rules and old models for sustaining innovation and business were just not applicable anymore, and had to be ripped to shreds so that new answers could be found, so that collaborators, colleagues, competitors and ‘enemies’ alike could see where the opportunities lay – to the long-term advantage of everyone.


The road ahead emerging after JANET’s ‘technical first’

It has to be worth noting that JANET has delivered a “technical first for UK research and education” by switching up to 100Gbit/s. As so many budgets are being slashed, is this a real indication about investing in the future?

It is hard to dismiss. While other countries are rushing ahead for the ordinary consumer, the UK has the fastest speeds at the heart of research and education.

At the same time, we have to wonder about the future when another story is emerging that the Government might take the cuffs off HEI admissions. There seems to be real consideration being given for Universities in the UK to admit ‘additional’ students, over and above the allocation, that can pay for their places and maintenance without troubling the public purse – and in many cases not exactly troubling their parents’ wallet either… (more…)

Common Strategic Framework – worth waiting for?

Researchers, businesses, public bodies, and various third-sector organisations that have been a part of the EU Framework Programmes in recent years will be learning more and more over the next two years about the new Common Strategic Framework.

The Framework was set up to support the ambitions for Europe 2020 – and we will all be eager to see if it really does meet the demands made by the research community.

Can a single, streamlined framework focused on this key strategy for the next decade lead to the innovative work the Community wants to see taking place in Europe?