All hands on deck! Charting a course for the EOSC Association

All hands on deck! Charting a course for the EOSC Association

All hands on deck! Charting a course for the EOSC Association


03 Jul 2020

The EOSC Executive Board met (virtually, of course) last week on Thursday and Friday to discuss progress of our activities. First, of course a reminder, that both the EOSC Partnership Proposal, as well as the EOSC workplan are available now for download.

The first main item on the agenda was the evaluation of the EOSC initial phase.  A survey was conducted and analysis of findings has recently been carried out by the EOSC Secretariat project, in support of the overall assessment of progress of the first phase of the EOSC implementation. The objective of the questionnaire was not to evaluate the performance or activities of EOSC-related projects, but to understand their contribution to the overall progress of the implementation by December 2020. I would like to thank all the 30+ EOSC related projects which have taken the time and effort to complete the survey.

The remaining time of the morning was dedicated to the discussion of the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA), the next big document that needs to be tackled and be in shape before the end of the year, when the mandate of the current EOSC EB and Governance Board (GB) ends. We agreed on the format of a document based on the supporting documents which have been published already in the Working Groups (WGs), as well as the partnership proposal itself with very concrete associated questions will be brought into the consultation process over the summer to meet the very tight deadlines that we are facing. The SRIA 1.0 needs to be ready before the end of the year as it accompanies the MoU which will be signed between the EOSC Association and the EC, thus forming the EOSC co-programmed partnership. Concretely, this means that the EB will continue to work with all-hands on deck over the summer. Karel and I, as Chair and co-Chair respectively, have taken on the coordination of the writing – as timelines are extremely tight (have I mentioned this before…), we will from now on meet with the members of the EB in an editorial board every two weeks. This is the moment, where I again – on behalf of all of us in the EB – have to thank also the EOSC WGs for their unwavering support. We fully appreciate that all the work you put into EOSC, is done on a voluntary basis, the workload is immense and it is your commitment to Open Science that energizes our progress. We thank you all and we are committed to getting the best possible SRIA done by the end of the year. Also, I would like to thank Jean-François, who has been setting up the logistics around the SRIA writing and has been coordinating our work so far.

There are only six more months to go, so we are considering the final event which will wrap up the current EOSC Governance. We took the decision that this event will take place fully virtually in October this year. At this point, we cannot at all be certain that we could have an event IRL, nor could we be certain that travel policies would allow many to travel. Hybrid events have their pros and cons and in the end, we felt that the focus needs to be on the content that we can deliver, rather than on the logistics and therefore a virtual event is the best option forward.

The first agenda item on Friday, was a run through the progress in the WGs, presented by the EB members leading these WGs. It was noted again that all WGs need to deliver results before the October event and also to make the deadline for our final report.

We then discussed the progress towards the EOSC Association. Sarah reported that the Statutes drafting group had finalized the drafting of the statutes which would now go for endorsement to the GB in their meeting on 1 July. We further discussed who should be the two founding members among the EB-based organisations, and the EB unanimously appointed CESAER and GÉANT. A further two founding members will be appointed by the GB in their meeting on 1 July. I cannot stress enough that the role of the founding members is only to go to the notary. These members have no privilege over others and plans are in place to ensure others who expressed interest are provisionally accepted immediately and become full members before key decisions are made at the General Assembly. Sarah also reported that a draft of the Association bylaws is available and the work on the bylaws will continue by those organizations who have expressed interest in becoming a member.

And that brings you again up to speed with developments.

So, to wrap up, next steps:

  • The GB will meet in 1 July and will decide on the following matters: the SRIA and its consultation, and the two GB appointed founding members to the EOSC Association
  • The four appointed organisations will go to the notary end of July 2020
  • Work on the SRIA continues now in earnest with bi-monthly meetings of the editorial board and a consultation process which commences at the end of July
  • The work on the bylaws by those organizations who have expressed interest in becoming a member
  • A virtual EOSC event wrapping up the work of the current governance will take place in October

As always, thanks for reading!