GÉANT and the European Open Science Cloud

How GÉANT can help achieve the EC’s vision for Open Science in Europe.

Open Science

The large amount of data produced by the use of ICT in research has been identified by the EC as having further value which should be unlocked. The EC’s vision is that the exponential growth of data will drive societal challenges, scientific advances and productivity gains across the European economy. This vision is about achieving Open Science.


European Open Science Cloud

The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) is essentially the vehicle by which the European Commission proposes to achieve Open Science. It is proposed that the EOSC will federate existing and emerging data infrastructures, bridging the fragmentation and ad-hoc solutions which populate the e-Infrastructures landscape today, so as to remove obstacles to wide access to publicly funded research publications and underlying data. It will enable sharing and re-use of research data across disciplines and borders, taking into account relevant legal, security and privacy aspects.


GÉANT and the EC

GÉANT and its predecessor European networks have received the support of the European Commission in the form of co-fund grants for nearly twenty years. The EC’s vision in supporting pan-European research & education networking has helped make it the international success it is today. GÉANT and its European NREN partners provide a world-leading foundation so the European research and education community can communicate and collaborate, across Europe and around the world, keeping Europe at the forefront of global research.

The collaboration of the NREN partners is paramount to the continued success of the GÉANT Project. The unique and enduring GÉANT partnership balances European and national interests through the EC co-funding and the cost-sharing model. The GÉANT cost-sharing model helps overcome the digital divide caused by differences in levels of competition in the telecoms markets across Europe. This helps ensure the participation in GÉANT of NRENs from across Europe and its Associate countries, reducing fragmentation and supporting cooperation between the partners.

GÉANT procures and operates inter- NREN capacity on behalf of the NRENs, aggregating demand at European level. Together, GÉANT and the NRENs innovate to develop and operate scalable, multi-domain, pan-European services.

The successful and enduring partnership between GÉANT and the European Commission has been recognised in the form of the GÉANT Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA), which identifies the parties’ common long-term vision for GÉANT’s continued contribution to the success of European research and education.

GÉANT and the European Open Science Cloud

The European Open Science Cloud is still in the process of being defined but as the fundamental layer underpinning other e-Infrastructures, GÉANT will undoubtedly play a role.


The EC’s data infrastructure model combines processing data (HPC infrastructure), storing data (data infrastructure) and moving data (network infrastructure). GÉANT fulfils the “moving data” part of this model, although there is much more involved than simply moving data: GÉANT and the NRENS provide the secure, performant European and global connectivity and federated access services essential for realising the potential of data storage and processing; these services are key for realising the EC’s vision for HPC and Big Data in Europe, and for achieving the objectives of Open Science.

GÉANT’s potential role in the EOSC extends beyond this however.


GÉANT is collaborating with other European e-Infrastructures to develop a common approach towards the EOSC, and is a signatory to the joint e- Infrastructures statement on the European Open Science Cloud, which details eight elements for the success of the EOSC: that it be open, publicly funded and governed, research-centric, comprehensive, diverse and distributed, interoperable, service-oriented and social.

GÉANT can contribute to this vision in several ways. GÉANT can essentially serve as the access provider for the EOSC, contributing, together with the NRENs, secure seamless high-speed multi-domain networking and wide peering together with federated identity services delivering appropriate access to cloud services, data, research infrastructures and the many other components and resources of the EOSC. In addition, GÉANT has a role in a coordinated data management framework where the network, compute and storage are all working together to serve the needs of researchers.

Furthermore, we can contribute to end-to-end performance optimisation and user support services including data planning consultancy, troubleshooting, training and service marketing. The aim is to overcome the challenges of the EOSC such as fragmentation of solutions, lack of trust, lack of interoperability and the skills gap between users and e-Infrastructures.

On the road to a trusted, seamless, integrated environment for research, not only the fundamental role of the network but also the organisational strength, services and expertise of GÉANT and its NREN partners all have a key contribution to make towards the successful realisation of the European Open Science Cloud.



The GÉANT and NREN networks underpin the work of a wide range of e-infrastructure and scientific research projects by providing a high performance, reliable and cost-effective communications platform across the research and education (R&E) community. Service options cover IP, dedicated private connections, virtual private networks and roaming options.


eduroam provides 50 million students and researchers with access to thousands of Wi-Fi access points in over 70 countries using a single, secure login facility - making international collaboration much easier. Over 5 million international logins a day are enabled by eduroam. GÉANT also provides an advanced testbeds service to support innovative research into the next generation of networking.


Trust, identity & security

GÉANT and its NREN partners provide technologies that build trust, promote security and support the use of online identities. This is an essential component of many infrastructure projects by bringing together services and users in a scalable, manageable and secure manner. eduGAIN enables single-sign-on access for students and researchers from 1,500 institutions worldwide to over 1,000 academic services.


Clouds and other services

​Cloud services offer higher education and research organisations the opportunity to become more agile and provide their users with a wider range of IT services at a lower cost. GÉANT provides the platform for users to access cloud services and, through its cloud service catalogue, works with other e-infrastructure projects and commercial cloud service providers to help deliver innovative services to research and education institutions and their users.

​Open Science

​Open Science is about transforming research through ICT tools, networks and media. By changing how research is carried out, disseminated, deployed and transformed, research can become more open, global, collaborative, creative and closer to society:

• Research knowledge will become more easily accessible.

• Use of scientific data will be increased, with participation from industry and commerce including SMEs, from citizen scientists and from the public sector.

European Open Science Cloud

​The EOSC is perceived as a trusted, open environment for storing, sharing and re-using scientific data and results and supporting Open Science practices. It will seamlessly integrate existing networks, data and high-performance computing systems and e-Infrastructure services across scientific fields, within a framework of shared policies, standards and investments.


This article appeared in CONNECT Issue #21, March 2016.


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