05 July 2016
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Dutch life sciences support the European open science cloud

From left to right: Ruben Kok (DTL), Frank Miedema (NFU) and Paul Timmers (EU)

On the 28th of June, several leading organizations in the Dutch life sciences presented Dr. Paul Timmers, Director of the Sustainable & Secure Society Directorate of DG CONNECT*, with a statement expressing their strong support for further development of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). The statement was presented to Dr. Timmers during the recent ‘Be Prepared for Big Data in the Cloud’ event in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

On the 19th of April 2016, the European Commission launched the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) initiative to improve Europe’s position in the data-driven economy. The aims of the ‘Be Prepared for Big Data in the Cloud’ event were to highlight initiatives that are already being developed in the Dutch life science and data science sectors, and to discuss the next steps needed to fully exploit the potential of the EOSC.

Keynote Speech and Statement

In his keynote speech, Dr. Timmers stated that the European Commission is eager to learn how the research field sees the use of the Cloud as a research tool, and what are the required conditions to move forward. He explained that the EU is a leader in ‘Open Science’, but not in the data-driven economy. He stressed that Europe should be in the lead in the global digital economy, and that the Digital Single Market strategy, to which the EOSC belongs, is the Commission’s approach to achieving this.

In order to demonstrate their support for the EOSC, the leading Dutch life-science research infrastructure organizations (BBMRI-NL, ELIXIR-NL and EATRIS-NL), together with the DutchTechcentre for Life Sciences (DTL), the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU), SURF, Lygature, the Netherlands eScience Center (NLeSC), ZonMw and Topsector Life Sciences and Health (Health~Holland), endorsed a statement supporting the European initiative to develop an Open Science Cloud.

In the statement, which was presented to Dr. Timmers on behalf of the Health-RI (Health Research Infrastructures) consortium by Professor Frank Miedema, Dean and Vice-President of the Executive Board of University Medical Centre Utrecht (UMCU) and responsible for large-scale infrastructures within the NFU, the organizations stated:

“we recognize the importance of open science and already demonstrated our own commitment to responsible data sharing within national infrastructures, and embedded in European infrastructures.”

Ruben Kok, Director of the Dutch Techcentre for Life Sciences (DTL), added that the Health-RI initiative aims to be a framework for ‘FAIR Open Implementation Labs (FOILs)’ for Personalized Medicine & Health research in the Netherlands.

On accepting the statement, Dr. Timmers stressed the importance of these progressive Dutch initiatives in the responsible sharing of health data.

Health Research in the Netherlands

In relation to health research in the Netherlands, the event on June 28th discussed Dutch initiatives for personalized medicine and health research, including a presentation by Professor Frank Miedema on the development of data sharing in the Dutch life sciences community. Gerrit Meijer, head of pathology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI), gave a presentation on the Health-RI initiative, highlighting its aim to realize a single national infrastructure for personalized medicine & health research, and Dr. Axel Berg of SURFsara gave a presentation on big data research services in the Cloud for smart health.

* DG CONNECT –  European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology

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