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Recommendations for policy makers

In the area of e-Infrastructure R&D, the importance of international cooperation cannot be underestimated. This includes both Africa/EU collaboration projects – which are key in maximizing the exploitation potential of EU and African developments – and African cross-continental collaboration – as a way of sharing tailored, locally adapted solutions with high socio-economic impact. It is imperative, therefore, that European and African CoPs collaborate, similar to the twinning between established and emerging NRENs organised by TERENA.

  • Promotion of international collaboration opportunities must be continued and strengthened. It was noted that in many cases, African communities were not aware of the funding programmes (e.g. H2020) and collaboration opportunities that exist. The EGI Applications Database lists about 50 VOs, which members of the CoPs identified within eI4Africa could potentially engage with and work collaboratively and/or share resources within common disciplines. Additionally, the eI4Africa Project Wall provides a number of current or proposed projects and can help to notify the international community of proposers of the available collaboration opportunities, as well as facilitate knowledge exchange, VRC development, and capacity building;
  • Collaboration starts with human networking. Building international (including EU-Africa) cooperation networks is an important step towards collaboration, as was demonstrated by the eI4Africa events, which have provided ideal forums for meeting peers and potential partners. Networking opportunities are the first step for further collaboration, including joint academic papers or joint proposals for funding;
  • Efforts should be made to raise awareness of current efforts and initiatives, which constitutes a major gap in the uptake of e-Infrastructures in the continent. The need to promote e-Infrastructures development in Africa is especially important towards user communities, scientific communities, and e-Infrastructure developers;
  • Africa/EU e-Infrastructure Coordination and Support Action (CSA) projects should continue to be funded, since they provide for essential networking and information exchange opportunities between African and European researchers and policy makers;
  • Strengthen and expand existing e-Infrastructure related services in Africa. Past efforts on developing e-Infrastructure related services need to be expanded and extended in order to both consolidate the existing African e-Infrastructure services, as well as include the very challenging goal of supporting the creation of an African Open (and Linked) Data Infrastructure, interoperable with and federated to (through the adoption of international standards and guidelines) those emerging in EU and in other regions of the world. Focus should be placed on topics such as the discoverability, reproducibility and extensibility of science products;
  • e-Infrastructures must be easy to use and users be at their centre. Accessing and using the services of an e-Infrastructure can be challenging to users with an average ICT experience. Easy to use web portals, or Science Gateways, are needed to help CoPs to easily access e-Infrastructure facilities and through these collaborate with CoPs across the world;
  • Develop up-to-date consolidated guides and supporting materials for the development of e-Infrastructures and their services. Some guides to the development of e-Infrastructures in Africa and Europe exist; however, these have been created in different contexts for different audiences and there is no single consolidated guide to the development of these collaborative technologies;
  • Training in the development of e-Infrastructures and their related services is equally important to support people from NRENs and CoPs, as well as from universities. There is a need for training materials and workshops that will showcase key developments and communicate the benefits of e-Infrastructures to CoPs. Efforts should therefore be enhanced and aim to provide advanced, impactful technical training to key e-Infrastructure and service providers. Key to this should be the support to these communities in order to gain their own sustainable skills in e-Infrastructures development, as well as the dissemination as widely as possible of the benefits of adopting this paradigm in the pursuit of science;
  • Support the interoperability and interoperation between the African, the EU and other regions of the world’s e-Infrastructures. Focus should be given on supporting the AAROC to develop, certify and maintain configuration and monitoring services, which can be used by site administrators across the continent, as well as run training and development sessions, with the aim of creating a sustainable distributed operations team.

Develop a holistic methodology for impact assessment. Determining the impact of e-Infrastructures is typically not a straightforward process. In many cases the reason is that the raw data produced might not be available for analysis, while in others it is challenging to identify a uniform methodology that would be applicable to all types of e-Infrastructures or scientific domains.

The above findings are presented in more detail in D6.3 ‘Establishment of e-Infrastructure services & identification of e-Infrastructure priorities’ and can be discussed by emailing the project partnership at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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EuropeLogo eInfastructure This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 313203
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