Science Clusters

Science Clusters logoA wide range of publicly-funded Research Infrastructures (RIs) in Europe are organised in five major Science Clusters, grown out of five collaborative projects funded by the European Union in 2018-2019 and playing a key role in linking ESFRI and other world-class RIs to the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). 
Each cluster brings together the RIs within a specific domain: Astronomy and Particle Physics, Environmental Sciences, Life Sciences, Photon and Neutron science, and Social Sciences and Humanities.

In the words of OSCARS’ coordinator, Giovanni Lamanna, “The Science Clusters contribute to the European RI landscape evolving towards a consolidated ecosystem, through their capacity of creating a collaborative space”.

Their goal has been to achieve a greater FAIRness of science, contributing to making research data FAIR: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reproducible.
The services developed by the clusters are cornerstones of the emerging EOSC fabric and support both disciplinary communities and multidisciplinary initiatives with harmonised models for access to data, tools, workflows and training.

The Science Clusters thus serve as vital conduits, connecting scientific communities, their infrastructures and EOSC to foster the future of European science. They help RIs to communicate their needs, methods, and workflows to the EOSC, while helping the EOSC in promoting the continued development of an Open Science culture in Europe and beyond. They do this by supporting collaboration among RIs, and enabling them to exchange knowledge and technologies, share data and jointly develop thematic services.
The ultimate goal is to promote open research data and data federation through a joint work programme, which falls into three main areas:

  • Stimulate Open Science practices, cross-domain interoperability, and long-term coordination among the scientific communities involved. 
  • Create a cross-border open innovation environment for the FAIR data management of economies of scale, which allows the development of synergies and increases the efficiency and productivity of researchers by encouraging the application of open-science standards and the use of thematic services. 
  • Drive co-development to foster the cross-domain interoperability that is central to achieving the EOSC goals. This includes developing the long-term role of the Science Clusters to add relevant content to the EOSC and to enhance researchers’ involvement in Open Science. It also involves working closely with the EOSC Association to ensure that the EOSC strategy, implementation roadmap, and governance address the thematic needs of scientific communities.

To address these challenges, the Science Clusters have developed a joint strategy to enhance Europe's scientific instruments and RIs for cross-disciplinary research.
They have strived to make open data easily accessible to the users and the public, by providing scientific data management for enabling Open Science. The result is that today the Science Clusters are an integral part of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) initiative, contributing to its development and its implementation process. They are a powerful enabler of European research excellence and competitiveness, and they are one of the European Commission's (EC) most effective and innovative tools to network and deliver results towards the full implementation of the EOSC. They are, in addition, at the heart of disciplinary and interdisciplinary dynamics and progress, both nationally and internationally.

With the OSCARS work programme and scopes, the Science Clusters will: 

  • Consolidate their role as thematic EU nodes for ‘Open Research’
  • Establish and operate Competence Centres and virtual research environments (VREs) fostering the alignment of practices in scientific data analysis
  • Via the OSCARS cascading grant action, they will provide a series of valuable scientific demonstrators for the benefit of EOSC