Consultation: e-infrastructure for innovation and growth?

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1 month 2 weeks ago
Group Manager

Please share your views!

Have you got views on the future of research?

Would you like to share your insights and input into the future direction of research e-infrastructure?

The effective exploitation of the UK’s research e-infrastructure  - defined as “networks, data repositories, computers, software and skills” - by public and private sectors has been identified as a key element to increase UK innovation and growth. The E-Infrastructure Leadership Council has been created, co-chaired by David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, to co-ordinate the future governance and effective development of the UK’s research e-infrastructure. Janet has been recognised as a key part of the UK’s current e-infrastructure and has been invited to sit on the E-Infrastructure Leadership Council.

The national initiative represents a very substantial investment by Government in research and innovation infrastructure for the UK.

Janet is currently seeking the views of its community to:

  • Provide Janet with the insight to identify next steps needed to increase the effective exploitation of e-infrastructure by the UK’s research sectors.
  • Examine if there opportunities for Janet to play a greater role in supporting UK industry to deliver innovation and growth through the exploitation of e-infrastructure within the restrictions of the state aid framework.
  • Understand if there are areas of market failure which Janet could bridge.
  • Identify opportunities to support market development through activities such as partnering, brokerage and training.

Insights from the consultation will also inform Janet’s engagement with the BIS E-infrastructure Leadership Council and contribute to the networking strand of the Council’s programme of work.

Making better use of e-infrastructure for innovation and growth: a consultation

This is an initial, informal consultation open until Friday 29 June 2012. A summary of the consultation themes and questions have been posted below along. A more detailed background and full questions can be found in the Stakeholder Briefing document.

1. e-infrastructure network resources requirements

  • How will research change in the next 5-10 years?
  • Ideally, what would a co-ordinated e-infrastructure look like – what would joined up services look like on the ground?
  • What network resources will need to be available to support these changes?

2. Stakeholders

  • Who are the main stakeholders in driving improved use of research e-infrastructure in the uk?
  • What industry sectors are currently using research e-infrastructure effectively?
  • Which sectors could improve their innovation and growth through better use of e-infrastructure?

3. Drivers/Barriers

  • What incentives are there/are needed for industry to increase its effective use of e-infrastructure to deliver innovative products and services?
  • What are the barriers?
  • Can anything be done to overcome these barriers?

4. Case Studies and Sources

  • Do you know of any useful case studies, research, reports, policy documents or other information sources relating to the successful exploitation of e-infrastructure?

5. Measures of Success

  • What would the measures of success of the benefits of e-infrastructure be in order to assess its return on investment and value for money for the research sector?
  • Specifically, what would the measures of success be for the enabling network components of the e-infrastructure?

Research and Consultation Background

Janet is one of the world’s leading research and education networks with a user base that exceeds 18 million, enabling the research and education communities to exchange knowledge and to innovate. It provides a high-bandwidth, publicly funded network that connects the UK’s education and research organisations to each other, the rest of the world and the global Internet.

The effective exploitation of the UK’s research e-infrastructure has been identified as a key element to increase innovation and growth within UK plc. With this aim in mind, the E-Infrastructure Leadership Council has been created, co-chaired by David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, to co-ordinate the future governance and effective development of the UK’s research e-infrastructure. The aim is to create a national research e-infrastructure which supports strong public-private partnerships that deliver increased innovation and growth for the UK. 

The initiative came from the recommendations in the 2011 report A Strategic Vision for UK e-Infrastructure – A Roadmap for the Development and Use of Advanced Computing, Data and Networks by Dominic Tildesley (  

High performance computing provision forms the core of the e-infrastructure initiative. Its integration with data storage, software development, security and authentication, and skills development is of paramount importance. Janet is currently procuring an up-graded network, Janet6, for research and education throughout the UK. We have been given a key role in the e-infrastructure initiative, to extend the Janet6 backbone to major strategic research sites not already linked, and to ensure the backbone offers the advanced facilities to support cutting edge research. 

To ensure the UK stays internationally competitive as a research base and continues to benefit from the innovation and growth it creates, Janet needs to respond to the future requirements of the research sectors and ensure best value when instigating changes in the development, management and exploitation of UK e-infrastructure. It seeks to engage with the wider research and e-infrastructure community to ensure their needs, concerns and ambitions are taken into account.

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