€27 million for Dutch expertise center in data-intensive scientific research

October 8th, 2015

NWO, the Dutch science-funding body and SURF, the collaborative organisation for ICT in Dutch higher education and research, will continue to fund the Netherlands eScience Center (NLeSC) for a further five year period. Founded in 2011, NLeSC is the Dutch national expertise center for utilising Big-Data in research environments. NLeSC developsthe domain overarching software and workflows required by researchers dealing with large volumes of rapidly generated and heterogeneous data. To tackle the grand societal challenges of the coming years, such as climate change, increased population size, aging, and urbanisation, researchers will be more and more dependent on utilising data-driven and compute-intensive approaches to deal with Big-Data. NLeSC is a key component of the long-term Big-Data strategies of both SURF and NWO.

Continued five year funding

On Thursday October 8th2015,NWO Director General,Hans de Groene and SURF Managing Director, Erik Fledderus formally signed the agreement to continue funding of NLeSC for a further five years. This announcement guarantees €5.4M funding per year for NLeSC.The majority of this money will beawarded to collaborative projects across Dutch academia. NLeSC has previously funded and collaborated on more than 50 such Big-Data projects in areas as diverse as life sciences, digital humanities and physics.

eScience Research Engineers help scientists

In addition to providing funding to researchers tackling Big-Data challenges, NLeSC also provides access to its team of experts in digital science. These so called eScience Research Engineersare a new breed of scientists with a strong drive to perform fundamental scientific research whilst at the same time being very knowledgeable of the capabilities and use of advanced computing and data science. This announcement ensures the next generation of projects and the development and availability of new eScience Research Engineers for the future.

Many new Big-Data projects

NLeSC Director Prof. Wilco Hazeleger welcomed the announcement, stating “This five year funding guarantee will enable us to launch many new projects across diverse disciplines, provide training and national coordination. This is good news for NLeSC and everybody in the National Big-Data landscape”.

This is good news for NLeSC and everybody in the National Big-Data landscape

About NLeSC

The Netherlands eScience Center (NLeSC) is tasked with funding, coordinating and participating in a collaborative scientific program, working with both academia and industry, to conduct projects developing overarching digital tools and knowledge for the benefit of a broad scientific community. The application of digitally enhanced scientific practices, referred to as eScience, is a fundamental toolbox for all researchers, and NLeSC funds and participates in multidisciplinary projects, with optimized data-handling, efficient computing and big-data analytics at their core. Developing world class expertise in these areas is a prerequisite to ensure the Dutch knowledge sector remains competitive and the greatest return can be achieved from scientific investments.www.esciencecenter.nl

About NWO

The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research is one of the most important science-funding bodies in the Netherlands and ensures quality and innovation in science. Each year NWO invests more than 650 million euros in curiosity-driven research and research related to societal challenges. NWO selects and funds research proposals based on the advice of Dutch and international experts from science and society. NWO encourages national and international collaboration, invests in large-scale research facilities, promotes knowledge utilization, and manages research institutes. NWO funds more than 5600 research projects at universities and knowledge institutions.

About SURF

SURF is the collaborative organisation for ICT in Dutch higher education and research. SURF ensures that students, lecturers and researchers in higher education and research have access to the best possible ICT resources on favourable terms for the purpose of top-level research and talent development in national and international collaboration. SURF therefore develops, innovates and operates an advanced, federated e-infrastructure in conjunction with the institutions – the members of the SURF cooperative. SURF also organises demand aggregation, collaboration and knowledge sharing in relation to ICT themes for the member institutions. Creation of added value for its end users is pivotal in the service provided by SURF. www.surf.nl/en

Photography: Martijn van Dam

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