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By: Cathrin Stover, EOSC Executive Board Vice Chair
On Friday 1 March 2019, the EOSC Executive Board (EB) met formally for its first time. We are now fully constituted after publication in the Register of European Commission expert groups. See more here.
The EB welcomed Andreas Veispak to the meeting, who is the new Head of Unit at DGCNCT for Unit C1 – eInfrastructure and Science Cloud.
However, of course, we met once before, and therefore the first item on the agenda was the approval of the minutes from our informal meeting.
I then reported back from the EOSC Governance Board (GB) meeting in Bucharest at the end of January 2019. I shared that my main observation from the GB was that the member states and associate countries participating were very diverse in their state of engagement with EOSC, but even more diverse in the state of their national policy development or implementation towards Open Science or Open Data.
It is clear that there is a rather small subset of countries driving the agenda and re-organising their national structures, while other countries are observing the playing field. I came to the conclusion that an essential success factor of EOSC will be the level of engagement and funding that will be invested nationally. Therefore, working together with the GB and getting their help in involving all the member states and associated countries will be paramount.
The next item on the agenda was a detailed discussion of the deliverables from the EB in 2019. These deliverables were agreed in the EOSC staff working document or the Council Decision and therefore are handed down to us.
To begin with, we will have to deliver the Strategic Implementation Plan and the Annual Work Plan 2019. This will be tackled by the EB over the next few weeks following the clear roadmap again laid out in the staff working document and council decision.
The discussion on the Working Groups (WGs) as established by the EB was next. It was noted again that the GB had prioritised the list of WGs that the EB had proposed to the GB and that the GB had added as a priority a WG on national initiatives (this sounds complicated, because it is). Here is the list of the WGs and respective EB sponsors:
We discussed the detailed description of these WGs, which will now be shared with the GB, who will (we hope) endorse the WGs in their next meeting on 27 March.
In the meantime, the EB will work with the EOSCsecretariat.eu to decide on how the WG composition will look like and how the process on establishing membership in the WGs will be run, fully aware that the GB will want to ensure participation of national experts.
This also led to a conversation on how the EB best engages with existing projects to ensure that the WGs are working in sync with existing project plans. It is fully understood that working together towards EOSC across the EB, GB, existing and new projects, national stakeholders and science disciplines requires an enormous amount of coordination and communication. We will need everybody’s commitment to make this work.
Discussion on the WGs, their synergies and interdependencies with each other and how the WG formation process should look like took a good amount of our time, so we ended up having less than enough time to discuss the internal communications among the EB. We looked at the internal workspace that the EOSCsecretariat.eu has made available and the internal sharing of documents. We agreed again that we should honour the O in EOSC and be as open as we can be in our information sharing and transparency with the wider community.
We also did not have a lot of time to talk in more detail about stakeholder engagement and this item will be on top of our list of agenda items for the next EB meeting which will take place in Brussels again on 17 April.
Last not least, we confirmed the dates of 7/8 May for an EB and GB retreat and asked the EOSCsecretariat.eu to find a location for this get-together.
Overall? I think as the EB, we made good progress in the four weeks we have been working together – the WG descriptions are well thought through and we hope that the community will find the WGs engaging. As said before though, we are fully aware that a lot more than the WG work will have to be carried out, across the national initiatives, the stakeholder community and the existing and upcoming projects to ensure that EOSC becomes a reality. As Karel said: “We just need to get it all coordinated!” An immense task, stay with us.