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Europe uses two thirds of the world’s computing capacity but produces only 2%

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Research Data Alliance plenary meeting on 23 October, Director Andreas Veispak of the European Commission outlined the focus areas for the development of the European Union's internal digital markets.

Veispak highlighted the top level data infrastructure LUMI – which is part of the EuroHPC programme and located in Finland – as an example of a significant European public investment that supports digitalization. Europe's share of worldwide computing service production is only 2%, even though it consumes nearly two thirds of worldwide production. 

EuroHPC opens new opportunities for developing expertise, for top-level research, and for the development of data-based business activities such as the platform economy and artificial intelligence.

– The strengths of Europe are openness, transparency, and the rule of law, which are all in Europe's DNA, Veispak emphasized.

The EU also invests in data intensive research through the European Open Science Cloud. The objective is to create a comprehensive European service environment in order to make research results obtained through public funding available for joint use. There continues to be challenges on the road towards greater openness of data.

– The barriers relate more to regulation than to technology, Veispak points out.

– It is our responsibility to ensure the long-term storage of data for future generations. We don't know what will be done with the data in 50 years time, but we know for sure that it will be more than we can do today, Veispak adds.

RDA brings together data experts

RDA General Secretary Hilary Hanahoe emphasized in his speech the unique significance of the grassroots work carried out by RDA members both for research and for societies around the world. RDA is a community of nearly 9000 members which develops concrete tools for sharing data across state boundaries and between academic fields. Within Finland, there are around 250 RDA members.

Speaking at the opening ceremony were also the President of the Academy of Finland Heikki Mannila and Assistant Professor Tuuli Toivonen from the University of Helsinki. Mannila encouraged the audience to consider what new skills the utilization of data will require in the future both for researchers and for students. Toivonen expressed her concern about the masses of data describing people's daily activities that end up as the private property of large and mostly American companies.

– Who really has the right to the data? Are we heading towards a data oligarchy? Will transparency turn into closed-off secrecy? Toivonen asks.

The 14th biannual general meeting of the RDA, which was established in 2012, is being held in Otaniemi, Espoo, and runs until Friday 25 October 2019. Under the title ‘Data Makes the Difference', the event digs into the potential of data for decision-making and resolving societal challenges.

The event is being organized jointly by Aalto University, CSC – Finnish IT Сentre for Science Ltd, the University of Helsinki, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Federation of Finnish Learning Societies and the RDA Europe project.

The largest funders of the RDA are the European Commission, the US National Science Foundation and the Australian Government. The RDA's membership is composed primarily of researchers, experts in research administration and research services, science publishers and decision-makers involved in shaping scientific policy.

Further information

Programme director Irina Kupiainen/ CSC – Finnish IT Сentre for Science Ltd, irina.kupiainen@csc.fi, +358 (0)50 381 2644

Event webpage: www.rd-alliance.org/rda-14th-plenary-helsinki-espoo

RDA in brief: https://www.rd-alliance.org/

RDA in Finland: https://www.rd-alliance.org/groups/rda-finland