Service packages purchased by the Ministry of Education and Culture for higher education institutions in 2020
Each year, the Ministry of Education and Culture and CSC conclude an agreement on the services maintained, produced and developed by CSC for the needs of research, education, culture and public administration. Under this agreement, the Department for Higher Education and Science Policy will purchase five service packages from CSC in 2020.
These services will support the operating preconditions of Finnish research and education as well as the structural development of higher education institutions. In addition, they will promote national and international cooperation, interoperability of information systems, and interoperable solutions. The services covered by the agreement are mainly free.
Under the data management and computing development program implemented between 2017 and 2021, the services have been extended to central government research institutes operating under the auspices of other ministries. The data management services and research tools are now also available for research institutes' and higher education institutions' research and teaching activities.
The agreement will secure the development of broad-based national competence and, as CSC's data management and computing environment is upgraded, create good preconditions for its full utilization.
The Ministry of Education and Culture will purchase the following service packages for higher education institutions:
- Higher education and research information network Funet
- Information management and architecture services for higher education institutions
- Analytics and data infrastructure services for the Ministry of Education and Culture
- Data lifecycle management services
- A service package consisting of the Data Management and Computing Development Program and competence development associated with it (DL2021)
Funet network services provide fast, congestion-free and reliable national and international data connections. Network services supporting research and teaching are available for all Finnish higher education institutions and other organizations that meet the agreed membership criteria, including government research institutes.
The agreement also covers the basic services that are essential for network operation and support network use, such as the FileSender file sharing service suited for large data files and the training and expert services for Funet network cooperation. The Department for Higher Education and Science Policy will pay at least half of the costs arising from Funet network services on a centralized basis. The remainder of the costs will be covered by funding obtained from higher education institutions as well as other member organizations and partners.
Information management and architecture services for higher education institutions are used to maintain and administrate:
- the big picture of cooperation related to steering ICT services for higher education and research
- a roadmap for the digitalization of higher education and research
- reference architectures for supporting and administrating studies, teaching and research
- a data model for higher education institutions
- other jointly agreed architectural descriptions and interoperability specifications
The Ministry of Education and Culture's data infrastructure services disseminate information from higher education institutions and research institutes to the authorities as well as produce reports on the state of Finnish higher education institutions and research. Their objectives also include streamlining information flows across organizational boundaries by means of information exchanges relying on data warehouses.
This will promote the utilization of information on higher education institutions and the monitoring of its effectiveness. The information management and architecture services for higher education institutions support, among other things, educational and teaching cooperation and the digitalization of learning. By implementing the measures described in the agreement, CSC also supports the realization of the Digivision in higher education.
Data lifecycle management services refer to services required in the long-term preservation of research data and digital cultural heritage for expert consultancy, development and implementation, and infrastructure services. Services in this package, which are monitored under the agreement, include the following:
- Data system development of the shared AHAA directory service for archives
- Production service for phase 1 of the National Archives' SAPA service
Long-term preservation of research data (Fairdata) is one of the areas developed as part of the service package. In addition to the LTP development work, the package includes developing the research data storage service IDA, the metadata creation service Qvain, the research data finder Etsin, and the metadata warehouse METAX.
The package also comprises various information infrastructure services, including the management and development of user authentication and authorization infrastructures, which enable the use of several different identification methods in various services, such as Haka or eDuuni logins.
The data management and computing service package covers the maintenance of the data management and computing service package developed for the needs of research conducted by higher education institutions and research institutes and the teaching associated with it (DL2021; in Finnish) as well as expert services related to scientific and computing applications and methods facilitating the full-scale use of a high-performance computing environment. Competence development needs and measures will be addressed as part of the service package.
The goal of this is to lay a stronger foundation for high-quality scientific research in Finland. Co-design based on enterprise architecture with higher education institutions and research institutes will be used to manage and develop the service package.
For example, expert support will be provided for code optimization and parallelization and for applying computational methods to research problems in different fields of science. The computing server environment includes the hardware, systems and software, such as the supercomputer, superclusters, application and virtual servers as well as the other necessary server platforms, plus their storage systems, peripherals and system software. The agreement also covers the maintenance, supervision, information security and development tasks of the computing server environment.
The content of the service packages and their objectives are laid out in sections 3.1–3.5 of the agreement.