EOSC-Nordic in review

Cecilie Maagaard Winther

The whole project was mobilized to prepare for the important midway review, and EOSC-Nordic passed with flying colors and all deliverables have now been approved.

On the 3rd of June the EOSC-Nordic project had its important midway review. All EU granted projects have to go through a review after roughly 18 months, and for our project that is approximately half way through. The review is like an exam with both results and budget being up for review.

“Everything is looked through to see if we are keeping our so-called Grant Agreement with the European Commission and the funding they are providing, but also to discuss our results and how they can be scaled up to a European level,” says Project Manager Lene Krøl Andersen.

The review was supposed to be a face-to-face event but was because of COVID-19 instead one big six hour long Zoom-meeting. The European Commission had appointed three experts within the area to do the review. Additionally, five European Commission Officers participated, along with all the WP Leaders, the Project Management Board, the Coordinator, the Financial Coordinator and the International Liaison.

The review took a lot of preparation

Prior to the review a comprehensive midterm report had been created by the project, it was presented to the EOSC-Nordic Executive Board and the EOSC-Nordic International Advisory Committee. Each WP Leader had made a presentation of their work and several rehearsal events were held.

“The mid-term report is actually the whole project. You take objective one and answer, how did we fulfill objective one? And then you point at the deliverables and milestones that feed into objective one and the same for two and three and four and five,” says Lene Krøl Andersen.

She explains that the midterm report is also a reporting of how many events did we actually represent EOSC-Nordic at? How many presentations did we give? How much audience was present when we gave the presentations? How many clicks on the homepage and how many newsletter subscribers do we have? And what is our gender balance?

“There is a lot of facts going in to the report and that’s why the preparation for the midway review have been such a heavy work,” says Lene Krøl Andersen.

A very positive experience

So, how did it go on the 3rd of June?

“It was a good experience. The initial response was very positive. They congratulated us very much on our work,” says Lene Krøl Andersen.

According to Lene Krøl Andersen, there were great enthusiasm and optimism regarding all the work being done. All deliverables were accepted and our milestones were overall successfully reached. The reviewers came very well prepared and gave detailed and extensive feedback, which the project management can now take into consideration in the final stage of the project.

“Overall, the EOSC Nordic project is contributing significantly to understanding and developing key areas in the Nordic and Baltic regions that will contribute to the development of the EOSC, and progress has been assessed as substantial and impressive. Our key recommendations later in this report intend to build on what are already strong outputs and help the project maximize its impact,” such write the reviewers in the written review report.

Work with potential for wider impact

There were for instance praise for the policy work done in EOSC-Nordic:

“The project presents some very interesting findings on policies and best practices that can be extremely beneficial to other regions in Europe,” it states in the review.

The method behind the FAIR evaluation also caused excitement.

Deliverable 4.1 provides criteria, a model, and a methodology that could extend well beyond the timeline and geography of the project,” it says in the report.

More publications suggested

Furthermore, the reviewers suggested that EOSC-Nordic considered the publication of a journal paper regarding the harvesting of datasets from Nordic repositories into EUDAT B2FIND.

The deliverable [5.1] is an excellent report that should be considered for reworking into a journal paper, in order to reach wider audiences, both for its approach, and the cookbook it provides as an aide to other data providers,” it writes in the review report.

Building on existing collaboration in the region

An advantage for the EOSC-Nordic project is, that our project Coordinator institution is NeIC. Thus, the project builds on the expertise and the good collaboration we have in the Nordics already.

“We are not starting from scratch. We are building on an already existing cross border research infrastructure collaboration, the workflows, the processes and interlinks directly to the NeIC board, representing all national infrastructure providers in the Nordic region,” says Lene Krøl Andersen.

Right now, the Project Management Board is addressing the review requests to the project, which will be submitted by July 21st. The next step will be to discuss the review with the EOSC-Nordic Executive Board on August 19th, and thereafter present an overall project status at this year’s General Assembly to be held in Copenhagen on September 30th. Then of course, there is also the end-of-project review to prepare for and look forward to.