A Network for Regional e-Infrastructure Centres

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick


This proposal is for the resources required to grow a collaborative environment within which the EPSRC-funded Regional Centres can:

* work with funding bodies as one cohesive set of organisations to support their member organisations and to reach out both to industry and to those HEIs that are not already associated with a Regional Centre;

* share their experience and expertise, and agree and disseminate best practice for delivering a crucial national infrastructure that is built on rapidly changing technology;

* clarify those aspects of the national e-Infrastructure, and its use, that are best delivered through Regional Centres, rather than local or national facilities, and learn how to optimise provision in these areas; and

* share and co-ordinate tasks which benefit the whole high-end computing community (whether compute- or data-intensive), while still retaining their individual identities, focus and missions.

A common, cohesive approach for the Regional Centres interfacing with other e-Infrastructure centres in the UK ecosystem is a key enabler to a more effective national, integrated e-Infrastructure. A number of important common issues are already apparent, including: training, outreach to new users and organisations, common access and authentication methods, engagement with UK industry and commerce, and shaping the UK strategy for providing and exploiting a national cutting-edge e-Infrastructure. A major component of the proposal is to to explore these issues, map a way forward and, where resource implications permit, implement common or cooperative structures to address them.

Planned Impact

The beneficiaries of this proposal, and how they will benefit, are described in the beneficiaries section. There are a number of aspects of this proposal that we have adopted in order to ensure that there is maximum impact on those beneficiaries. In summary, there are a number of pathways that we will adopt in order to deliver that impact.
* Coordinating activities across the Regional Centres to optimise user experience and maximise access and enhance ease of use: this will ensure that users--whether new or experienced, academic or industrial--can reap the greatest benefit from high-end e-Infrastructure with as little effort as possible.
* Actively reaching out to new research communities: we will identify key areas in the Industrial, Public Services and Academic sectors, target our publicity appropriately, and identify how to adapt our training provision to facilitate exploration and uptake within these communities.
* Develop an alumni network amongst current and recent users of the Regional Centres, and work to support them in bringing their expertise and knowledge of using high-end e-Infrastructure effectively to their new and future employers.
* Ensure that our critical analysis of the UK e-Infrastructure landmap, and its relation to the needs of the broad community the Regional Centres serve, is delivered to Government and funding bodies, and is used to shape the UK strategy for developing and maintaining the e-Infrastructure needed to underpin international success for UK plc.


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Description Regional e-Infrastructure Centres are an essential component of an integrated e-Infrastructure landscape, and are essential for maximising the benefits obtained from both national and local facilities. They contribute directly to the development of high value digital skills, research leadership, economic growth and productivity in the UK.
Continued benefit from Regional Centres within a national ecosystem requires a cohesive long-term plan for UK investment in e-infrastructure and associated skills. Such a plan is essential if the digital capabilities are to be available for the demands we currently anticipate, while also delivering the flexibility to exploit new opportunities. The on-going culture shift toward collaboration and sharing, embodied in Regional Centres, is also integral to expanding the use of digital technologies within research and industry, thereby stimulating innovation and underpinning competitive advantage.
Key Selling Points for Regional Centres within an integrated UK ecosystem
1. Increased capability and capacity: readily accessible to research groups, enabling them to achieve more rapid and effective research impact.
2. More effective two-way communication of priorities and initiatives: creating a 3-level network (National ? Regional ? Universities) to focus and filter discussions
3. Successful pathways for broadening access to HPC
4. Increased diversity of e-infrastructure, skills and networks: readily accessible to individual researchers, and enabling and de-risking rapid experimentation with new ideas and architectures.
5. Effective vehicles for regional investment and resource sharing: leveraging University investment, and enabling regional research strengths to become gateways for SMEs into high-end computing.
6. Personal networking: face-to-face discussions within 2 hours travel ('Regionality') is a powerful enabler for research collaboration, technical support, training and knowledge exchange.
7. Effective platforms to link with other key investments, such as the Henry Royce Institute, Farr Institute, Alan Turing Institute or the National Automotive Innovation Centre.
Exploitation Route * to Improve design of future regional centres
* to mprove the strategy for developing a properly integrated national e-Infrastructure landscape
* to target future funding initiatives more effectively
* to integrate and support cross-institutional research better
* to improve inter-University and University-Industry interaction in connection with computer modelling and data analytics
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Pharmace

URL http://www.regionalhpc.ac.uk
Description This grant has funded a knowledge-exchange process between five EPSRC-funded regional e-Infrastructure centres, that has led to improved effectiveness of those centres, and has enabled a detailed study of how these centres can most effectively interact with, and serve, other aspects of the UK e-Infrastructure landscape. In particular, it produced a report ("The Importance of Regional e-­Infrastructure Within the National Landscape") that was submitted to EPSRC and BIS to inform their future policy deliberations, and then circulated by EPSRC as part of their consultation that defined the scope of the call for new Regional e-Infrastructure Centres during 2016 The network has produced a strategic report into the role of regional centres within the UK e-Infrastructure ecosystem, and ahs submitted that to EPSRC and BIS to inform their deliberations on future policy and funding.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Construction,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Retail,Security and Diplomacy,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

Description The Importance Of Regional e-Infrastructure Within The National Landscape
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Contribution to a national consultation/review