PRACE Council Chair Catherine Rivière spoke on Sustainability & Business Models at the recent International Conference on Research Infrastructures.
To begin, she defined “sustainability” for PRACE as “a transition from an infrastructure funded by national governments to a sustainable and balanced business model to maintain the activities of PRACE in the long term.” She continued by outlining the characteristics of such a sustainable business model for an e-Infrastructure in Europe:
- Access based on scientific excellence only in order to guarantee that the best science is given the best resources
- Access open to all researchers, from academia and industry, regardless of who funds them
- Access that fosters inclusiveness for all European Member States and Associated Countries, for growth and knowledge transfer
PRACE is actively seeking synergies with other ESFRIs and large-scale instruments to address new scientific challenges and Big Data issues. One example of such synergy is the support that PRACE gives to projects linked to the Human Brain Project, and Graphene, both FET Flagships.
Ms. Rivière continued with a summary of PRACE and its impressive list of large numbers: since 2010 PRACE has allocated over 8 billion core hours on 6 world-class machines with a total capacity of nearly 15 Petaflops/s, hosted in 4 EU Member States (the PRACE Hosting Members France, Germany, Italy and Spain), to 303 scientific and industrial projects from 38 countries. The total funding of PRACE amounts to € 530 million over 5 years (2010 – 2015). In addition she used examples and graphs to make the audience understand the span of PRACE: around 35% of PRACE access is given to non-hosting and non-EU countries, and awarded projects come from a diverse group of scientific and industrial domains.
In conclusion Ms. Riviere explained that with PRACE 1.0 coming to an end, PRACE 2.0 will become the stepping stone to PRACE 3.0, when the Research Infrastructure will have become truly sustainable: “Can Europe risk to not have PRACE continue its services to science and industry?” she asked the audience, then gave the answer herself: “To reach PRACE 3.0 we will need to work hard, be creative and be supported!”