Safe commercial digital services for the European research community – the OCRE Project

The Open Clouds for Research Environments (OCRE) is a Horizon 2020 project funded by the European Union which aims to enable and facilitate research institutions to use commercial digital services in a safe and easy manner. Thus, to accelerate cloud adoption in the European research community by bringing together cloud providers, Earth Observation (EO) organisations and the research and education community.

Cloud-based services offer the European research community a wealth of powerful tools, but for many researchers these are currently out of reach, with suitable services difficult to find and select. OCRE Project, launched in January 2019, will address this by running a pan-European tender and establishing framework agreements with cloud service providers that meet the specific requirements of the research community, saving institutions from time-consuming and complex process of doing this themselves.

€9.5 million in adoption funding available for European research community

Over 10,000 research and education institutions will be able to directly consume these offerings, with ready-to-use agreements via the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) service catalogue. Furthermore, OCRE will make €9.5 million in service credits available to research institutions, via adoption funding from the European Commission.

A consortium of competences

The OCRE project – an important element in the success of EOSC – receives funding from the European Commission and is a consortium of the GÉANT Association (coordinator), CERN, RHEA and Trust-IT.

GÉANT interconnects Europe’s National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) to reach thousands of research and education institutions, enabling OCRE to offer service providers a direct delivery route.

CERN, the European laboratory for particle physics, will establish a number of buyer groups, gathering organisations from different research disciplines to consume the results of OCRE.

RHEA is a security and space system engineering company with broad EO expertise which will support the EO service procurement. Through its subsidiary, SixSq, RHEA will provide the technical platform to manage and track the cloud uptake.

Finally, Trust-IT fosters information exchange between a wide range of stakeholders and will lead the outreach and promotion of OCRE and the available portfolio.

OCRE timeline

In the first half of 2019, OCRE will gather requirements from the research community and input from cloud providers. The pan-European tender is expected to begin in October 2019, with services expected to be available for usage in early 2020. The tender will encompass:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud offerings;
  • Earth Observation services, which leverage European Union DIAS (Data and Information Access Services) platforms, where the Copernicus sentinel data is stored.

Selected providers will become an integral part of the EOSC service catalogue and will be connected to the GÉANT data network and the community’s single sign-on (SSO) systems, bringing them into the heart of this community’s ICT ecosystem.

For more information about the OCRE Project, visit and follow its Twitter and LinkedIn profiles.

Text by Leonardo Marino

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