Netherlands eScience Center

Collaborating with international teams to achieve scientific breakthroughs
The application of digitally enhanced scientific practices, referred to as eScience, is a fundamental toolbox for all researchers and is a prerequisite to ensure the Dutch knowledge sector remains competitive and the greatest return can be achieved from scientific investments. In support of this goal the Netherlands eScience Center (NLeSC) funds and participates in multidisciplinary projects, with academia and industry, with optimized data-handling, efficient computing and big-data analytics at their core.

Collaborating with Academia
NLeSC  functions as a network organization dependent on the Dutch academia recognizing the center as a close collaborator. The long-term success of the center requires collaborative projects with academic partners to deliver scientific breakthroughs, which should be a shared goal. However, whilst the academic partners focus on defining the scientific question, NLeSC focuses on designing technical solutions.

National & International Coordination
NLeSC welcomes the development of additional groups and initiatives around the country that share its goal to exploit data-driven and compute-intensive approaches in scientific research. The development of such groups demonstrates a growing reliance on eScience and its recognition nationally. As the national eScience center, there is a role for NLeSC in ensuring these initiatives are in close contact with one another, are sharing information, preventing duplication and fragmentation and working together for a common good. A central component of that role is ePLAN, the Platform of eScience & Data Research Groups of The Netherlands which NLeSC coordinates. Via ePLAN and NLeSC’s wider collaborative network (integrators, project leaders, engineers, eSAC etc), NLeSC also provides thought leadership in areas related to eScience development and application such as data-stewardship and software sustainability for example.

NLeSC’s ecosystem of partners and collaborators increasingly includes organizations across Europe and beyond. As the national eScience center, NLeSC has a role in ensuring recognition of The Netherlands as a leading eScience nation and collaborator, e.g. in relation to Horizon2020. A single national center facilitates the development of close connections with European partners resulting in benefits across the eScience landscape. NLeSC  leads the development of a pan European organization of national eScience centers called PLAN-E.

Whilst NLeSC recognizes that academic education is primarily the responsibility of the Universities, there is scope for NLeSC to deliver specific training on data-driven and compute-intensive approaches, and specific technologies. This is particularly relevant for the dissemination of project results and training users of eScience instruments. NLeSC will continue to co-supervise PhD candidates and MSc/BSc students in collaboration with partners in the Universities or Hogescholen. Engaging with the Hogeschool community, especially for training, will also be a future NLeSC priority. Developing traineeships in areas such as data stewardship and software sustainability is an obvious area of collaboration possible between NLeSC and the Universities of applied science.