agINFRA EC project successfully concluded and... continuing
The agINFRA project of the European Commission (EC 7th framework program INFRA-2011-1.2.2) was successfully completed.
agINFRA aimed at developing a shared infrastructure and computationally empowered services for agricultural research data, with a strong focus on achieving a higher level of interoperability.
agINFRA came to an end in February 2015 and the official review by the EC was released last week. The project received an extremely positive evaluation: it was ranked as “Excellent”, which is the maximum ranking for an EC project and means the project has fully achieved its objectives and technical goals and has even exceeded expectations.
The project was also acknowledged other special recognitions:
- The Consortium was recommended to select two or three products or services from the project for an “Innovation Questionnaire” through which the EC is collecting information on innovations resulting from funded projects. Invitation to submit this questionnaire is an acknowledgment of the quality of the work done in a project. The CIARD RING was one of the products presented as innovations.
- Already in 2013 agINFRA was included in the G-8 European Commission Action Plan as part of the EC's commitment to deliver open access to publicly funded agriculturally relevant data for users in Africa and around the world.
The EC reviewers also strongly commended the Consortium for seriously taking into account the sustainability of the results: all the products delivered or enhanced during the project will be maintained by the various partners and will remain accessible both through the RING (in a special section on agINFRA: http://ring.ciard.info/views/aginfra) and through a new agINFRA website (http://aginfra.eu).
Through this website, the partners will continue to collaborate to:
- ensure continued access to the developed / enhanced products, in particular the CIARD RING, the agINFRA API and the agINFRA vocabularies;
- allow other data managers and developers to contribute new assets (datasets, web services, vocabularies);
- act a reference point for institutions seeking domain-specific support on implementation of EC’s (and other donors’) Open Access requirements, data management plans, etc.
- bridge between global thematic services like AGRIS and the RING and the EC directory of research outputs OpenAIRE.
The final evaluation highlights “the remarkable plan for services sustainability that has been presented during the review meeting” and for the project to reach its full potential recommends “to carry on the policy support and the networking after the end of the project within the ensured commitment of the consortium, especially through the international partners”, noting that “the participation of FAO and the work around CIARD RING, AGRIS and AIMS are also an advancement in establishing a possible data standardisation in the agri-research field.”
FAO participated in agINFRA together with GFAR, coordinating Work Package 5 “Data Policies, Workflows, Interoperability & Integration”, and with a group of highly motivated partners: Universidad de Alcala, Agro-Know, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Consiglio Nazionale per la Ricerca in Agricoltura Italy, Salzburg Research, Indian Statistical Institute, IPB Serbia, SZTAKI Hungary, ESPOL Ecuador, Open University UK, INFN Italy, 21c UK.