Activity initiation

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The Project directive is the base for NeIC decision to start activities, and with what degree of NeIC co-funding. This page describes who should draft project directives, who evaluates them, and on what bases.

Modes of initiation

NeIC activities can be initiated in two ways:

Top-down
By the NeIC Board
Bottom-up
By Nordic groups of technical experts and/or users. These may include national e-infrastructure providers as well as research infrastructures or research groups with a Nordic dimension.

The NeIC Executive Team (XT) negotiates projects with partners, implements initiatives and facilitates follow-up activities based on recommendations from the NeIC Provider Forum. It is the responsibility of the XT to ensure that projects conform to strategy, budget and general principles agreed by the Board. The Board oversees projects through regular project portfolio reports and through reviews/hearings at natural occasions. Larger initiatives are discussed by the Board prior to implementation.

See #Criteria for bottom-up activities below for the basis of evaluation.

Types

NeIC has two types of activities:

Projects
A NeIC project is a process for improvement or development of new e-infrastructure services that add value to Nordic user communities. Projects are unique, have concrete and measurable deliverables, have a beginning and an end, and have dedicated resources working in a defined project organisation. The NeIC project management model is based on the Tieto PPS project management model.
Operations
NeIC can also operate e-infrastructure services, if doing so can be shown to have a clear Nordic added value. NeIC operations are generally only initiated top-down. The main operational activity is the Nordic Tier-1 service.

Evaluation criteria for bottom-up activities

Generic project opportunities, should have a potential to add value to the national providers in the Nordic countries. Initiatives will be assessed by the NeIC Provider Forum based on invitation, a structured process, or on an ad hoc basis. Smaller initiatives (less than 1 FTE NeIC funding, corresponding to about 1 MNOK (2017)) that are approved by the Provider Forum may be taken directly to negotiations with national providers while larger initiatives need approval from the Board.

For community-oriented project opportunities, NeIC should align with Nordic priorities (as set by NordForsk) or explicit common priorities of the national research funding agencies. ESFRI projects with broad Nordic participation are natural candidates, because these have been approved by national research funding agencies. Initiatives for evaluation may also emerge from prioritized NordForsk activities within research or research infrastructure collaboration. Community-oriented initiatives should be subject to technical assessment and matched to the service offerings of the national providers by the Provider Forum or, if needed, by external experts.

In general, new community-oriented activities should be presented to the Board for approval. Community-oriented projects may be co-funded by the communities themselves and/or the national providers, while the NeIC co-funding should come from NordForsk sources rather than the national providers' "common pot". In this way, the community-oriented projects will add value to the national providers though growing the Nordic e-infrastructure family and foster new contacts.

The project directive is the basis for NeIC's decision to start activities. The project directive is evaluated by the Provider Forum based on the following criteria.

Activities should:

  • have a clear #Nordic dimension (commitment, uptake of results, benefit... cf below).
  • be owned and run by NeIC.

Additionally, projects should also:

  • have 6-36 month duration.
  • be for concrete, measurable deliverables.

Partners should be:

  • Nordic e-infrastructure user or provider organisations that are nationally significant.

Co-funding from NeIC:

  • can cover 50% of staff costs in projects.
  • can cover travel and meeting costs.
  • cannot cover running costs for hardware.
  • stimulates the Nordic dimension.

Co-funding from partners:

  • can be in-cash or in-kind
  • can be different in size from different partners
  • guarantees commitment from partners

Additional aspects that may be of relevance:

  • Feasibility
  • Maturity
  • Broad user base
  • Adding value to researchers (“forskarnytta”)
  • Nordic added value
  • Non-competition with national infrastructures
  • Collaboration
  • ESFRI infrastructure connection
  • Innovation
  • Not being actual research

Nordic dimension

NeIC activities must in the long run add value to Nordic user communities. NeIC uses these guidelines to evaluate the Nordic dimension of proposed activities.

NeIC is about infrastructure and not research collaboration. Projects should involve co-funding from at least three Nordic countries to be eligible for co-funding from NeIC. Initiatives that involve less than three Nordic countries may receive co-funding from NeIC if approved by the Board.

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