Brussels – The European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) officially launched a transversal Joint Programme (tJP) on Digitalisation for Energy (DfE). With this move, the Alliance recognizes the critical and transformative role that information technologies and the digitalization of energy play in supporting the transition towards climate neutrality by 2050.
After an extensive internal consultation, the largest energy research community in Europe, EERA, starts off the year with the introduction of a new joint research programme dedicated to information technologies and digitalization of energy. An EERA Joint Programme (JP) is a permanent structure that allows EERA to foster pan-European R&I collaboration on a joint Strategic Research Agenda, with the objective to build leading-edge expertise in the various fields of clean energy. On this occasion, the structure of the new Joint Programme has been designed as a cross-cutting entity with the aim of leveraging pre-existing expertise, and of complementing it with leading edge knowledge on the latest digital concepts and technologies.
According to Rafael Mayo-Garcia from the Spanish Research Centre for Energy, Environment and Technology (CIEMAT), who will act as the first Coordinator for the transversal Joint Programme, this new structure will allow all EERA researchers to “benefit from the development carried out in other JPs. The specific Sub-Programmes will foster an advancement that will be trans-disciplinary to all EERA activities”.
Digitalisation for Energy has its roots in the expertise of numerous researchers involved in EERA activities, many of whom have already been active over the last years in projects dealing with topics related to information technologies and digital challenges in the clean energy field. Examples of this focus can be found in the projects EERAdata, aiming to discuss and advance the state of the art of FAIR and open energy data, and EoCoE, offering an ever-expanding network of experts in High Performance Computing and in sustainable energies, from academia, industry, and the public sector. In particular, EoCoE has been supporting the creation of such an effort on digitalisation within EERA since its first project phase.
In the official launching communication, EERA Secretary General, Adel El Gammal, thanked the appointed Management Board for the efforts devoted to defining this new joint programme, being the first to be organised as an innovative transversal structure to the other EERA joint programmes. He also encouraged the newly assigned management team to “maximise interactions with all existing JPs where digitalisation is anticipated to play a key transformation role”. “We look forward to supporting you fully in this strategic endeavour” El Gammal concluded.
Digitalisation for Energy will operate in a pilot mode during the first year, status that will allow EERA to further fine tune the governance of the new programme based on continuous feedback and lessons learnt. The experience derived from this process, as first-of-a-kind cross-cutting structure, is expected to help identify best practices and lead the way to possible additional transversal Joint Programmes within EERA.
Joint Programme Management Structure
The management structure of the transversal Joint Programme has been established according to EERA internal governance principles. The Management Board will initially include a Joint Programme Coordinator, a Deputy Coordinator, two Sub-Programmes Coordinators (SPs) devoted to High Performance Computing (SP1) and to Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (SP2) topics, and four coordinators appointed by the transversal SPs coming from other JPs as follows:
For its part, the Steering Committee of the programme will be formed by the EERA President Nils Røkke, Vice-President Oliver Kraft, and Secretary General Adel El Gammal.
At the same time, it will integrate on a modular basis all the existing sub-programmes that, even though belonging to established Joint Programmes, had already developed a particular expertise in digitalisation topics. This innovative approach in the implementation of the new programme will allow for an easy integration with current and future sub-programmes on digitalisation (i.e., cybersecurity, blockchain, etc.).
The European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) is an association of European public research centres and universities active in low-carbon energy research. EERA pursues the mission of catalysing European energy research for a climate-neutral society by 2050. Bringing together more than 250 organisations from 30 countries, EERA is Europe’s largest energy research community. EERA coordinates its research activities through 18 Joint Programmes and is a key player in the European Union’s Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan. For further information, see https://www.eera-set.eu/.
Maria Luisa Fernandez Vanoni
The European Energy Research Alliance (EERA)