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H2020 EC cluster for Social sciences and humanities

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EC h2020 project cluster: Social sciences and humanities


Web site and project objectives:

Cotnact: Tiziana Ferrari,

Activities: has a consortium of 42 participants, including organizations in Canada, the US and the Asia Pacific region:

EUDAT 2020





Contact: Guenter Muehlberger, Uni of Innsbruck

Name: Recognition and Enrichment of Archival Documents

The main objective is to set up a VRE for the transcription, recognition and searching of handwritten archival documents. Cutting edge technology from the computer science will be further developed and made available to humanities scholars, archives, and volunteers (citizen science). The project builds on results from the FP7 Project tranScriptorium:

Specific measures are:

  • Run an Open Platform where users are able to upload documents and to use the technology (software as a service), to train Handwritten Text Recognition and similar technologies for their own purposes, but also to benefit from synergies (e.g. already trained models from other users). A prototype is already available:
  • Carry out collaborative research in the domains of Digital Humanities, Pattern Recognition, Layout Analysis, Natural Language Processing, etc.
  • Develop several innovative applications, such as e-learning components, or mobile devices
  • Organise research competitions to boost research in the relevant domains based on large datasets covering "real world data"
  • Launch speficic actions to make the technology available to a larger audience (Citizen Science)
  • Involve archives, libraries, etc. with their handwritten/archival collections

13 Partners involved:

Universities from Innsbruck (coordinator), London, Valencia, Vienna, Leipzig, Rostock, Lausanne; University College London, National Centre for Scientific Research - Demokritos, National Archive Finland, State Archive Zurich, Archive Bistum Passau, Xerox European Research Centre.

In terms of collaboration/concertation we are especially interested in:

  • HPC (HTR processing requires a lot of time)
  • Shared data (e.g. image collections)
  • User interaction (e.g. via mobile devices)
  • Business models (e.g. how to establish our VRE in various EU countries)



Contact: Adam Farquhar, British Library


THOR will establish seamless integration between articles, data, and researchers across the research lifecycle. This will create a wealth of open resources and foster a sustainable international e-infrastructure. The result will be reduced duplication, economies of scale, richer research services, and opportunities for innovation.

The core of THOR's work focuses on persistent identifier services including ORCIDs for people, DOIs for data and articles, and ISNIs for people and organisations. They provide an essential thin layer that supports citation, reporting, impact assessment, and many other services.

The project has four concrete aims:

  • Establishing interoperability
  • Integrating services
  • Building capacity
  • Achieving sustainability

We have ten partners: The British Library (coordinator), the Australian National Data Service (ANDS), CERN, DataCite, Dryad, Elsevier Labs, the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), ORCID, the earth sciences data centre Pangaea, and the Public Library of Science (PLoS).


Website: Contact: Ognjen Prnjat, GRNET

In the last decade, a number of initiatives were crucial for enabling high-quality research - by providing e-Infrastructure resources, application support and training - in both South East Europe (SEE) and Eastern Mediterranean (EM). They helped reduce the digital divide and brain drain in Europe, by ensuring access to regional e-Infrastructures to new member states, states on path to ascension, and states in European Neighborhood Policy area – in total 14 countries in SEE and 6 in EM. This VI-SEEM proposal brings together these e-Infrastructures to build capacity and better utilize synergies, for an improved service provision within a unified Virtual Research Environment (VRE) for the inter-disciplinary scientific user communities in the combined SEE and EM regions (SEEM). The overall objective is to provide user-friendly integrated e-Infrastructure platform for regional cross-border Scientific Communities in Climatology, Life Sciences, and Cultural Heritage for the SEEM region; by linking compute, data, and visualization resources, as well as services, models, software and tools. This VRE will provide the scientists and researchers with the support in full lifecycle of collaborative research: accessing and sharing relevant research data, using it with provided codes and tools to carry out new experiments and simulations on large-scale e-Infrastructures, and producing new knowledge and data - which can be stored and shared in the same VRE. Climatology and Life Science communities are directly relevant for Societal Challenges. The driving ambition of this proposal is to maintain leadership in enabling e-Infrastructure based research and innovation in the region for the 3 strategic regional user communities: supporting multidisciplinary solutions, advancing their research, and bridging the development gap with the rest of Europe. The VI-SEEM consortium brings together e-Infrastructure operators and Scientific Communities in a common endeavor.



Contact: Keith Jeffery

Name: A Europe-wide Interoperable Virtual Research Environment to Empower Multidisciplinary Research Communities and Accelerate Innovation and Collaboration

The development of Virtual Research Environment has to consider both practices of different research communities (e.g., quality of user experiences and collaboration), and the technologies provided by underlying data, computing, sensor and network infrastructures (e.g., latest development of Internet/Grid/Cloud technologies). Such systems have been highlighted in several initiatives since EU FP6 and 77. However, it is already clear from existing VRE initiatives that researchers who use existing VREs to conduct multidisciplinary research in environmental, earth, social and other sciences often face various problems, such as issues related to data heterogeneity, user experience, and fast changes to datasets. This complicates research on multidisciplinary societal challenges, such as climate change and energy sustainability.

VRE4EIC project (A Europe-wide Interoperable Virtual Research Environment to Empower Multidisciplinary Research Communities and Accelerate Innovation and Collaboration). VRE4EIC develops a reference architecture and prototypes to be used for future VREs including building blocks that can be used to improve existing VREs. The project addresses the key data and software challenges in supporting multidisciplinary data driven sciences. VRE4EIC contributes to attaining the objectives of H2020 through innovations that build capacity by reusing and integrating existing VRE tools, services, standardised building blocks and workflows where appropriate, and by deploying new innovative ones where needed. VRE4EIC will develop an architecture and toolset that will advance the current state-of-the-art to provide one stop access to existing VREs through increased VRE interoperability. Building on other successful VREs and the state-of-the-art, prototypes will be developed that will deploy advanced software tools and services, such as tools to keep track of changes made to datasets, identifiers and citations for fast changing data, visualisations, and interoperable workflows, to stimulate innovation and collaboration among researchers across Europe and beyond. Real-world use cases in the interdisciplinary domains of environmental, earth, social, material, and other sciences will be developed and supported by the architecture and toolset. The architecture and toolset will meet the requirements over and above those of existing VREs and the use cases. The project will retro-fit those tools to existing VREs (a) to improve them for the end-user meeting the additional requirements and (b) to provide interoperation capabilities across VREs.

The consortium is an integrated team of partners covering all parts of Europe (North, East, South, West and central Europe) composed of:

  • A well-experienced coordinator with 22 member ICT research organisations from 19 European countries and a central office for coordination: ERCIM;
  • Europe-wide research organisations with excellent networks across Europe: ERCIM (including W3C) and euroCRIS (with members in 43 countries mainly within but also outside Europe);
  • Experienced IT developing organisations: CWI, CNR, FORTH (all ERCIM members and all with experience of VREs);
  • Standards development organisations: W3C, euroCRIS;
  • Use cases and existing high quality VREs developed in prior projects which will be improved:
  • EPOS (represented by INGV) and ENVRI (represented by UVA);
  • A university with expertise in the field of data analysis, policy aspects and Massive Online Open Courses, as well as the development of online and offline training material (TU Delft).