Members of UC Berkeley’s Research IT group joined CIO Larry Conrad, University Librarian Tom Leonard, and staff from the Office of the VCR at a system-wide summit held on the UCLA Campus this past March. The summit was titled “Next Generation Research & the University of California: Planning for the Future of UC’s Cyber Infrastructure - Creating a Five Year Vision for University of California Cyber Infrastructure.” The goal of the summit was:
“[To] prioritize and recommend a UC Cyber Infrastructure “plan of action” for the next five years supporting information technology enabled scholarship and research. As such, the discussion must be faculty-centric and address issues investigators deem important to the future of scholarship and research at UC.”
Conrad opened the meeting, and UC President Napolitano addressed the attendees in a recorded keynote speech. Faculty from a broad range of disciplines presented their research, and described emerging needs. UC Berkeley Law Professor Justin McCrary (also director of the Social Science D-Lab) was among the presenters in a track on Management, Law and Public Affairs.
A vision statement for the summit noted:
A useful way to think about shared infrastructure is as an ecosystem. A UC Scholarship and Research Ecosystem should provide (1) institutional connectivity, (2) key shared resources that extend capacity and the tools and capability that form the institutional “nervous system” (3) the rich functionality that brings distributed resources, capabilities and expertise into a coherent capability, (4) the links through which data can be moved and methodologies accessed, and (5) the institutionally leveraged infrastructure that builds individual capability far beyond that which can be developed locally.
A UC Scholarship and Research Ecosystem also needs to reflect strong leadership that projects the UC public mission values and defines how UC builds research capacity.
Dr. Peter Arzberger, Senior Advisor for Research Cyberinfrastructure at the National Science Foundation (NSF), presented a talk on “Data, informatics, cyber-infrastructure and grand challenge problems. National Perspective – Reflections, Directions, and Program Emphasis.” In his talk, he described four key areas of emphasis: Compute, Data, Network/Security, and Software, and then noted that People are the hub that connects all these, and are central to progress.
Among the themes that emerged was a strong desire for a common solution to the problem of storing large data-sets, and help for faculty and graduate students to find appropriate IT solutions to support research (what some called a “concierge” model).
The summit materials are available online, thanks to staff at UC Riverside.