NeSI Futures: Looking Ahead

A shared view of the ecosystem

We're looking to build our view of a future for NeSI through working with researchers to understand their aspirations and goals. We are considering NeSI's role in the broader context of the research system alongside research institutions, other research infrastructures, and commercial providers. We're aiming to optimise our investment into supporting research, in this broader context.

Looking to the future of research powered by advanced computing

The three key considerations for our focus are:

  1. The future needs for advanced research computing of national research communities are often unstated and invisible to those outside any community. Posing a question of longer term needs is often required before they're given proper consideration. Meanwhile specialised investments in advanced research computing should be driven by and co-designed with research communities.
  2. Research exists within a global context, with each nation having a unique ecosystem of advanced research computing investments, providers, and capabilities. There is much for any nation to learn from reviewing these strategies, outcomes, and lessons learnt.
  3. Often, a network of stakeholders and investors underpins national advanced research computing capabilities. Institutional objectives and incentives often operate in a fine balance with national aspiration and shared intent. Investment incentives need to be aligned in order to realise shared goals.

NeSI are working to inform our future business case across these three areas, for our continued operations from 1 July 2019.

 

eScience Futures Workshop

Earlier in 2018 we kicked off consultation with an eScience Futures Workshop at eResearch NZ 2018. It can be near impossible for those without a long association with a research sector to appreciate the ecosystem of technologies and providers underpinning research activities. Our intent was to shine a light on the varied aspects of our advanced research computing ecosystem, to encourage broader future-oriented perspectives.

The report below documents the frameworks presented at the workshop and the feedback from workshop attendees. The report introduces key elements of an eScience value chain, describing these elements and outlining key trends in a global context. This common language and frame of reference forms the base upon which we'll build additional insights.

PDF iconeScienceFuturesWorkshop-ReflectionReport.pdf

 

Research Community Consultation

Research takes place across a range of scales, from nationally coordinated and mission-led programmes such as National Science Challenges or those supported within Crown Research Institutes, through to smaller scale research teams within specific disciplines as is often the nature of research within our universities. The former is more likely to have a longer term strategic research plan underpinning their work, while the latter will be more challenging to identify and connect with due to inherent diversity and fragmentation. In some cases there are national approaches supporting the latter, such as the Centres of Research Excellence.

We plan to solicit white papers from representatives of a targeted set of research communities, as agreed with NeSI's Research Reference Group and Board. We propose incorporating groups:

  • already identifiable as significant users of NeSI's current and future services, alongside
  • where we see significant development of computational and analytics research methods over the medium term who will therefore become significant users in the future.
  • who have proactively been engaging with NeSI to explore potential future services.
  • from a cross section of researchers and disciplines to encourage an open and innovative view of how we might best support the sector.

To support the development of community white papers, we have developed a standard set of areas to be addressed, and will support researchers through providing structured interviews to solicit information and inform their own drafting of such a paper.

 

International Benchmark Study

NeSI have commissioned a study of comparator jurisdictions and facilities from around the world, to inform NeSI’s proposal with relevant examples from those international benchmarks. This study will capture major international trends in advanced computing technology and digital science, as well as the evolution of relevant services available from a range of providers.

This feeds into broader discussion facilitated by NeSI on relevant investments required to underpin and enable New Zealand’s longer term research directions, primarily to inform NeSI’s future business case from mid 2019.

 

This page will be updated as more information becomes available.