EU cloud adoption project to end after awarding €8.5m to researchers

15 Dec 2022

Image: © rustamank/

The OCRE project helped researchers get access to commercial cloud services and gave grants to four Irish projects earlier this year.

A European cloud adoption project is winding down this month, having given €8.5m in grants to researchers since 2019.

The Open Clouds for Research Environments (OCRE) project was formed to give researchers access to the commercial cloud services offered by companies such as Google, Amazon and Orange.

The project received funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

These cloud services can provide powerful tools for research teams, but can be expensive and difficult for small research institutions and universities to acquire.

OCRE project director David Heyns said the initiative has enabled more than 10,000 European institutions to access a host of relevant digital services, making the research ecosystem “quicker and more scalable”.

“OCRE has allowed thousands of researchers to increase the capacity of their compute, storage and related services to develop, run and manage applications as a public cloud service”, Heyns added.

“Many researchers now have access to on-demand high performance compute, data storage, machine learning platforms, simulation and virtualisation tools for the first time with minimal bureaucracy.”

Support for Irish research

In September, OCRE awarded €6m to 15 European research projects through its final funding call, with each receiving between €100,000 and €500,000. Four of these projects were based in Ireland.

Funding went to the Codalife project at Cork University Maternity Hospital and the Coombe Hospital in Dublin. This aims to improve decision-making on the stabilisation of preterm babies by developing an evidence-based framework using machine learning.

Also backed was the Virtual Aorta project at University of Galway, which looks to develop patient-specific in silico – or computer simulated – testbeds for aortic aneurysm and dissection. It is hoped this will lead to the development of new therapeutics and medical devices.

Another funded project from the University of Galway was StreamAir. This project plans to upscale an air pollution monitoring app by moving it to the cloud, while adding new features such as climate crisis-oriented models.

The final project supported by OCRE was the OpenIreland Project at Trinity College Dublin, which is exploring what type of computing resources can be used to support the deployment of Open RAN. It will also examine whether a public cloud can replace some or all of the software processing functions that are carried out in dedicated hardware servers.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic