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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/W032252/1
Title: Physical Sciences Data Infrastructure (PSDI) Phase 1 Pilot
Principal Investigator: Bicarregui, Dr J
Other Investigators:
Coles, Professor SJ Montanari, Dr B Frey, Professor JG
Matthews, Dr BM
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Scientific Computing Department
Organisation: STFC Laboratories (Grouped)
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 November 2021 Ends: 31 March 2022 Value (£): 1,002,307
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Catalysis & Applied Catalysis High Performance Computing
Research approaches Surfaces & Interfaces
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
11 Nov 2021 ESPRC Digital Research Infrastructure Phase 1 Assurance Panel 11th November 2021 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Today, each physical science research infrastructure, from individual laboratories to large facilities, has essentially its own isolated data infrastructure. In contrast, many other domains have data-centric infrastructures for collecting and reusing data which act as community hubs and drivers of new methods and discoveries. There is a clear need within physical sciences for an additional infrastructure layer to enable researchers to share and use existing resources whilst ensuring that each resource can remain dedicated to its specific application.

There is a need to preserve and exploit outputs from past research while keeping pace with the increasing rate of data generation, the latter posing the greatest challenge and potential for innovation. New chemicals, materials and devices are key to a sustainable future, both environmentally and financially. The UK needs to invent its way out of seemingly conflicting targets of maintaining economic growth whilst making unprecedented strides towards an imminent net zero carbon output.

This pilot develops on a proposed physical science data infrastructure (PSDI) outlined in a Community Statement of Need response to the EPSRC 'Large Infrastructures' call, which will enable the wider community to do more with existing resources and build an ecosystem for data discovery. This short scoping exercise (November 2021 - March 2022) is intended to inform larger subsequent construction and scale up phases. Accordingly, this pilot study will gather recommendations to feed into specifications addressing operating models, governance, systems design and architecture, capabilities and remit. To do this the pilot will engage with physical science research communities and facilities to shape the key areas to address and their requirements.

The pilot activities therefore focus on four key areas: strategy, stakeholder engagement, technical architecture, and case studies. Strategy concentrates on defining the operational model - that is how the whole infrastructure is delivered, i.e. the way technical infrastructure, expert service providers and new research communities effectively function together, and proposing a governance structure to ensure efficient and sustainable delivery. Stakeholder engagement is a key aspect of the pilot that will inform multiple research communities at the same time as capturing the bulk of the requirements. The work on technical architecture will test a number of key platform components in order to propose a system design for future construction. Eight case studies are designed to probe specific key areas of the infrastructure through a combination of focussed desk-based research and test implementations, and are split into areas: disciplinary science-based and underpinning techniques/methods.

Each of the tasks in the work packages will produce recommendations, which will be synthesised into a single PDSI design recommendations and specifications report.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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