Researchers and CIOs Plan UC’s Next-Generation Cyberinfrastructure

Posted by Chuck Rowley, Associate Vice Chancellor, UCR. On March 23, UC’s Vice Chancellors of Research (VCRs) and Chief Information Officers (CIOs) sponsored a cyberinfrastructure visioning conference at UCLA. The goal was to prioritize and recommend a UC cyberinfrastructure plan of action for the next five years. The one-day conference featured several panels discussing emerging digital scholarship and research trends, as well as the associated cyberinfrastructure requirements these opportunities will demand. Over 140 UCR faculty, research support staff, VCRs, and CIOs participated.

The conference featured five panels as follows:

  • Physical sciences, life sciences, and engineering
  • Libraries; arts and architecture; theater, film and television
  • Management, law, and public affairs
  • Social sciences, humanities, and education
  • Health sciences

Other panels / presentations were provided by the National Science Foundation, CIOs (current technology initiatives), and faculty discussing “blue sky” possibilities. UC President Janet Napolitano gave a welcome address by video. The presentations, agenda, faculty participants, and more are available on the conference website:

Emerging trends – research and digital scholarship

The modern research enterprise continues to evolve dramatically: science and digital scholarship are becoming data-driven, research now occurs in increasingly collaborative environments, researchers must now be both domain and data experts, and data as a language enabling research and scholarship is a new normal.

This new environment is driving change and presents new challenges and opportunities, from ethics to data access to human analytical capacity. Clearly, this evolving environment requires the University of California to consider and plan for its collective future, and a thoughtful research cyberinfrastructure strategy will help UC address these challenges and ensure that every opportunity is leveraged.

Conference themes

During the conference, several themes emerged that were consistently highlighted during presentations and panel sessions. Perhaps the most important notion is that data-driven science, digital scholarship, and the associated (and enabling) cyberinfrastructures are core to the University of California’s collective ability to address the grand challenges facing California, the nation, and the entire world.

Additionally, it is essential that these cyberinfrastructures, services, and support offerings are inventoried and are transparently available to faculty, whether these services and infrastructures are supplied by a campus, the UC system, or cloud providers.

The seven topics below may receive particular attention as UC develops roadmaps for acting on important components of UC’s emerging cyber infrastructure.

  • Cyberinfrastructure “concierge” service
  • Collaboration tools, portals, and services
  • Storage vision and eco-system
  • Data management, curation, metadata / interoperability
  • Data access – UC and beyond
  • Skills development, training, “boot camps”
  • Policies and ethical considerations

Next steps

Based on conference themes and observations, a group has been formed to develop an action plan and vision document. This is truly an exciting opportunity for UC to build a solid foundation for its research future.


Comment (1)

  1. Tom A

    This was a great event! As we have discussed in our committee meetings on research IT, we could (and should) be doing a better job support the research mission as “research is data.” This event typifies that the IT community should have a strong, active & constant communication with our researchers on everything from cyberinfrastructure, to compute, to storage & curation. Great collaborative effort & thanks to the Librarians for their partnership in this effort



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