Report over the attendance of the 1st International Conference on Blue Growth in the Black Sea Region: with a focus on “Ecosystem Services on River-Sea Macro-ecosystems”, 9-10 Mar 2020, Constanţa, Romania
I attended the 2nd day of this conference, paid for by the organizers representing EGI with the mandate to introduce EGI and what e-Infrastructures can do to help research and education in the Black Sear region. I gave a 20min talk also outlining the role that EGI can play in linking research in this area with similar research in other areas, the sharing of data and research outputs and dissemination. I was also the session chair of the session entitled “Modelling, Data Processing and Knowledge Based Decision Making on Ecosystem Services in River-Sea Macro-ecosystems”. There was also a discusssion around the need to link/federate cloud services from universities in the region, initially by introducing a uniform way of authenticating/authorizing users with Check-In.
The day was attended by represented from universities and local government in Romania, in addition to representatives from the American University of Armenia, the Aristotle University of Greece and ‘ARCTUR’, an SME from Slovenia. (Note, one of the attendees from ARCTUR, Tomi Iljaš, said he’d met Sy) In the audience there was a significant number (>50%) of Higher Education students, both under- and post-graduate.
Presentations during the day centered around research (mostly done as part of Higher Education institutes) on sustainable blue and green growth, i.e. the sustainable exploitation of the sea and land, from societal, environmental and economic point of view. Themes included monitoring and proposed methods of dealing with overfishing, suistainable agriculture and tourism, sustainable transport and dealing with current problems with flooding and polution (both waste water and air).
During the day, various problems linked with research about dealing with big data in the era of increasing numbers of sensors, effective and scalable approaches to the processing of data as well as new ways of processing including Machine Learning and AI. Towards the end I summarized that solutions at the e-Infrastructure level exist or are under development for many of these problems, and my belief is that a key aspect is making researchers aware of services such as those provided by EGI/EOSC in order to assist with these problems.
During the evening dinner with the invited presenters from Armenia and Greece and Eden Mamut (the organizer) plans were discussed around organizing a follow-up event in the form of a ‘hackathon’ in Armenia in September, involving students. I also discussed the possibility of provisioning a future ‘Build your own Infrastructure’ type workshop in the future to assist with applying EGI solutions to assist with big data and large-scale computing. On the question of helping to federate universities, Eden Mamut also said that there was approx. €1m of project funding available to spend that could potentially be used for sub-contracting/consulting services from EGI. Following on from discusisons prior to this conference, he urged us to come up with a MoU between EGI and the Black Sea University Network (BSUN) to outline work that could be done along with target timeframes. Apparently there is a new datacentre being built in Constanţa and they are keen to be guided by EGI on areas such as solutions for exposting data, data interoperability and policies for enabling the FAIR sharing of data.