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The European Grid Initiative is a sustainable computing grid infrastructure in Europe[1]. The EGI will provide a forum to link together computing resources in different European countries to support international research in many scientific disciplines. By 2007 the EGI was supported by 36 countries[2]. The EGI organization will start operation in 2010, providing a sustainable future for the e-infrastructure developed under the series of EGEE projects.


The Purpose and Structure of the EGI

Innovation, the foundation for economic development, depends on rapid scientific advances. Science in turn has become increasingly based on open, cross-border collaboration between researchers across the world. In addition, it is making intensive use of high-capacity computing to model complex systems and to process experimental results.

e-Science computing grids have emerged to respond to the requirements of the most demanding scientific disciplines (e.g. high-energy physics, bioinformatics) to share and combine the power of computers and sophisticated, often unique, scientific instruments.

In addition to their scientific value, on the 30 May 2008 The EU Competitiveness Council emphasised "the essential role of e-infrastructures as an integrating mechanism between Member States, regions as well as different scientific disciplines, also contributing to overcoming digital divides."[3].

By 2009 the EGEE projects have already gone a long way to combining disciplines and coordinating strategies to provide European e-Science Grids. To ensure the long-term sustainability of the grid e-infrastructures, EGEE will evolve into a truly pan-European organisational model that will open grid e-infrastructures to all scientific disciplines and complement national funding strategies in support of e-Science. The governance model will evolve towards a European Grid Initiative (EGI) building upon the emerging National Grid Initiatives (NGIs).[4]

National Grid Initiatives (NGI) are emerging to respond in a coordinated and cost-effective way to the needs of scientific disciplines for computational resources within individual countries. NGIs are entities with a public mission aiming to integrate funding resources at national level for the provision of grid-based services. They provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ for a number of common grid-based services for national research communities.

The EGI will be governed by a Council of representatives from each member NGI, which will control an executive that will manage the international collaboration between NGI, so that individual researchers can share and combine computing resources in international collaborative research projects.

The governance model of the EGI coordinating the collaboration of National Grid Initiatives will apply the general policies of co-operation and subsidiarity adopted in the European Research Area.

The EGI is planned to operate from Amsterdam, the Netherlands by mid-2010[5].

EGI Design Study

The EGI Design Study (EGI_DS) project was launched in September 2007 and will continue until the end of November 2009[6]. The project is partially funded by the European Commission's 7th Framework Programme [7] in order to:

  1. evaluate the requirements and use cases for the EGI,
  2. identify processes and mechanisms for establishing an EGI,
  3. define the structure of the EGI,
  4. initiate the construction of the EGI organization[8].

Objectives of the EGI

The objectives of the EGI are to:

  • Ensure the long-term sustainability of the European e-infrastructure
  • Coordinate the integration and interaction between National Grid Infrastructures
  • Operate the European level of the production grid infrastructure for a wide range of scientific disciplines to link National Grid Infrastructures
  • Provide global services and support that complement and/or coordinate national services (Authentication, VO-support, security, etc)
  • Coordinate middleware development and standardisation to enhance the infrastructure by soliciting targeted developments from leading EU and National Grid middleware development projects
  • Advise National and European Funding Agencies in establishing their programmes for future software developments based on agreed user needs and development standards
  • Integrate, test, validate and package software from leading grid middleware development projects and make it widely available
  • Provide documentation and training material for the middleware and operations. (NGIs may wish to make the material available in turn in their local language)
  • Take into account developments made by national e-science projects which were aimed at supporting diverse communities
  • Link the European infrastructure with similar infrastructures elsewhere
  • Promote grid interface standards based on practical experience gained from grid operations and middleware integration activities, in consultation with relevant standards organizations
  • Collaborate closely with industry as technology and service providers, as well as grid users, to promote the rapid and successful uptake of grid technology by European Industry


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