FAIR-Data Spaces project initiated

Building a data space for science and industry – through collaboration between GAIA-X and NFDI

In May 2021, the 3-year FAIR Data Spaces project  funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research Germany started. In this project, the federated secure data infrastructure Gaia-X and the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) develop a common cloud-based data space for industry and research following the FAIR data principles (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable).

The project creates the roadmap for the collaboration of the two initiatives, clarifies ethical and legal frameworks for data sharing between science and industry, creates common technical foundations and demonstrates the use of Gaia-X technologies for providing and using research data along FAIR principles in different scientific disciplines and industries.

TIB – Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology is already involved in both initiatives – NFDI and the International Data Space/Gaia-X and will help to link the two more closely technically and organisationally as part of the project. In particular, TIB plans to make the terminology service developed for the NFDI initiatives also usable for Gaia-X and the International Data Spaces, so that participants can use terminologies, vocabularies and ontologies to develop a common understanding of the data to be exchanged.

The NFDI e.V. and numerous leading universities in NFDI consortia represent the application domain of science. The business-oriented Gaia-X side is represented by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and Atos as representatives of the companies participating in Gaia-X. Further, in particular small enterprises will be included from early 2022 via an open call.

Industry gets easier access to research data

Commenting on the launch of the project, consortium coordinator Dr. Christoph Lange, head of the Data Science and Artificial Intelligence department at Fraunhofer FIT, says, “in recent years, both research and industry have made major steps towards standardized data infrastructures. The FAIR Data Spaces project will now bridge these two worlds at their intersection: the shared use of research data. It will do so in an organizational, legal and technical sense. Enterprises that are compatible with Gaia-X or aim in that direction will thus gain easier access to research data.”

Prof. Dr. York Sure-Vetter, Director of NFDI, says, "I am happy that the joint project on FAIR Data Spaces is starting. The collaboration with Gaia-X is a benefit to NFDI as many of our consortia are connected with industry and therefore both sides, research, and industry, are working on similar issues around research data management. The FAIR Data Spaces project will help existing and future NFDI consortia to make research data available - as freely and openly as possible – according to the FAIR principles.”

Participating institutions

The project is coordinated by Fraunhofer FIT and co-coordinated by NFDI e.V. Further partners are Fraunhofer ISST, Justus Liebig University Giessen, TIB, University of Cologne, Leipzig University, RWTH Aachen, FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure, University Hospital Heidelberg (UKHD), Eberhard Karl University of Tuebingen, Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Philipp University of Marburg, University of Münster, ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics and Atos. The project thus covers parts of the following initiatives and NFDI consortia: NFDI4Ing, NFDI4Chem, NFDI4Health, NFDI4Culture, GHGA, NFDI4Biodiversity, KonsortSWD, Medical Informatics Initiative, Gaia-X Association for Data and Cloud (AISBL) and International Data Spaces Association (IDSA).