Why have a Science Gateways Community Institute?
As science today grows increasingly digital, it poses exciting challenges and opportunities for researchers. Scientists and engineers are turning to gateways to allow them to analyze, share, and understand large volumes of data more effectively. The existence of science and engineering gateways—and the sophisticated cyberinfrastructure (CI) tools and resources behind these accessible Web interfaces—can significantly improve the productivity of researchers. Most importantly, science gateways can democratize access to the cyberinfrastructure that enables cutting-edge science.
Science gateway developers face several challenges. They often work in isolation even though development can be quite similar across domain areas. They bridge local, campus, national and sometimes international cyberinfrastructure. They need foundational building blocks so they can focus on higher-level, grand-challenge functionality. Sustainable funding for science gateways can also be difficult to secure as they span the worlds of research and infrastructure.
Since Fall 2012, we have engaged interested members of the science and engineering community in a planning process for a Science Gateways Community Institute (SGCI). The goal of our institute is to provide coordinating activities across the National Science Foundation, eventually providing services more broadly to projects funded by other agencies. Sharing expertise about technologies and strategies would allow developers to concentrate on the novel, the challenging, and the cutting-edge development needed by their specific user communities.
The SGCI was officially funded on August 1, 2016. Read the press release about the launch of this Scientific Software Innovation Institute.
What does the Institute offer?
Based on our engagement with users and builders of gateways, the team has designed the Institute around five areas to support gateways throughout their lifecycle:
- Incubator provides shared expertise in business and sustainability planning, cybersecurity, user interface design, and software engineering practices.
- Extended Developer Support provides expert developers for up to one year to projects that request assistance and demonstrate the potential to achieve the most significant impacts on their research communities.
- Scientific Software Collaborative offers a component-based, open-source, extensible framework for gateway design, integration, and services, including gateway hosting and capabilities for external developers to integrate their software into Institute offerings.
- Community Engagement and Exchange provides a forum for communication and sharing experiences among gateway developers, within NSF, across federal agencies, and internationally.
- Workforce Development plans to increase the pipeline of gateway developers with training programs, including special emphasis on recruiting underrepresented minorities, and by helping universities form gateway support groups.
The idea for the Institute grew out of the results of an NSF-funded study examining the characteristics of successful, sustainable science gateways. (Read more about the study proposal and findings.)
Who is involved?
Our project team includes (Area Leads in bold):
- Juliana Casavan, Purdue University
- Maytal Dahan, University of Texas at Austin
- Sandra Gesing, University of Notre Dame
- Linda B. Hayden, Elizabeth City State University
- Randy Heiland, Indiana University, Bloomington
- Betsy Hillery, Purdue University
- Katherine Lawrence, University of Michigan
- Nancy Maron, BlueSky to BluePrint
- Suresh Marru, Indiana University
- Nayiri Mullinix, University of Michigan
- Marlon E. Pierce, Indiana University
- Mihaela Vorvoreanu, Purdue University
- Nancy Wilkins-Diehr, The University of California, San Diego
- Michael Zentner, Purdue University
Can I participate?
Yes, we want to hear from you. If you would like to learn more about our services, provide input, or stay informed about our events, please connect with us.
The SGCI is presently limited to providing free services to U.S. organizations, but we want to serve a diverse audience from academic institutions, industry (supporting open-source products), national laboratories, and the cyberinfrastructure community. SGCI services are open to all qualified persons without regard to race, gender, religion, age, physical disability or national origin.