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From science to enterprise: new apps for the cloud
01 July 2011

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Organisations of all types are adopting cloud computing technologies to gain flexibility and strategic advantage in their environments.

The overwhelming response to the Open Call launched at the beginning of the year by VENUS-C perfectly illustrates the change of attitude that is occurring in the world of scientific research and Information Technology. VENUS-C is a project supported by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme. The call attracted 60 proposals from candidates wishing to deploy and run their own applications on the VENUS-C platform. 

This Open Call is part of a large effort in Europe and worldwide to use cloud computing to the benefit of research, businesses and society.  In the United States, Microsoft ran a similar call with the National Science Foundation.

Venus-C will provide seed funds to 15 pilot research projects to support the testing and deployment of the cloud infrastructure put in place. The pilot research programs cover diverse fields from building engineering to bioinformatics, earth sciences, healthcare, marine surveillance, mathematics, physics and social media (more details about the projects). They join an equally compelling portfolio of original partner user scenarios for bioinformatics, systems biology, drug discovery, civil engineering, civil protection and emergencies, and marine biodiversity data. The 15 new pilots are represented by Aristotle University (Department of Computer Science and Geophysics Lab, Greece), Athena Research (Greece), CESGA (Spain), CIEMAT (Spain), DFRC (Switzerland), Heriot-Watt University, Molplex (UK), Royal Danish Academy (Denmark), Royal Holloway (UK), Stockholm Brain Institute (Sweden), University of Applied Sciences (Switzerland), University of Cyprus (Cyprus), University of Malaga (Spain), University of Westminster (UK).

I was most pleased to see such a good response to the consortium’s request for proposals. It is clearly a continued sign that Europe has an appetite and talent for scientific innovation that we’re happy to support by providing easy access to computing power for manipulating large volumes of data and running very complex computations. Microsoft Research is proud to be a catalyst in the process that enables scientists to focus on discovery, rather than on deploy and maintain the computing infrastructure. We hope that the projects and organisations selected will go on to produce results that will be of benefit to the scientific community, and ultimately the wider society.

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