Increasingly researchers who are not co-located are seeking to work dynamically together at various scales from the local to the international. These researchers want to share data, models, work flows, best practice etc. to address either local challenges which are also potentially of direct relevance to researchers in other geographical areas, or they have a shared interest in addressing a common issue such as the grand challenges currently being faced by society on a global scale e.g. climate change.
Virtual research environments (VREs) are increasingly being used to support this more dynamic approach to collaborative working. This has led to a number of VRE projects such as VRE4EIC and EVER-EST in Europe, and the initiation of virtual laboratories in Australia and science gateways in the USA. However, at the present time, although these systems are seeking to share some of the same resources and common infrastructure services e.g. EUDAT, GEANT, etc., there is no coordination of the development of the underlying architecture that would allow these individual VREs to interoperate.
The proposed VRE interest group would bring together those initiatives actively developing VREs, virtual laboratories and science gateways, along with the representatives of the common infrastructure services and the researchers seeking to make use of these technologies in an effort to identify the necessary technical aspects, governance issues and best practice required to support a more coordinated approach to the development of VREs.