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How the OCRE project can benefit Research

As part of the Open Clouds for Research Environments project (OCRE) GÉANT secured permission from the EU in late 2019 to release funding for an early cloud adoption project, which was managed by vouchers distributed to Researchers through their partners Marie Curie Association and Eurodoc, to enable organisations to sample the cloud.

Oxford Brookes University was a beneficiary of vouchers, enabling them to use CloudSigma’s flexible and powerful cloud platform for its animal regeneration project. CloudSigma provided the resources and an account manager, along with free technical support.

Dr Nathan J. Kenny, a postdoctoral fellow at Oxford Brookes University, is part of the research group aiming to find out how animals can regenerate parts of their bodies after injury. The focus has been on the regenerative power of the cells of different species of worm, using single-cell sequencing techniques.

“Worms can regenerate almost any part of their body, including their head. So, you can see the obvious medical benefits that would come out of our research.”

– Dr Nathan J. Kenny.

To implement their research techniques, the team generates extremely large files of single-cell sequencing data and need to extract that data. Thanks to the OCRE project, the researchers can do this securely and with ease.

At first, the process used local computer resources but became limited by a lack of storage. The researchers also used servers shared with other users, causing friction with fellow scientists. This took up huge amounts of storage, and accessing the files when others were using them became an issue, slowing the project down.

The team has been able to carry out their research much more efficiently and effectively since working in the cloud. Cloud resources have enabled the scientists to cope with the demanding nature of research and lab work, as it can be hard to predict when the results and data sets will get delivered.

“The cloud vouchers allowed us to plan better and enabled our cloud purchase to comply with the university’s administration and purchasing process. With the OCRE vouchers, you can buy them in advance then use them when you need to, which makes things much easier” says Dr. Nathan J. Kenny.

GÉANT has launched its new EU-compliant OCRE cloud framework to help accelerate cloud adoption in education and research. Jisc is proud to be delivering the new OCRE cloud framework for the UK education and research sector. The expanded infrastructure as a service (IaaS) framework will help accelerate cloud service adoption and is part of the larger OCRE project.

For more information on the OCRE cloud framework please contact the team at Jisc: cloudframework@jisc.ac.uk

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