Establishing sustainable economic models

The Coordination Office for Scientific Information (COSI) helps higher education institutes develop strategies in the area of scientific information. We spoke to Patrick Furrer, project coordinator at swissuniversities, to find out how his organisation works with SWITCH in this field and what COSI and the SWITCHhub have in common.

Text: Marco Dütsch, published on 25.04.2019

What do you do at swissuniversities?

I coordinate the 2017-2020 scientific information programme.

How did COSI come about and what is the idea behind it?

The idea of COSI was conceived in 2013 to help project owners and their institutions develop a long-term economic model for the services that result from their projects.

What stage is it at currently?

The detailed COSI concept was submitted to SERI in December 2018 for registration in the ERI Dispatch for 2021-2024. The main goals, governance, activities planned and resources required are all included in the proposal.

What are the next steps?

Various operational details still need to be confirmed, particularly regarding the specific services that COSI could offer universities. These details will be finalised by the steering committee of the ‘Scientific Information’ programme by the end of June 2019.

What is your view of the cooperation with SWITCH?

SWITCH has been involved in working out the detailed concept since February 2018. COSI extends the SWITCH mandate by including scientific information services. So far, cooperation has progressed on a very firm footing.

How do you see COSI in 3 or 4 years’ time?

COSI will function as the coordinating body for scientific information services for the entire higher-education community in Switzerland. The task of ‘supporting strategic coordination’ for scientific information and Open Science services, as envisaged, will have an impact on all SWITCH activities. This means that COSI will be able to reinforce collaboration and the respective positions of SWITCH and swissuniversities. I also hope to see a large majority of P5 projects come to fruition under the COSI label, which will consolidate the initiative’s success.

What EU developments and projects do you think will have an impact on COSI?

Firstly, there’s the European Open Science Cloud, and then, more generally, the roadmaps for research infrastructures at the Swiss and European levels (ESFRI). 

What other topics are you working on at swissuniversities?

Some of the subjects that the rectors would like to address jointly within swissuniversities are part of programmes that are co-financed by SERI. The current scientific information programme that I coordinate is certainly one of these, as is the upcoming Open Science programme for the 2021-2024 period, which is in development. There is also, for example, the new ‘Digital Skills’ programme that has just been launched.

What are your aspirations for SWITCH?

I hope that its strategic transition to scientific information goes well and that COSI can help in this transition. Furthermore, in terms of interoperability and international collaboration, I expect SWITCH will maintain and develop its international network and become an international centre of reference for scientific information services. This will help promote COSI’s complete portfolio of services beyond Switzerland.

About the author
Marco   Dütsch

Marco Dütsch

Marco Dütsch has been a member of the Management Board and head of the Digital Solutions & Coordination division at SWITCH since May 2018. His division includes the procurement, legal and service management teams. He was previously employed in management roles at various technology companies. He has an Executive MBA from the University of Fribourg.

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