Data sharing in a Federation of Digital Innovation Hubs

The EUHubs4data project aims at building a federation of Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs), with the purpose to consolidate as the European reference for data driven innovation and experimentation, fostering collaboration between data driven initiatives in Europe, federating solutions in a global common catalogue of data services, and sharing data on a cross-border and cross-sector basis.

The initial 12 DIHs members of the project, (which recently have been extended to 21) have successfully built a first version of a catalogue of resources, including both data driven services and datasets, with the purpose of enlarging their local offering and attracting SMEs.

In this post our focus is the data sharing dimension, in particular data sharing among the DIHs participants in the project, which, as discussed below, has been driven by the execution of experiments with selected SMEs.

Data sharing dimension

The project quite ambitiously ran a first Open Call for experiments during its first 6 months, and since May 2021, 10 experiments have started using the resources offered by the network of DIHs. Experiments include, as a requirement of the Open Call, multiple DIHs located in different EU regions and therefore in some cases Data driven services offered by a DIH need to access datasets hosted and offered by a different DIH. The possibility to implement data sharing among participants located in different EU countries, ensuring data sovereignty, is also the main goal for the Federation implementation.

The partners of the project working in the interoperability task (IDSA leading this task with the help of TNO and of course of all the DIHs, as main contributors to the technical activities of the project) has been driving the activities of defining interoperability requirements,

First of all, roles in the Federation have been defined, for example the providers and consumers of assets, and the federation services. Functional, non-functional and technical requirements of the Federation were discussed during a series of workshops in order to agree on minimal functional and technical requirements, acceptable for all DIHs. Additional requirements will come along the project in order to increase interoperability among the participants of the Federatation. These requirements are attached to concrete milestones. The achivement of these milestones ensure the participants righfully implemented the requirements and keep them technically aligned (with regards to interoperability).

The project has since the beginning mapped the requirements with the IDS Reference Architecture Model (RAM) which is providing mechanisms for trusted sharing of data, whilst maintaining sovereignty. Thanks to first elementary usage control, the Federation is already able to ensure the data goverance of its datasets. Providers are able to apply contraints on the use of their datasets.

DIHs (ITI in Spain and EGI Federation in the Netherlands) recently made the demonstration of a complete data exchange according to the IDS RAM. They used available open source implementations of IDS connectors. In this case they used the DataSpace Connector. They rely on third-party components (Federation components) such as ID management components (Certification Authority and Dynamic Attribute Provisoning Service) and the Metadata broker provided by TNO in the project.

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