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Smardy will develop a research data marketplace for technology transfer built as a software and data carpentry (i.e., developing and teaching workshops on the main data skills required to conduct research), where academia, industry, and government can exchange curated datasets, technology, and tools to foster economic and social development.

From a business perspective, such a marketplace puts together data producers and data consumers to foster the delivery of cross-cutting solutions based on an open innovation model. The incentive for researchers and research organisations is twofold: they get the chance to accept who gets to use their own data and under what terms—an innovation leveraging distributed ledger technologies—and they get paid while sharing their data in a pay-per-access fashion.

From an economic perspective, the marketplace integrates tools for smart semantic discovery of relevant data, while promoting an Open Source culture where researchers do not need to pay for re-executing experiments if redundant. Thus, research funding has a chance to propel the advance of technology on the shoulders of already-existing findings.

Imagine a scientist producing state-of-the-art data-intensive (Big Data) experimental findings with significant global impact. Traditionally, she/he would publish a paper summarising the results. However, the datasets and tools behind this experiment are equally, if not more, important that the sole description of such results and the conclusions reached. One could argue about the importance of the use of an open access repository to share data to increase dataset reusability. However, there is not yet a clear open mechanism to trace how data is further used by others and, possibly, monetise their use.

Here lies the novelty of our project: we will nurture a traceable open innovation model by deploying public distributed ledgers for controlling access rights to data, with data models able to grant access according to policies completely kept under the control of the data owner/producer.

Modelled as software/data carpentry, the project will incorporate best practices for technology transfer of software, datasets, and results along with lessons learned in academic and industrial research. The project will reach TRL7 by enabling traceable access to engineering data. Specifically, Smardy will facilitate and allow the use of research engineering data by the companies that own data management systems. This represents a novelty, especially for engineering data, because the preparation of data for such transfers, as well as their security, needs to overcome many barriers raised by the specificity of engineering data, as well as the level of preparation of the companies for accessing and processing this data.

Our users are business companies interested in the technological transfer of results being developed by external researchers, and research organisations mostly interested in advancing their own research by building on existing work. For business companies this is attractive, because they get in touch with the latest technology result without spending money on vast market analysis, and get IPR support by first getting to work with the technology before an actual purchase. The Smardy marketplace supports the Cloud model of sharing resources between clients while the infrastructure providers themselves also get pay (a win-win model).

In short, the goals of Smardy are to:

G1. Exploit and build on existing open software systems, frameworks, and standards such as public/private cloud infrastructures and distributed ledger technologies;

G2. Develop and evaluate open innovation mechanisms for scientific data specifically with respect to marshal data curation, traceability, and accessibility;

G3. Verify that FAIR principles have been properly met for the distributed open big data, that is processed and generated within research contexts and environments;

G4. Intelligently control and coordinate data gathering and processing within a myriad of contexts and environments;

G5. Demonstrate the applicability of the project technologies with respect to real-world technology transfer environments;

G6. Ensure the uptake of project technologies by engaging with relevant developer and user communities (including data scientists and industry) by producing a marketplace and technology roadmap, and by pursuing other innovation and exploitation activities that aim to maximise market potential in the long term, including implementing an open data strategy to disseminate the project results.

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The SMARDY Consortium is receiving financial support from the European Eureka Network funding programme through the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digitization (UEFISCDI) in Romania (Ref# PN-III-P3-3.5-EUK-2019-0241) and Enterprise Ireland (Ref# IR20210058).