As more and more processes are becoming digital, data abounds in many organisations – data that, if shared and analysed, could help companies, research organisations and public bodies gain new knowledge, create innovative and sustainable products and offer better services to citizens. The objective of GAIA-X is to develop the foundations of a European federated, open data infrastructure where data could be shared in a secure manner that respects privacy and other legislation.

In order to develop a homogeneous, user-friendly system where data can be accessed and shared, GAIA-X is gathering requirements from business, research and the public sector. The 2021 GAIA-X Summit “Deep dive from a vision to a tangible data infrastructure reality” on 18-19 November 2021 took stock of the progress to date and outlined what will come next.

Stimulating local data ecosystems: the role of national GAIA-X hubs

Sasha Baillie was one of the speakers at the 2021 GAIA-X SummitIn March 2021, the Ministry of the Economy entrusted Luxinnovation with coordinating the national GAIA-X hub and facilitating the participation of local players that want to be part of formulating the requirements for making data accessible and interoperable. When speaking at the GAIA-X Summit, Sasha Baillie highlighted the European momentum generated by GAIA-X.

The primary task is to use GAIA-X to leverage the true potential of a data economy and people in national sector-specific working groups and stimulate the local data ecosystems.

“The national GAIA-X hubs are the voice of the local ecosystems,” she pointed out. “Their primary task is to use GAIA-X to leverage the true potential of a data economy and people in national sector-specific working groups and stimulate the local data ecosystems. We do this by gathering the requirements from the users – industry, research, the public sector and individuals – and setting up common European projects.”

Developing businesses and the economy as a whole

Taking up the coordination of the national GAIA-X hub was a natural continuation of Luxinnovation’s work addressing the interests and needs of public and private organisations facing innovation challenges. “Our overall objective is to foster the development of businesses and of the economy as a whole,” explained Ms Baillie.

Local data ecosystems are a mirror – a microcosm – of the much vaster European data spaces.

A GAIA-X coordinator within the innovation agency is tasked with running the operations of the national GAIA-X hub and acting as a point of contact. The hub’s steering committee includes public and private players with specific use cases, and an overall stakeholder group of ministries, research organisations and business federations is regularly being informed and consulted. “This allowed us to quickly identify a number of GAIA-X relevant use cases with a cross-border dimension, such as Clinnova in the health data space and the Product Circularity Data Sheet project in the working group on the circular economy.”

The local perspective is essential. “Local data ecosystems are a mirror – a microcosm – of the much vaster European data spaces. Identifying and exploring the challenges at the local and national level is a testing ground for the challenges Europe faces as a whole to ensure the free flow of data within a secure, open and trusted network infrastructure,” Ms Baillie concludes.

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