The 10-years of the e-Science programme and many earlier years of e-Science have shown the critical importance of digital communication in data-intensive research and in collaboration to bring sufficient expertise to bear on challenges. A review of the 10 years of the e-Science programme shows that the significant positive outcomes are often years after the initial work, even though that led to major breakthroughs and achievements.
At the start of the e-Science programme we thought scale was the predominant challenge.
Within a year we realised that there were many more aspects to the challenge of empowering researchers by applying distributed computation.
We now understand that e-Science is a continuous process, progress being achieved by walking paths together discovering critical issues and inventing solutions collaboratively.
The global digital revolution provides a fertile and turbulent ecological environment in which e-Science is a small but vital element. There is a deep history of e-Science, but coining the term and injecting leadership and modest funds had a huge impact. A veritable explosion of activity has led to a global burst of new e-Science species. Our challenge is to understand what will enable them to thrive and yield maximum benefit as the digital revolution continues to be driven by commerce and media.
The investment in e-Science has delivered a huge impetus to UK research programmes but it has the potential to do much more. This potential will be realised in the UK only if we sustain the development of collaborative and cooperative research behaviour. Indeed we wish to extend it to far more participants, so that all researchers, designers and decision makers have the power of advanced e-Infrastructure at their finger tips. This requires continued collaboration to build that e-Infrastructure.