IT Center Blog

FAIR Data Spaces – Establishing a shared cloud-based data space for business and science

June 23rd, 2021 | by

Source: Pixabay

Together with the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) e.V., Atos Information Technology GmbH and with various NFDI consortia, the cloud-based data space “FAIR Data Space” for business and science is being created and built.

What is the goal of this project?

The NFDI and the federated data infrastructure Gaia-X pursue the goal of data exchange in different application domains such as in science and business. This exchange is to be enabled with the help of a networked infrastructure and interoperability through metadata standards. In this context, the NFDI prioritizes the implementation of FAIR principles, while Gaia-X is dedicated to the topic of data sovereignty. The interconnectedness of these two initiatives contributes to the implementation of the Federal Data Strategy: In 2021, the data strategy was adopted with the goal of making the potential of data in science, business, and society more usable and strengthening data competencies, data sovereignty, and data infrastructures.

The FAIR Data Spaces project creates a roadmap for collaboration between the two initiatives. It:

  • clarifies ethical and legal frameworks for data sharing between academia and industry,
  • creates common technical foundations
  • and demonstrates the use of Gaia-X technologies for providing and using research data along FAIR principles in different scientific disciplines and sectors.

The collaborative project application was submitted to the BMBF on 04/09/2021 and the funding already started on 05/17/2021. Thus, nothing stands in the way of the implementation of the FAIR Data Space!

The work areas for the development of the FAIR Data Space

The project is composed of a total of 5 work areas:

  • Roadmap & Community
  • Ethics & Law
  • Technology
  • Demonstrator
  • Project Management

RWTH is particularly involved in the areas of technology and demonstrator.

For example, in the project area Technology, a “FAIR Identity Space” is being developed, which provides and implements authentication frameworks and infrastructures, authorization and delegation services, and organizational mapping.

The development of a demonstrator based on GitLab is implemented by the project area “FAIR Research Data Quality Assurance and Workflows”. This acts as a proof of concept for the implementation and also provides the basis for a long-term science-driven management concept.


Responsible for the content of this article are Arlinda Ujkani, Jana Baur und Marius Politze.

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