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E-Science-Net: Universities and Research Network for Science and Technology Development in the Information Society
Research Center for ICT Strategic and International Studies,
 Iran University of Science and Technology

I.Background information
Ten years after two world summits on the information society on 2003 and 2005 in Geneva and Tunis, result in two documents of plan of action and declaration of principles, in WSIS+10 high-level event, held in Geneva on June 2014, two other documents (the WSIS+10 Statement on the Implementation of the WSIS Outcomes and WSIS+10 Vision for WSIS Beyond 2015) are adopted. All above documents have paid considerable attention on the role of scientific and technical advances and sharing of research results, in developing many of the building blocks of the Information Society. Although there are many achievements in past ten years, many other challenges are remained especially in developing countries. According to WSIS+10 vision, “e-science revolutionizes science by changing the way in which research is conducted; how the scientific agenda is defined; who participates in it; how the results and data are shared; the pace at which policymakers, scientists and individuals access knowledge; and who participates in the policy follow up of research outcomes.”
To have a network of researchers, universities professors, and students for exchanging the innovative ideas and scientific information among research and educational institutions across Iran, this project has been posed and performed by Research Center for ICT Strategic and International Studies (ICT-SIS) in Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST) and supported by Iran Ministry of Science, Research and Technology (MSRT) and Iran Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The steering committee members of the project are listed below:
  • Dr. Hadi Shahriar Shahhsoeini (Iran University of Science and Technology)
  • Dr. Ali Moeini (University of Tehran)
  •  Dr. Golamali Montazer (Tarbiat Modares University)
  •  Dr. Madjid Naderi (Iran University of Science and Technology)
The project tries to conduct some expert surveys on e-science and the role of research, science and technology in sustainable development of the information and knowledge societies. The outcomes, which will be published and/or presented in thematic workshops, can be used in developing the national roadmap for e-science.

II. Goals & Timeframe
The aim of this project, which started on 2015, is to establish an active national reference research point in the field of e-science. The project is going to make a network of researchers and scientists who are familiar with the information society concepts in Iran. It also looks for future scientific cooperation as possible in the world in the related area. The main subject is to determine how development of science and its requirements may affect on the information society and/or the information society affect on them.
Firstly the main pillars of e-science are determined and studied briefly. Then a list of experts who have been involved in ICT based project, from academia, industry and policy-makers, is prepared. The literature review on related concepts of e-science will be followed by a survey among experts and some thematic workshops. The expert’s survey aims to find the main challenges and opportunities in this area which may be help in creating the future roadmap of e-science in Iran. An electronic Delphi software system, which can work with four groups of experts simultaneously, has been developed to gather the views of the experts involved in the projects, over the web. So the expert surveys could be conducted remotely in a web based platform. Some face to face or physical meetings are planned after remote web-based Delphi process. Finally the results will be discussed in a conference of experts. The main purpose of these experts’ survey and conference is to investigate the drivers that push e-science to help in making a sustainable developed knowledge-based society.
By this approach the project tries to determine the suitable directions for future orientation of e-science in Iran. Since it will be implemented by cooperation between selected experts in specific reference groups from academia as well as groups of experts from policy-makers and industry, we hope an active network of researchers with the expertise and professional skills in the field of the information society will be emerged. Also the results will be published to propagate the concepts which are discussed and/or developed in the project, into scientific community. These reports may help policy makers who are involved in creating the national development plan.
The main objectives of the project and outcomes that are expected are listed below:
  •   Investigating the challenges in the decision-making procedure for e-science development in Iran.
  •   Finding the required national actions and describing the achievements in the field of research, science and technology in the information society.
  •   Investigating the records and reports of universities activities with respect to indexes of information society.
  •   Creating a national synergy for sustainable and knowledge-based development by using the facilities provided by the information society.
  •   Creating of opportunity to enhance the professional skills and capabilities of researchers in the field of information society.
III. Project’s added value and importance
Today, scientific knowledge is a key factor in the innovation process and in finding pathways to sustainable, inclusive and equitable development in national, regional and international level. E-science sphere can provide better understanding of emerging trends, their impacts and future directions. It may enhance the building block of the information society and improve sustainability of outcomes of scientists’ researches. The project is focused on e-science conceptual study, and conducting experts' survey on e-science. A starting point for creating a national roadmap for e-science is the potential outcome of experts’ survey; which can be used by policy makers in Ministry of Science, Research and Technology (MSRT) and Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The outcomes of the project will be published as technical reports in the related fields in general, and in particular can be used in gap analysis, determining the development policies and building up the roadmap for e-science in Iran.
Making the supporting documents for national development plan, making appropriate technical report as a pillar of strategic and master plan for ICT-based sustainable development, carrying out the seminar for rising the expertise and professional skills for making knowledge-based society are main potential achievements of the project in first year.

IV. Challenges
Following factors are the main challenges in meeting the goals set out in this project:
  • Finding the outstanding researchers who worked in related subjects and be familiar to ICT and information society and actively participate in the e-sessions and web-based Delphi system.
  • Finding the committed, well-informed and strong session coordinator in physical meetings for each topic.
  • Lack of a careful understanding of known project risks in preparing the information regarding the selected subjects and analyzing the gathered data.
V. Relevance of the project to the respective Action Line
While e-science is one part of Action Line C7 in WSIS Declaration of Principles, it may also help to determine the priority of ICT projects and making a policy framework for sustainable development in all other Action Lines.
This project targets to make a network of researchers located in the universities in entire of Iran and even abroad, to exchange the new and innovative ideas in the field of e-science, which is an important application of ICT and has been highlighted in WSIS Action Line C7.

VI. Conclusion
 Implementation of the goals indicated in the Declaration of Principles and fulfillment of the Plan of Action for WSIS, cannot be effectively done without research and without taking advantage of e-science. E-science has been changing the way in which research is conducted and the outcome of research projects are also affected by the new process. In this project after a conceptual study in the field of e-science, a network of researchers, university professors and professional individuals who are active in this area is formed to exchange their ideas through a special web-based parallel Delphi system, in the predefined topics. The project wants to be a reference research point for e-science in Iran and promote and conduct high quality applied research in the field of e-science in particular, and international and regional cooperation with related technical organizations in general; and its outcomes can be used in the related national development plans.
More information can be found on http://ict-sis.iust.ac.ir  and http://e-science-net.iust.ac.ir .
Please click here for project's poster.

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