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HIFIS Scientific Advisory Board: First Feedback Report


First SAB report

In April 2020, the HIFIS Scientific Advisory Board gathered in a video conference to discuss the progress of HIFIS and provide advice. Comments and suggestions were compiled in a comprehensive report.


The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the newly established platform “Helmholtz Federated IT Services” (HIFIS) held its constitutive meeting as a virtual conference on April 29, 2020. The HIFIS annual platform report 2019 and platform proposal were provided beforehand, as well as presentation slides and materials on the cloud service selection after the meeting.

During the meeting, Helmholtz representatives and HIFIS members held presentations providing insight on ambitions and actual progress of HIFIS in the context of Helmholtz and the European research landscape. These presentations interchanged with open discussion sessions of all participants. Minutes of the discussion have been provided to the SAB members a few days after the meeting.

The SAB members were given additional opportunity to provide written feedback within approx. oneweek after the meeting, allowing to assemble this collective feedback report. There were many positive comments and reactions in regard to HIFIS and its progress.

Specific points to highlight

  • Positioning of HIFIS as a platform, not a project. The presentations were refreshing in that they were from a scientific user’s perspective and not overly focused on technical specifications. HIFIS has a flexible architecture that anticipates specific systems being integrated and also decommissioned or replaced. The emphasis is on building a sustainable resource that works well for researchers. This perspective and positioning should continue, although some experts would enjoy additional specifications for review.
  • Integration with other platforms. HIFIS’s utility grows exponentially as it is integrated withother scientific platforms. This work is necessary, needed, and should be prioritized.
  • Integration into the proposal process. Related to the point above, it is recommended thatHIFIS will be given improved visibility and insight in the proposal process of Helmholtz platform projects they hope to integrate with. The benefits of coordination and early knowledge can reap numerous benefits. For example, even without requiring new work, the HIFIS team could factor in the technology and data choices of funded projects on the AI andimaging platforms, so HIFIS is better aligned to serve or integrate in later.
  • Collaboration with international initiatives. Both HIFIS as a groundbreaking platform and the Helmholtz Association have much to share with the international scientific community. As well, by connecting with international initiatives, especially European ones, HIFIS may find other work to build upon, that will increase capacity for additional work. Specific feedback given by six experts from the SAB are given in full detail in the following sections.

Full Report

Specific feedback given by six experts from the SAB are given in full detail in the full report.


  • 2023-07-11: Updated link to report