A Critical Reassessment: The European Cloud University Platform and New Challenges of the Quartet Helix Collaboration in the European University System


  • Jari Roy Lee Kaivo-oja Finland Futures Research Centre, Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Finland
  • Jari Stenvall Professor




European Open Science Cloud, Higher education, European integration, Digitalization, Platform economy, Open science policy, Open innovation paradigm, Collaboration framework of European universities, Data governance, Digital platforms, European data politics, Data policy, Social inclusion


The European Commission has presented how it intends to give Europe a lead in the data-driven economy by enabling cloud-based services and world-class infrastructures for industry, scientists, and public services. In 2011 we discussed and proposed the cloud university platform for the European Union in the European Integration Studies. The purpose of the study is to deliver a critical reassessment of the European Cloud University Platform.  Today a new European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) will offer Europe's 1.7 million researchers and 70 million science and technology professionals a virtual environment to store, share and re-use the large volumes of information generated by the big data revolution. The EOSC will be underpinned by the European Data Infrastructure, deploying the high-bandwidth networks and super-computer capacity necessary to effectively access and process large datasets stored in the cloud. There is also a target to build a single market for the Internet of Things: with the right standards for interoperability, and open cross-sector platforms for IoT devices and services to connect seamlessly, and scale-up, up anywhere in the EU. Our assessment is focused on the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and its operational functioning and implementation process. The study is based on conventional assessment methods and tools. The methodology is a mostly mixed methodology (with both qualitative and quantitative data analytics) and it pays attention to argumentation logic and actual policy planning process and operational implementation of the EOSC.

The role of Research Infrastructures (RIs), as well as cross-border innovation management approach are emphasized in recent transnational European research and innovation policy. Support for RIs form important pillars in the Horizon 2020-framework, as well as in the Horizon Europe-framework based on the idea that modern science requires unique global competitive capabilities, which individual institutions, or even individual European countries, often cannot provide by themselves. There are very good reasons to perform a critical assessment, because according to the European Cloud Initiative, over the coming 5 years, the European Commission will put forward proposals to meet the €4.7 billion investment need to integrate and consolidate data infrastructure. These vital proposals will bring together the EU and other sources, including Member States and private investments. By 2017, all scientific data produced by projects under the €77 billion within the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme will become open by default to ensure that the scientific community can re-use the enormous amount of data they generate. This change is not marginal and needs more reflective discussions. The primary database of reassessment is the documents of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and (1) associated European Commission work programme (overview of institution-wide deliverables), (2) the strategic plan (department strategy, objectives for 2016-2020) and (3) other EU management plans and scientific discussion associated with platform economy research. These EU documents were published after our original EIS article.

The key results of critical reassessment are: (1) There are concrete needs to strengthen links between the European Open Science Cloud, Industry 4.0 strategy and Industry 4.0 Curriculum in Europe, (2) the concept of platform needs more discussion in the future developments of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), (3) country-level university and research community participation in the EOSC requires more discussion and more updated operational implementation plans and programs, and (4) there is need to plan symbiotic digitalized innovation eco-system policy and economic growth policy framework for the European Union. We summarise our critical reassessment with a critical note that there are big integration challenges of the European Open Science Cloud. 

Keywords: European Open Science Cloud, Big Data, Industry 4.0, Higher education, European integration, Digitalization, Platform economy, Open science policy, Open innovation paradigm, Collaboration framework of European universities, Data governance, Digital platforms, Data infrastructure, European data politics, Data policy

Author Biography

Jari Roy Lee Kaivo-oja, Finland Futures Research Centre, Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Finland


Abraham, R, Schneider, J, Vom Brocke, J. (2019) Data governance: A conceptual framework, structured review, and research agenda. International Journal of Information Management 49, 424–438.

Andrejevic, M (2014) The big data divide. International Journal of Communication 8, 1673–1689.

Arnkil, R., Järvensivu, A., Koski, P & Piirainen, T. (2010) Exploring Quadruple Helix. Outlining User-oriented Innovation Models. Report No. 85/2010 Working Papers. University of Tampere. Tampere.

Baldwin, C. & Clark, K. (2000) Design Rules, Volume 1: The Power of Modularity. The MIT Press. Cambridge, MA. U.S.A.

Beer, D (2017) The social power of algorithms. Information, Communication & Society, 20(1), 1–13.

Bygstad, B. & D’Silva, F. (2015) Government as a platform: a historical and architectural analysis. In NOKOBIT, Norsk Konferanse for Organisasjoners Bruk av IT.

Central European University (2021) European Cloud Initiative. Web: European Cloud Initiative | Academic Cooperation and Research Support Office (ceu.edu)

Dunleavy, P., Margetts, H., Bastow, S. & Inkler J. (2006) New Public Management is dead — Long live digital-era governance. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. Vol. 16, Issue 3, 467–494.

edX (2021) MIT Online Courses. Web: https://programs.edx.org/partner-mit?g_acctid=926-195-8061&g_campaign=gs-free-nonbrand-partner-mit&g_campaignid=896085724&g_adgroupid=44648143357&g_adid=381084806626&g_keyword=ou%20free%20courses&g_keywordid=kwd-297609830343&g_network=g&utm_source=adwords&gclid=CjwKCAjw6fCCBhBNEiwAem5SO6bxsAteHDxyCKIaQk64A89AQMoZKzn7QPb_rGnxJJ9wG6JNdbCzlBoCxK0QAvD_BwE

EOSC Vienna Declaration (eosc-launch.eu) Web: https://eosc-launch.eu/declaration/ (read 1.3.2021)

European Commission (2021) European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) | European Commission (europa.eu) (read 1.3.2021).

European Commission 2021 A European Strategy for data. 09 March 2021. Web: Strategy for Data | Shaping Europe’s digital future (europa.eu)

European Commission (2021) Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. Commission Work Programme 2021. A Union of Vitality in a World of Fragility. Brussels, 19.10.2020. COM(2020) 690 final Web: resource.html (europa.eu)

European Commission (2021) EURES. Web: https://www.mooc-list.com/tags/europe

European Commission & The Government Office of Sweden (2017) Concluding report Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth, Gothenburg, Sweden, 17 November 2017. Social Summit for Fairs Jobs and Growth.

European Commission (2020) Skills for Industry Curriculum Guidelines 4.0 Future-proof Education and Training for Manufacturing in Europe. Written by PwC January 2020 Web: EA0220118ENN.en (2).pdf. (read 1.3.2021).

European Open Science Cloud (2021) EOSC Portal - A gateway to information and resources in EOSC. Web: EOSC Governance Board | EOSC Portal (eosc-portal.eu)

Fishenden, J. & Thompson, M. (2013) Digital government, open architecture, and innovation: why public sector IT will never be the same again. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 23(4), 977-1004.

Google (2022) Big Data search of “European Open Science Cloud”. Jan 2011-20 April 2022. Google Trends Database 20.4.2022. Read in 20.4.2022.

Hautamäki, A. & Oksanen, K. (2018) Digital platforms for restructuring the public sector. In A. Smedlund, A. Lindblom, & L. Mitronen (Eds.), Collaborative Value Co-creation in the Platform Economy, Translational Systems Sciences, 11. Springer, Singapore, 91-108.

Kaivo-oja, J. (2010) Futures of Innovation Systems and Systemic Innovation Systems: Towards Better Innovation Quality with New Innovation Management Tools. Finland Futures Research Centre. Turku School of Economics. FFRC eBOOK 8/2011. Turku.

Kaivo-oja, J. & Stenvall, J. (2011) The Cloud University platform: new challenges of the co-operation in the European university system. European Integration Studies. Vol. 5(1), 39 – 44.

Kaivo-oja, J. & Stenvall, J. (2013) Foresight, governance and complexity of systems: On the way towards pragmatic governance paradigm. European Integration Studies, Vol. 7(1), 28-34.

Kaivo-oja, J. & Santonen, T. (2016) Futures of Innovation Systems and Innovation Management: Open Innovation Paradigm Analysed from Futures Perspectives. In Anne-Laure Mention & Marko Torkkeli (Eds.) Open Innovation: Bridging Theory and Practice. Vol. 1, Chapter: Chapter 6, Publisher: World Scientific, 111-158.

Kaivo-oja, J., Virtanen, P., Jalonen, H. & Stenvall, J. (2015) The Effects of the Internet of Things and Big Data to Organizations and Their Knowledge Management Practices. In Knowledge Management in Organizations, Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing, Volume 224, Springer International Publishing, 495-513.

Kaivo-oja, J. & Lauraeus, T. (2017) Benefitting from innovations and paying for innovations: The global trade of Intellectual Property Rights: A long-run empirical analysis of receipts and payments of the use of intellectual property in G7 and BRICS Countries. Eurasian Academy of Sciences. Eurasian Business & Economics Journal, Volume 11, 45‐54.

Kim, P. (Ed,. 2015) The MOOC Revolution. Routledge. New York. USA.

Kooiman, J. (2003) Governing as Governance. Sage London.

Kenney, M. & Zysman, J. (2016) The rise of the platform economy. Issues in Science and Technology, Vol. 32(3), 61–69.

Koponen, J. (2018) Public sector platforms: a promising way forward for societies. Web: Public sector platforms: a promising way forward for societies - Demos Helsinki

Lehtiniemi, T (2017) Personal data spaces: An intervention in surveillance capitalism?. Surveillance & Society 15(5), 626–639.

Ottlewski, L. & Gollnhofer, J.F. (2019) Private and Public Sector Platforms – Characteristics and Differences. University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. Web (read in 15.2021): https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/256855/1/28012019_MRSG_PublicPlatforms_Uploadversion.pdf

Stenvall, J. & Laitinen, I (2015) Higher education engagement and innovation dynamics - comparative study of regional innovative networks of the city of Helsinki and the city of Chicago. In Carlot, C; Filloque, J-M; Osborne, M; Welsh, P (ed) The Role of Higher Education in Regional and Community Development and in the Time of Economic Crisis. Niace, UK

Mattioli, M (2017) The data-pooling problem. Berkeley Technology Law Journal 32, 179–236.

Micheli, M., Ponti, M., Craglia, M. & Anna Berti Suman, A.B. (2020) Emerging models of data governance in the age of datafication. Big Data & Society, July–December Issue, 1–15

NACI Secretariat (2019) Big Data Analytics for South African National STI Foresight 2030. National Advisory Council on Innovation. April 2019. Republic of South Africa. Web: BIG-DATA-ANALYTICS-FOR-FORESIGHT-EXERCISE.pdf (naci.org.za)

Rodgers, B.A. Bryan, Antony, J. & Penman, D. (2019) A critical evaluation of the public sector improvement framework. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma. Vol 11(2), 398-403.

Santonen, T. Kaivo-oja, J & Antikainen, M. (2011) National open innovation systems (NOIS): defining a solid reward model for NOIS. International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development, Vol.3 No.1, 12 – 25.

Svantesson, D. (2020) Data localisation trends and challenges: Considerations for the review of the Privacy Guidelines. OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 301, OECD Publishing, Paris. Web: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/7fbaed62-en (read 1.3.2021)

Thomas, H., Fressoli, M. & Becerra, L. (2012) Science and technology policy and social ex/inclusion: Analyzing opportunities and constraints in Brazil and Argentina. Science and Public Policy, Volume 39, Issue 5, October 2012, 579–591.

Tiwana, A. (2017) Platform Ecosystems. Aligning Architecture, Governance, and Strategy. Morgan Kaufman. Elsevier.

Wilkinson, M., Dumontier, M., Aalbersberg, I. et al. (2016) The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship. Scientific Data 3, 160018 (2016). Web: https://doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2016.1






Social Evolution of Europe