European Commission awards €1.7m for datacentre research

EC funds a datacentre study project led by industry consortium Data Centre Alliance and the University of East London

The European Commission (EC) has awarded a €1.7m research grant to an eighteen-month datacentre research and development project.

The EC-funded research project will be the sector’s first government-funded research programme.

The project, called the pan-European Data Centre Alliance (PEDCA), is led by industry consortium the Data Centre Alliance (DCA), the University of East London (UEL) and a European consortium of academics, regional governments and service providers.

The EC project will provide a pan-European “academy” to devise and implement a joint action plan for the datacentre industry in all EU member states.  

The datacentre study and development programme will:

  • Take advantage of the skills and expertise of service providers in EU datacentre hotspots which include the UK, Germany and the Netherlands and roll it further to the rest of the 27 EU member states;
  • Identify and validate the ongoing research requirements for the datacentre industry to facilitate future research funding;
  • Develop an independent sustainable research platform.

According to the DCA, unlike other major sectors, the datacentre industry has never had the benefit of a government-funded research programme before.

“It seems incredible that a sector as important to the European economy as datacentres  – which every other sector now relies upon for its operations – has never had any independent government-funded research into best practice, sustainability, energy reduction or training needs,” said DCA executive director Simon Campbell-Whyte.

Billed as an open research project offering access to professionals free of charge, the programme will offer benefits to the sector such as developing a framework wider-scale understanding and adoption of best-practices, DCA said.

It will offer best practice guidelines for some of the datacentre sector’s biggest worries, including energy efficiency, power savings and preventing major infrastructure outages.

The project will also deepen the collaboration between the industry and academia. It is intended to increase the industry’s collective knowledge and influence.

PEDCA represents the “coming of age” for the datacentre industry and help it become better-funded, more sustainable, more energy-efficient and having the tools and support that other critical industries enjoy, said Campbell-Whyte.

“It is strategically important for the future sustainability and health of the industry,” he added.

Other participants of the programme include the universities of Leeds, Frankfurt and Delft; development agencies such as London & Partners and Frankfurt Economic Development Agency; and research associations such as Green IT and the Twente Institute.

The European funding follows close on the heels of the UK government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) funding to assist UK datacentres minimise their carbon footprint. The DECC’s £1m funding was won by a consortium led by Cambridge-based datacentre energy monitoring company Alquist and involving Verizon and Schneider Electric.

Previously, the EC has funded energy-efficiency projects such as the green IT project CoolEmAll aiming to help improve the efficiency and sustainability of datacentres.

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