The General Coordinator of the FCCN Unit of the Foundation for Science and Technology, João Nuno Ferreira, reviews 2022 and looks towards the new year with confidence.
Even though the epidemiological situation caused by the pandemic has registered, in the second half of 2022, a positive evolution, the challenges for the FCCN have not ceased to be varied and demanding.
The FCCN Unit continued with its mission and continued to offer a transversal response and improvements in support services to the different user communities.
The Academic Network has proven in previous years to be a resilient and responsive infrastructure to special circumstances. However, the need for reinforcement had already been identified previously, framing a goal of making the network more scalable, both in terms of transmission capacity and in increasing redundancy and resilience to failures.
The network has a very broad coverage. In the Portuguese case, we support not only the Portuguese higher education system (namely the public sector) and the national science and technology system, but also the organic units of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education and the connectivity of schools and organic units of the Ministry of Education. Thus, not only communities of a more administrative nature, linked to these ministries, but also entities such as the non-higher education community and, more closely and with more services, the higher education and science and technology system are covered.
With a total investment of 17 million euros, 13 of which came from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the initiative to strengthen the RCTS - RCTS100 Project - was central during 2022, the year in which, due to the pandemic, it was scheduled to be completed.
The thematic objective then inscribed in the project was simple and illustrative of its importance: "Strengthen research, technological development, and innovation" and over the past five years, RCTS100 has expanded the optical fiber infrastructure of the national education and research network and ensured a technological upgrade, with repercussions throughout the country.
The FCCN unit has been on a path to also make computing, collaborative, security, and knowledge services centrally available.
As for the computing pillar, through public tenders, more than 250 projects were awarded resources for research on supercomputers, and the RNCA saw the 1st artificial intelligence tender supported by Google approve 11 candidate projects.
In June, the researchers awarded with resources in the Google Cloud Platform met for an informal conversation on Artificial Intelligence and discussed the latest scientific advances in the area and the future of artificial intelligence in Portugal and in the world. The Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Elvira Fortunato, and the Vice President for Artificial Intelligence at Google, Fernando Pereira, renewed the collaboration between FCT and Google, reinforcing its importance for technological advancement in Portuguese soil.
2022 was also a landmark year for one of the digital preservation services of the FCCN Unit. Arquivo.pt saw 3 more original and innovative works demonstrate the usefulness of the service, as well as the importance of preserving and using information published on the web.
The Arquivo.pt Prize awarded the project "Arquivo do Parlamento " - a Web application that aggregates news and opinion articles extracted from Arquivo.pt based on Parliament's open data.pt, the 2nd prize went to a work that developed a methodology for the automatic classification of articles stigmatizing mental illness, present in Portuguese online news newspapers, through Artificial Intelligence - "Automatic classification of articles stigmatizing mental illness" and 3rd prize was awarded to the work "Public Archive" - a Web application focused on the contents published on the website of the Público newspaper over time and preserved by Arquivo.pt.
Arquivo.pt was also considered the best digital service of 2022 according to Exame Informática, receiving the award "Os Melhores & As Maiores do Portugal Tecnológico".
NAU was also awarded the ISCTE Public Policies 2022 Prize, in the Central Public Administration category, a distinction that recognizes the role that this platform, pioneer at a national level, has played for more than three years in online education and training.
Already consolidated services such as eduroam, Colibri, b-On, RCAAP, RCTSCERT, all show growth results. Educast inaugurated the new aspect of the portal and counted more 5 thousand more educational videos to integrate the collection of contents, more than 11 600 new CVs were registered in CIÊNCIAVITAE.
We move forward to 2023 convinced that we will continue to develop our services and strengthen the technologies that accelerate knowledge.
For more information on how our services can help you, simply visit www.fccn.pt or contact our specialized teams.