In innovation, the right instrument is needed for the right question – and not just the right type of instrument, but also the right quality of instrument. While this may seem an obvious observation, many analytical scientists are somewhat bound to a specific (set of) instrument(s). The more comprehensive the research question, the more comprehensive - and often expensive – the instrumentation required. The Netherlands – COAST participants in particular – already harbors most high-end and/or experimental equipment that any ambitious analytical scientist might need. The overall quality and effectiveness of analytical research and hence innovation in the Netherlands will be increased by making this wealth of superior equipment available to scientists beyond the borders of the organization that owns it.
Analytical instruments – and in particular the aforementioned advanced and expensive ones - generate large amounts of data that need to be stored and processed, all of which is now done digitally. Processing and interpreting data requires sophisticated and powerful software that is able to handle very large data sets and perform complicated data analysis such as multivariate statistics.
The growing amount of data and the increasing intelligence required to combine data – partly as a result of the efforts in COAST– will push the boundaries of current infrastructure. The top quality science that will be conducted in the COAST R&D program will require (increased) use of the most advanced instruments, which are costly to acquire, operate and maintain.
To address these challenges, the COAST Infrastructure program focuses on two lines:
- Instrumentation sharing: making high-end analytical equipment available to other COAST participants and for educational purposes;
- Data processing: increasing the computational power and data storage capacity available for analytical science applications