CERN winner of the Procura+ Awards 2019


The Helix Nebula Science Cloud (HNSciCloud) hybrid cloud platform links together commercial cloud service providers and publicly funded research organisations’ in-house IT resources via the GEANT network to provide innovative solutions supporting data intensive science.


HNSciCloud has developed and piloted a hybrid cloud platform in order to meet the growing requirements of 10 leading European research centres with applications and datasets successfully deployed from astronomy, high energy physics, life sciences and photon/neutron sciences. These innovative services support the connection of the research infrastructures identified in the ESFRI Roadmap to the nascent European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) intended to create a single digital research space for Europe’s 1.8 million researchers. The published lessons learned are important for all scientific disciplines across Europe that are considering moving some or all of their research computing provision into the Cloud.



The EOSC initiative launched by the EC in November 2018 is potentially the greatest opportunity to stimulate and aggregate the demand from the science community for commercial cloud resources.

The HNSciCloud report, Integrating commercial cloud services into the European Open Science Cloud, explains how commercial cloud services can be integrated into the EOSC.

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The OCRE project provides the main near-term procurement opportunity for the public research and education sector to exploit the results of HNSciCloud in the context of EOSC.







The experience gathered and lessons learned from using the Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) instrument are being applied in the execution of the ARCHIVER project.


About the HNSciCloud Pre-Commercial Procurement

The Helix Nebula – the Science Cloud is a €5.3 million Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) tender for the establishment of a European hybrid cloud platform to support the deployment of high-performance computing and big-data capabilities for scientific research.

It covered the procurement of R&D services for the design, prototype development and pilot use of innovative cloud services. The tender wss operated as a competitive development with contracts in each phase (design, prototype, pilot) being awarded to multiple contractors using Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT) criterion. The innovative cloud services provided through the platform were designed and implemented to address a set of challenges that require a combination of services at the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) level:

  • Compute and Storage – support a range of virtual machines and container configurations working with datasets in the petabyte range;
  • Network Connectivity and Federated Identity Management – provide high-end network capacity for the whole platform with common identity and access management;
  • Service Payment Models - explore a range of purchasing options to determine the most appropriate ones for the scientific application workloads that will be deployed.

The procured cloud services were integrated with the procurers’ in-house resources and publicly funded e-Infrastructures to provide a hybrid platform for end-users from a wide range of scientific fields (See the HNSciCloud User Groups).

Facts about HNSciCloud


HNSciCloud results part of the Copernicus MOOC
News - 19 Jun 2020
On 28 May 2020 HNSciCloud Pre-Commercial Procurement results and lessons learned have been presented during the Copernicus MOOC module on collaboration/procurement.
CERN winner of the Procura+ Awards 2019
News - 25 Sep 2019
CERN got the the ‘Outstanding Innovation in ICT Procurement’ prize thanks to its open cloud data storage innovation through pre-commercial procurement as a result of the Helix Nebula Science Cloud...
CERN shortlisted in the Innovation Procurement of the Year" by the Procura+ Awards 2019
News - 02 Jul 2019
CERN, as leader of the HNSciCloud initiative, has been shortlisted for the 2019 Procura+ Award as "Innovation Procurement of the Year", in the sub-category "Outstanding Innovation Procurement in ICT...

PICSE Wizard facilitating cloud procurement for public research organisations

PICSE Wizard ( Cloud service procurement made easy!
Are you a Procurement official, IT manager or procurement initiator? Then, complete the PICSE wizard easy-to-use services to help you make informed decisions about how to procure cloud services. The PICSE Wizard is a web-based application that public research organisations can use to obtain guidelines on the most suitable model for procuring cloud services, to make a self-assessment and evaluate their procurement procedures. Each checklist comes with a set of recommendations & tips.



Who's behind HNSciCloud?

HNSciCloud Pre-Commercial Procurement is driven by ten leading research organisations from across Europe.