Mapping federation journeys for optimising the UK digital research infrastructure

Prepared for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Mapping federation journeys for optimising the UK digital research infrastructure report front cover

The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) digital research infrastructure committee (DRIC) aims to understand the potential for a ‘federated’ approach to the UK’s digital research infrastructure (DRI): what it might offer, what the scope and extent may be and how it might be defined and progressed to support the DRI’s continued efficiency, sustainability, and innovation.

The UKRI DRIC engaged Jisc to support the development of outline federation journeys for the UK’s DRI. The aim was to focus on the potential opportunities for expanded approaches for optimising the use, sharing, efficiency and sustainability of DRI from the perspectives of expert research stakeholders from across the UK.

The report brings together perspectives on how federation might be defined, examples of federated approaches in practice or in development, and approaches that may be offered more widely, while ensuring that transforming one part does not disadvantage another part of an already complex but well-functioning system.

The project has developed a set of draft principles for investment and an outline federation roadmap approach for UKRI’s consideration in terms of guiding the immediate, medium and longer term.


We interviewed leaders and experts from across the research infrastructure and funder landscape and identified seven themes:

  • Scoping, commissioning and funding
  • Software, hardware and platforms
  • People, culture and skills
  • Trusted and secure research
  • Data and output management and workflows
  • Sustainability, service and capacity
  • Emerging disciplines and technologies


The report found that:

  • The potential to transform the UK’s digital research infrastructure to be more collaborative and federated offers an opportunity akin to the emergence of open science initiatives over 20 years ago.
  • The UK research policy landscape continues to change at pace, with a focus on ensuring there is public and economic benefit from research and innovation through strategic investment in advanced technologies, with research security as a key focus. Digital research infrastructure plays a vital role in supporting inclusive and collaborative research and innovation systems across the UK and internationally.
  • DRI underpins workflow efficiency and the innovation that helps researchers develop excellent research. It supports the UK research sector to remain resilient, sustainable, inclusive, and collaborative.
  • Reducing research bureaucracy, supporting international collaboration and net zero policies are all increasingly critical imperatives.

Read the full report

Download the report (pdf)

About the authors

Victoria Moody headshot
Victoria Moody
Director, higher education and research

I focus on the design and delivery and implementation of Jisc’s higher education and research strategic themes, supporting Jisc to deliver a sustainable support and services across higher education and research supported by diverse revenue streams and partnerships. My role involves senior engagement across Jisc, and with higher education, research and professional leaders in the UK and internationally. I’m also co-investigator and deputy director of the UK Data Service.

Martin Hamilton