Building the TDCC NES community

Author: Joanne Yeomans

Do you know what the TDCCs are all about?

In September 2022, the Thematic Digital Competency Centre for the Natural and Engineering Sciences (TDCC-NES) was kicked off by Jacquelijn Ringersma and during spring 2023, she handed over the day-to-day running of TDCC NES to Mira and me, the full-time staff members. Since this kick-off, we’ve been communicating the purpose of the TDCC-NES, and the opportunities it offers, to researchers and research support staff across the country, in person and during online meetings. 

One of the main tasks of the TDCC is to build community in the NES domain so that challenges that extend beyond the institution (or even the country) can be identified, and solved or addressed together. 

Some of these challenges were described in the road map, which is guiding the initial activities and projects of TDCC-NES. They include working towards FAIR and sustainable research data and software, finding long-term archiving solutions, and changing the way researchers access and use data, especially big data sets. To reach these goals, we need to stimulate cross-domain collaborations, advocate for increased human capital, and take advantage of international initiatives and solutions.

Two members of staff, of course, cannot work on all these challenges for the NES domain by themselves. The TDCC is intended to be a network organisation, and Mira’s and my job is to bring together community members, to stimulate discussion, and to help put together project plans (with funding) to work towards solutions which can then be shared with the wider community.

As a means to start building this community, Jacquelijn set off on a road tour that Mira and I have been completing, to meet and introduce ourselves to our stakeholders, and to learn about the priorities and challenges being faced at an institutional level. Beginning in Wageningen in December 2022, and completing in Nijmegen later this year, we aim to visit all the Dutch universities and most of the NWO Institutes, where NES research is carried out. 

We visited 10 universities and 3 NWO institutes and are planning a visit to Radboud University in October

So far, these have just been introductory meetings, mostly facilitated by the local Digital Competency Centre staff at each location, but our engagement continues and we plan to continue with online and in-person meetings, events, and visits during 2024 to support the development of a governance framework for the TDCC-NES and to kick-start and promote projects.

We’re keen to hear where your strengths and interests lie, and to discuss with you how you can contribute, or be involved.

Things change rapidly, and we’ll try to keep you updated on new initiatives. Keep an eye on our web pages for project ideas that are still in development and for opportunities to participate in project formation discussions. Once projects get going, there’ll be regular updates for the community on their progress, and any outputs produced.

As always, if you have an idea for a project that would address the TDCC-NES challenges, get in touch to discuss it with us and we’ll try to help build it into a project idea.

If you would like to get to know us, or would like us to get to know you, get in touch. We can plan a meeting to talk about the challenges you’d like to work on, or let you know more about opportunities to get involved. 

We want to hear from you!