Connections at CoRDI for data stewardship, training, and for TDCC-LSH (Life Sciences & Health)

Author: Celia van Gelder, Network Manager TDCC-LSH and Training Programme Manager Health-RI/DTL/ELIXIR-NL

In March 2023,  I received the invitation to become co-chair of the Spreading RDM Track (the Training & Education track)  at the CoRDI 2023 conference. I happily accepted, and participating in this conference gave me the possibility to connect to our German colleagues with both my hats on (Health-RI/ELIXIR-NL Training Programme Manager and TDCC-LSH Network Manager). Aligning with colleagues and their organisations outside the Netherlands is an important aspect of both the TDCC-LSH roadmap as well as the Health-RI International Strategy.  For many of the challenges we face we can benefit from international collaborations, where we share experiences and best practices and where possible move forward together.  Below you can find a selection of my CoRDI2023 highlights.

Data Stewardship and training @NFDI

Several of the NFDI consortia are installing data steward groups in their consortium, mainly consisting of domain specific data stewards.  Examples are the FAIRagro Data Steward Service Center and NFDI4Biodiversity. In contrast, when NFDI4Health started they did actually not include enough activities related to data stewardship, but they indicated that they will include this in the second round of NFDI4Health funding. In addition NFDI4Health is building a training programme, which aims to build the next generation of data savvy biomedical researchers.

In the NFDI Section EduTrain all NFDI consortia are working together and aim to open the path to cross-disciplinary sustainability of research data management. One of their projects, DALIA (Knowledge-Base for FAIR data usage and supply) not only creates technical bridges between NFDI consortia but also an evolving approach that contributes to transdisciplinary community building in the long term. By harmonising, networking and making visible teaching and learning materials for the development and promotion of data literacy, the project makes an important contribution to education, training and cultural change. A first version of an ontology for education materials in RDM and data science (moDALIA) was presented on a poster.

Data stewardship at Universities of Applied Sciences

In Germany, as well as in NL, a lot of work is being done related to Data stewardship and RDM in the Universities of Applied Sciences. In the work done for 14 UAS in the region Rhineland-Palatinate it became clear that only 25% of the surveyed people at the UAS had heard about the FAIR principles and 63% does not know what a DMP is. Another project, the project “Development and Dissemination of Research Data Management at Universities of Applied Sciences” (EVER_FDM) aims to close the knowledge gap about the state of research data management at Universities of Applied Sciences in Germany via a large survey and interview study. The poster highlights the main findings of the EVER_FDM study, with special regards to solutions and infrastructures.
My German colleagues were not really aware of the work that is going on in NL on data stewardship competences, training and job profiles in the UAS in NL and in the DCC-PO so this opens up nice opportunities for making the connection.

Training & Education in RDM: towards domain-specific training 

As co-chair of the Spreading RDM track, which took place on September 14,  I got the opportunity to see all the submissions for this theme and we assembled an excellent selection of 8 talks, spread over 2 sessions ( Programme).  The first session was more focussed on RDM training in different types of organisations (a.o. Libraries and university of applied sciences) while the second session was more focussed on RDM training in different subdiscplines of science (life sciences, chemistry, biomedical sciences and social sciences).

What becomes evident from several of the talks and also from further discussions with conference participants is that the current focus for setting up training activities for RDM is often on the domain specific training. Advanced courses are being set up within several subdisciplines and in many cases they are discipline specific modules in an overarching, more generic course. One examples that was given was the RDM curriculum that is being developed at the University Library of Duisburg-Essen This parallels quite nicely the needs and the developments in the Netherlands. 

European (infrastructure) projects and their outputs: ELIXIR

From a life sciences perspective I presented the work we did with all the ELIXIR countries (Nodes) in the  ELIXIR-CONVERGE Training & Capacity Building Work Package in the period 2020-2023 (slides). We have together built and delivered > 150 courses, but in addition we have produced a video for PIs about the why of data management  (Youtube),  we worked on making our outputs FAIR, and also have developed a learning paths for RDM. In the lifetime of the project we have also established a strong RDM trainer network, with members from both within and outside ELIXIR.

Screen shots from the 5 minute Youtube video “The Why of data management” for PIs, created by the ELIXIR-CONVERGE project members (

There were also presentations and posters about several resources where ELIXIR members are heavily involved:

  • RDMkit: The Research Data Management Toolkit for Life Sciences  (
  • The EOSC-Life workflow collaboratory for the life sciences.  The EOSC-Life Research Infrastructure Cluster project brought together Europe’s Life Science Research Infrastructures to create an Open, Digital and Collaborative space for biological and medical research to develop a cloud-based Workflow Collaboratory. As adopting FAIR practices extends beyond data, the Workflow Collaboratory drives the implementation of FAIR computational workflows and tools. The Workflow Collaboratory is already used by for example UNLOCK, HDR-UK, EOSC4Cancer and IBISBA
  • The Galaxy Training Network (GTN) and a Training Infrastructure as a Service (TIaaS) (abstract, slides). The tutorials as well as the training environment that GTN offers to trainers worldwide is amazing and I invite all trainers to take a look at the possibilities.  

EOSC projects and their outputs

Two posters highlighted the work that is going on in EOSC projects and from which the outputs will benefit the community:

In summary, diving three days in the wonderful world of NFDI and our German colleagues was a real pleasure. Many experiences have been shared and new connections to explore future collaborations have been set up.

If you’re interested in the CoRDI conference from the perspective of the TDCC NES (Natural and Engineering Sciences), then take a look at Joanne Yeomans’ recent blog post “Connections at CoRDI for TDCC NES (Natural & Engineering Sciences)”.