News from the 3rd meeting of the TDCC-NES Governing Board

The Governing Board of the Thematic DCC for the Natural and Engineering Sciences (TDCC-NES) rounds off its summer meeting with news of new project ideas, plans for evaluation that will prepare the community for the next project funding call, and a vision for national ontology development for the NES domain. 

The Governing Board hosted a day of meetings on June 11th in Utrecht, starting with a successful project initiative meeting in the morning, its own formal board meeting in the afternoon, and finally an open project presentation at the end of the day with informal drinks and discussion. 

New projects in development

Two new project ideas (both relating to NES domain training) submitted during the 2nd submission cycle were passed for development. Keep an eye on the challenge projects page where more details will be shared soon. With these, we now have four project ideas in active development and expect them each to submit a request for funding before November.

There is one more submission cycle for the current call with a deadline of 15 September, but the ideas should already be in an advanced stage of planning due to the short development time available. If you have such an idea, please get in touch with the TDCC-NES staff to discuss and prepare the necessary documentation.

We expect the funded projects to start in 2025.

Evaluation and next TDCC project call plans

The format of the TDCC challenge project call was novel, and with this first call well underway, the TDCC staff and NWO programme officers have reflected on how the call has gone in preparation for the second round of funding. No major changes are foreseen, but small improvements are planned to attempt to make the call more accessible, and the three TDCCs are invited to issue an addendum to the domain roadmap if required, to focus or expand the scope of the projects that might be funded. This would give the TDCC-NES Governing Board much more scope to encourage new ideas, and projects that either address gaps or focus on areas regarded as higher priorities. 

In order to gather input for the new call, the TDCC-NES staff will carry out some evaluation in coming months. This will focus on the capacity and interest to work on projects, the process itself, and on helping to identify specific project topics that would bring most benefit to the community. This might be followed up with in-person discussion and exploration of topics in early 2025 and would guide the development of projects for the 2025-2026 call period.

The current proposal from NWO (to be confirmed) is to open the new call from spring 2025 to spring 2026, so that the TDCC-NES community has a full year to develop new project ideas.

Plans for national ontology development in the NES domain

Aside from the development and encouragement of community projects, members of the Governing Board of the TDCC-NES have been busy preparing an application for funding to appoint two ontology engineers to the TDCC-NES office. If approved, this new expert team would be appointed in 2025 to work across the country and across the natural and engineering sciences domain (also internationally) on collaborative projects. The Governing Board will work out a framework for appointing the engineers to such projects, and are interested to hear from anyone who might be interested in working with the new team. 

The application responds to the recent OS-NL call aiming to strengthen the capacity of thematic digital competence centres (DCCs) in the area of research data interoperability by investing in expertise. 

If you're not familiar with ontologies, or what they can do for research, this recent white paper published by our colleagues in NFDI4Cat over in Germany, can give a really good insight into what it means in practice: "Ontology-based data management and interoperability". 

If the funding request is successful, we expect the vacancies to be announced in early 2025; the staff will be hosted at TU Delft.

News from funded projects and projects in development

After the Board meeting, progress reports were presented by the three funded TDCC-NES projects and the two ideas approved at the previous Board meeting:

Funded projects:

Project proposals in development:

  • Enabling cloud native data access and processing to facilitate modern research in the NES domain: Serkan Girgin, project proposal submitter.
    Update: proposal moving forward with input from potential project participants. Get in touch with Serkan if you have data, or would like to know more.
  • FAIR data for chemistry - unifying and managing chemical dataflows (FAIR4ChemNL): Update presented by Mira Stanic, Community Coordinator, on behalf of Evgeny Pidko, project proposal submitter.
    Update: proposal moving forward with input from participants at the recent workshop

Keep an eye on our newsletter for further information about project meetings and opportunities to give input.

Governing Board meetings past and future

You can read a public summary of the third TDCC-NES Governing Board meeting to get further details of the points discussed in June. 

The TDCC-NES Governing Board, its meetings, and composition are described on our governance web pages

The next Governing Board meeting will be on 1st October 2024. If your organisation is not represented, and you would like it to be, or your organisation needs to make a change of nominee, please contact the Network Manager, Joanne Yeomans.