TDCC-NES Project initiatives
At the moment there are some project initiatives in Bottleneck projects 1, 2, 3 and 4 which could result in projects to be submitted under the TDCC bottleneck projects. If you are interested in one of these projects, or would like to join the initiatives please contact the TDCC-NES through firstname.lastname@example.org (Community Coordinator). Please also contact us when you want to launch a new initiative.
Bottleneck 1: Community building
Project: The CAFE (Code Along, Feel Empowered) method
Building and sustaining a network of inclusive programming communities for researchers
Modern research in the NES domain increasingly requires the practical ability of researchers to write and share code. In fact, the “need for improvement of computational reproducibility practices” is identified as one of the key challenges for the domain in the TDCC NES Roadmap. While there are plenty of free resources available to learn coding basics, it can be difficult to effectively implement these skills.
Organizers of local programming learning communities at TU Delft, Utrecht University, VU Amsterdam, and Leiden University have successfully created accessible and inclusive spaces to connect and support researchers. They regularly organize presentations and practical sessions on best coding practices with topics relevant to the NES disciplines. (e.g. Geospatial Data Analysis with R).
With support from TDCC-NES they plan to join forces to grow a national network of Programming Cafés using the CAFE (Code Along, Feel Empowered) method. A common platform would enable exchange of experiences and original resources (i.e. the CAFE Playbook) to facilitate the creation and sustainability of new Programming Cafés. This platform would aim to engage NES researchers across the Netherlands in community learning about coding.
Interested? Join the CAFÉ method project initiative meeting, contribute with your ideas and take part in co-writing the project proposal.
The meeting will take place online, on September 7 2023, from 11:00 to 12:30. To join, please get in touch with TDCC-NES Community Coordinator through email@example.com.
Bottleneck 2: Training hub
Project: Data Academy
Data Academy will be a training and knowledge exchange hub, focusing on data management and software within Natural and Engineering Sciences, with a hands-on approach to highlighting interoperability and FAIR workflows.
As a collaboration among multiple institutions and universities in the Netherlands, it will develop discipline-specific knowledge through structured courses, workshops, and training, as well as collect it and make it accessible through an online platform. The structure of the academy will encourage knowledge retention and foster long-lasting collaboration among researchers from different fields and universities.
The project envisions a pilot fellowship program as an agile start aimed at testing the training system and collecting feedback from participants regarding topics and disciplines. The pilot would consist of a series of workshops and collaborative activities focused on interoperability and reuse of data and software, targeting researchers and open to RDM specialists and research support staff.
If you wish to contribute to developing/writing the project proposal, please get in touch with TDCC-NES Community Coordinator through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bottleneck 3: Sustainable software
Project: Enabling Best Practices for Sustainable Software in the Natural & Engineering Sciences
Research software, encompassing scripts, code, tools, and digital methodologies, is crucial to academic research, particularly in the Natural Sciences & Engineering (NES) domain. Despite its importance, attention for software sustainability – encompassing software management, software quality, FAIR software, and software preservation – often remains limited. Ensuring sustainable software practices is crucial for the reusability and long-term viability of research software, as well as its impact on research.
This project aims to address several main aspects of software sustainability to actively support the research community within the NES domain. By providing domain-relevant guidelines, tools, infrastructure, and training, the project seeks to support awareness and uptake of best practices during the entire software life cycle. This will be achieved through collaboration with researchers from different disciplines in the domain, as well as RSEs, research support staff, and local Digital Competence Centers (DCCs).
The project focuses on 4 main goals:
- Develop guidance on sustainable software for the NES domain. The expected outcome includes a comprehensive document that directs users to relevant existing guidance, learning resources, and practical examples specific to the NES community.
- Provide tools to facilitate application of the guidance. These tools are intended to include research software templates based on best practices and a testing tool to evaluate the compliance of research software with the guidance.
- Improve and integrate digital infrastructure for sustainable software. The project aims to boost the visibility, findability, and reusability of research software and promote its recognition as a valuable research output.
- Facilitate training, community building, and dissemination, through activities such as train-the-trainer workshops, updating existing training materials, community-based consultation via “Bring your own code” sessions, etc.
Project: Financial aspects of Sustainable Software
Due to the important and complex role finance plays in sustainable software development, this project aims to make a thorough cost benefit and risk analysis across the national landscape. Through this analysis we aim to identify hidden costs and hidden benefits, consequences of bad software management, costs of long term sustainability of research software and the bottlenecks in the financial policies of research institutions towards enabling sustainable software. The collected evidence will be delivered to policy makers, funding agencies and to the scientific community, including a list of proposed policy changes towards improving the financial health of academic software sustenance.
Bottleneck 4: Metadata & Vocabularies
In 2018, the Industrial Design department at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) has implemented Data Foundry, a platform designed and developed by Dr. Mathias Funk. Data Foundry allows researchers and students to collect, store, process and export data from remote devices in real-time, whilst supporting qualitative data collection, participant management, scripting and data visualisation. Since its implementation, Data Foundry has been integrated in many design projects and courses, enabling new forms of design education that relies on contextual data collection, data modeling, and decentralized connected design artefacts. Data Foundry currently supports more than 1000 design projects with over 2000 datasets and 50 million data items.
The main goal of the ODeDaI project is to transition the Data Foundry platform to a sustainable open-source development platform and to allow for more customization in how institutions can collect design data. Other universities and institutions should be able to run Data Foundry per institution or as a joint infrastructure, while benefiting from structural compatibility, continuous development and shared practices