Thematic DCCs will strengthen digital competences in three science domains
The formation of three science-wide Digital Competence Centres has started. As a first step, the Governing Board of NWO has agreed to allocate a total of 4.5 million euros for the appointment of network coordinators. They will strengthen data intensive research together with experts and infrastructures within their research domain.
There will be three thematic DCC networks, bringing together scientists in three ‘domains’: Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH), Life Sciences & Health (LSH) and Natural and Engineering Sciences (NES); analogous to the National Roadmap Large-Scale Scientific Infrastructure. With this allocation, network coordinators can be appointed. They will ensure that the thematic DCCs actually get started by bringing together experts, stimulating cooperation and by commencing projects based on the Roadmap plans: each thematic DCC has developed a Roadmap together with their respective research field. The coordinators will be accommodated at DANS (SSH), DTL Health-RI (LSH) and 4TU.ResearchData (NES), and will be backed by governance boards with broad representation from the field.
The thematic DCCs will support researchers who will work together on specific domain projects across the boundaries of their own institution. They will collaborate closely with the 22 local DCCs that provide support to researchers within a specific institution, and that have already received a boost from NWO in 2020. The thematic DCCs will work within their domain on improving digital research competences for exchangeable, accessible and reusable data and software. The grant is intended for a period of five years and can be extended for another five years. An initial evaluation of the three thematic DCCs will follow in two years’ time.
IT infrastructure Implementation plan
The establishment of thematic DCCs is part of the Implementation Plan Investments Digital Research Infrastructure. This plan describes investments in computing facilities and digitisation made by NWO on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. In addition to the call for local DCCs, which has already been concluded, investments will be made in eScience via the eScience Center, the arrival of the new Snellius supercomputer and the ‘Computing Time for National Computer Systems’ call. The plan is supervised by the IT subcommittee of the Permanent Commission for Large-Scale Scientific Infrastructure. This committee advises NWO and the Minister of Education, Culture and Science on strengthening the digital infrastructure through this programme.
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