Dr Frankie Stevens is a consultant in eResearch services, specialising in the application of advanced information and communication technologies to the practice of Research. Frankie’s current role is in developing an eResearch strategy for Southern Cross University, a dynamic Australian university with a vibrant and innovative research program that focuses on issues that are both regionally relevant and globally significant. Frankie has held roles with the Australian Research and Education Network, the Australian Research Data Commons, the NSW state body for eResearch, the Research Data Storage Infrastructure (RDSI) Project and was eResearch Programme Manager at the University of Sydney. Frankie’s activities in the Higher Education Sector have centred on enhancing research through the use of advanced expertise in both Scientific and Information & Communication technologies. Her leadership role in developing strong relationships between research communities, local, state and national eResearch infrastructure initiatives has involved broad awareness raising and promotion of expert capabilities for the Australian Research Sector. Frankie is a member of the national Australian eResearch Organisations (AeRO) Executive Committee and actively participates in local and international conferences and discussions around the discovery, management and re-use of research data, sharing her expertise in these areas. She is a Programme Committee member for the Australasia eResearch Conference. Frankie holds a PhD in Molecular Oncology from the University of Manchester, and a Bachelor of Science (Honours), majoring in Biology with European Studies from the University of Sussex. Frankie is also a published academic, and also holds a number of Project and Programme Management professional qualifications. Frankie is serving as a member of the RDA Technical Advisory Board since October 2018.
What is your history with the RDA and what impact has it had on you?
Having watched RDA plenaries from afar for some time, I was finally able to physically attend RDA’s 12th plenary in 2018, in Gaborone. What an experience! Gone was the stuffy conference format that I’d been used to, where people only presented the glossy, massaged data that they chose to showcase to others. It was obvious that in RDA, a community existed where members gathered to work on real life data problems, warts and all. Individuals involved in RDA don’t shy away from the difficult challenges, rather embrace them, and work collaboratively to develop globally appropriate solutions for research data. This approach is so refreshing, and I’ve subsequently incorporated joint problem sharing approaches into many of my eResearch activities in Australia. The diversity of opinion that is available through participation in RDA’s global activities is incredibly enriching - at no point are you ever working in a vacuum, which means that you get to a stronger end point which has been considered from a number of different perspectives. With access to RDA’s global network of experts, I’m now more confident that infrastructure solutions I might be involved in are appealing to a wide range of stakeholders, in addition to being globally relevant. Being a member of RDA means that I never have to reinvent the wheel, as there are always experts that are willing to share their insights and prior work - a wonderfull community to be involved in.
What do you feel you bring to the TAB and what is your experience so far in being a member?
I felt incredibly fortunate when I was voted onto the TAB. Participation in the TAB has not only expanded my network of research data experts around the globe, but it has provided me with rich friendships over the years too. I’m happy that I am able to share my expertise at TAB - I have held roles in infrastructure provision at the institutional, state and national level in Australia, in addition to a number of years as an infrastructure user when I was an active molecular oncology researcher. This background gives me a wide perspective on research data challenges, which I am able to share and enable TAB to leverage. Given much of the work of RDA is grass roots, I am happy that my work in RDA is able to support the Working and Interest groups of RDA in developing quality outputs and deliverables, in addition to nurturing strong collaborative and inclusive networks of like minded people to come together. Whilst TAB membership is a voluntary pursuit, I find that TAB participation always gives more than it takes!