Isabelle Perseil

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30 Aug 2021

Isabelle Perseil

Isabelle Perseil is a PhD and a computer engineer, has taught UML at Ecole Centrale de Paris for 15 years.

She is currently in charge of R&D activities in scientific computing at INSERM, the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research. This consists of identifying technological innovations in scientific computing, with respect to the needs of almost 300 research units with different disciplines (1200 research teams in all), experimenting these innovations through research projects (national and European), and supporting and disseminating the knowledge acquired and experimented, through seminars, teaching and documents.

Previously, Isabelle Perseil coordinated the scientific informatics of INSERM (cell created following the establishment of the new information systems master plan, implemented by Isabelle in 2012). The fields of scientific computing are essentially research data management, Big data, data analysis and in particular Machine Learning and data mining, parallel and distributed computing, high performance computing, Grid computing, Cloud Computing, for all INSERM's scientific fields (essentially public health, epidemiology, genomics, genetics and bioinformatics, medical imaging and technologies for health such as embedded computing).

Isabelle Perseil has been involved in all the components of open science, both at the level of strategy (RDA master plan, European programs) and its many components (applications put into practice in RDA working groups). At the national level in France, she is a member of the international network of experts on Open Science, and has also co-piloted the “College of research data”. She is an active member of the French RDA-France node and leads the "health data and medical research" group. At a European level, she is co-leader of a Work-Package of the EOSC-Life project. At an international level, Isabelle was elected to the RDA Technical Advisory Board in 2019 and became Co-chair of TAB in 2020. She has participated in many workshops of EUDAT, GOFAIR, FAIRsFAIR and CODATA.

Her main interests are the development of FAIR and provenance services on the European EOSC cloud, the security and privacy of medical data, the preservation of privacy of medical data during their analysis (deep learning). More recently, Isabelle is particularly interested in the opening of genomic data related to covid-19, their traceability and reuse. Isabelle's main motivation for her involvement in open science is the paradigm shift in science that allows for more transparency and reuse of results and especially more sharing and co-construction. Isabelle particularly appreciates the spirit of sharing that animates the whole RDA community and is looking forward to contributing to the coordination and smooth running of the working and interest groups.

What is your history with the RDA and what impact has it had on you?

I developed a particular interest in RDA from the moment I was given the responsibility of the Scientific Informatics Coordination of INSERM, that is to say practically when RDA was created in 2013. I assigned someone from my team to follow the activity of several groups and if possible to contribute to them (we were starting our activity). The reason is that I always thought that we should first look around as widely as possible (here in the whole world) before undertaking big projects, especially in research data management. Then, little by little, I got personally involved, especially in the working groups on health data. Each group is connected to other groups, and from one to the other, we can quickly have a sort of thematic mapping of the RDA. With my eclectic (and jack-of-all-trades) mind, I have taken an interest in just about every group and obviously the outputs and recommendations. I have a high regard for the organization and processes that contribute to the quality of these outputs, which make them shared by the whole world. Running for the TAB was an obvious choice and I am grateful every day to the members who elected me. It allowed me to have a global view and a transversal look on the activities.

From a personal activity point of view, I would say that having the opportunity to contribute to the EOSC and RDA efforts in parallel is almost a necessity, it has greatly facilitated the progress of my work.


What do you feel you bring to the TAB and what is your experience so far in being a member?

Given my strong taste for coordination (of groups, services, scientific committees, publications), I thought I could be very useful on this board, especially due to my technical experience (more than 30 years) on topics of interest to RDA. I am a passionate person, I am a humanist and I like people, in their great diversity, which makes me happy to be able to co-chair TAB with Rob. We have a complementarity of gender, geography, and culture, which makes the animation less monotonous, I hope! The human aspect is obviously as important as the technical aspect. I have learned a lot from the members of TAB, old and new, and on my side, transmitting my irreducible optimism has always been a challenge. For example, I don't despair of returning to the F2F plenary sessions! These are great global exchanges.