Blog by Josep Maria Salanova Grau, Hellas Centre for Research and Technology Hellas - RDA Europe Early Career Programme Winner.
The participation to the 6th RDA plenary meeting was an amazing experience from various aspects. From the technical point of view I followed various presentations talking about science fields and domains totally unknown to me. From the social point of view it was great to be part of a huge research community during the duration of the plenary meeting as well as to take part in group and bilateral discussions about research data. The event itself was well organized even if there were a lot of parallel sessions and events, which normally makes it difficult to participate and follow the session of your interest. In addition, the city and the location were great, including the tour/dinner on the river and the night visit to the museum. The ambient was also great, people were really friendly and willing to discuss and establish collaboration opportunities, even if they were from different science domains and with different technical backgrounds. The inclusion of expositors was also a good idea, both with the one-minute presentations and with the demo-stands, which gave us the opportunity to talk to them directly and interchange business cards as well as see small demonstrations on really innovative products. The structure of the RDA is quite clear and straightforward (I followed the session about the RDA, which helped me to have a better understanding on how everything works there). Regarding the sessions, there was quite a lot variety of scientific and technical issues, so I was always able to find an interesting session to follow. The participation of the people made possible interesting discussions in most of the session that I followed, always trying to end up in solutions to their problems or in the next steps to follow.
The first day was quite interesting, I participated to the Research Data Infrastructure for Environmental related Societal Challenges session, were various presentation on three basic issues (agroresearch, earth observations and climate) were presented and discussed. I’m not related to these domains, but I was able to follow the discussions and I found very interesting some of the presentations. Even I was not able to participate to the other sessions of the first day, the short sum up presentations gave us an idea of what was discussed, which was also positive.
During the rest of the days I participated to the session of the WG and IG assigned to me, as well as to the related joint sessions. I really liked both groups, quite near to my expertise and fields of interests. I’m really willing to participate in the IG I followed and try to include discussion about transport research data (which is my field of expertise) in the group and in general in the RDA. I understood that the work is done in a continuous way, having the physical meetings each 6 months and having a follow up between the plenary sessions through phone conference calls and offline mail discussions. It is really nice to see that most of the work (if not all) is done on a voluntary basis, which increases even more its value. I saw passion in most of the participants with the issues they were discussing.
It was nice to have a poster there, so I was able to show my work, but I understood that my poster was related to a concrete use of data while most posters were related to how to discover data, access data and similar issues.
The social activities were great, I met interesting people there and I can say that I made a few friends. I have some follow up actions both at professional and personal level after the plenary meeting, and I would like to become part of the RDA and try to introduce the transport sector, which have very interesting issues and research data sets to be shared and analyzed.
In conclusion, it was a great experience at all levels, and I fell very grateful to the organization for providing the opportunity to early scientists/researchers to participate and be part of this.