CODATA-RDA Schools for Research Data Science: how to achieve financial sustainability and get more people involved in the training sessions?

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26 Jan 2021
Meeting objectives: 
  1. Provide an introduction to the schools and the strategies used for funding the initiative as well as the plans for future instructor training sessions.
  2. Breakout into discussion groups, one discussing strategies for reaching long term financial sustainability, and one for discussing ways to streamline the training for new instructors prepared to run the schools in their home countries. 
  3. Bring breakout groups together to discuss ideas from each group. Ask groups to provide some commitment to be involved in future remote discussions. 
Meeting agenda: 

Collaborative meeting notes:

  • Introduction and Session Format Review (10’)

  • Breakout Sessions (40’)

    • Sustainability

    • Instructor Training

  • How to get involved and discussions summarization? (40’)  

    • 20’ for each breakout group.

Target Audience: 

All of RDA interested in Education and Outreach

Group chair serving as contact person: 
Brief introduction describing the activities and scope of the group: 

The Interest Group works to grow a community of instructors that participate in the Schools for Research Data Science (SRDS) for Early Career Researchers (ECRs). In particular, the SRDS offers a model for providing that cohort with a set of foundational skills for processing, analyzing, managing, and visualizing research data. The SRDS are primarily aimed at ECRs from Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), and the first of these Schools ran at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy, in August 2016. 

In August of 2020 the group organized the fifth annual - and first virtual - Trieste event focused on training future instructors (graduate students, faculty, and research institution staff), showing the most relevant aspects of teaching each of the curriculum components as well as the key aspects of organizing a school. 

For this school, we focused on alumni and our aim was to extend and enrich their understanding of the school curriculum and teaching approaches to facilitate them being future instructors. This was the 11th school and at the end of this edition, approximately 400 students have completed the curriculum.

On top of running the full curriculum school, we have also run, with support from the EU network FAIRsFAIR, two online events for Data Stewards at the University of Manchester and UNA in Costa Rica. More events are planned in 2021 in Botswana and European locations.

The session at RDA P17 will focus on two of the main issues the interest group is facing: how to reach financial sustainability, and how to get more people ready to replicate the schools.  

Short Group Status: 

The initiative is continuing with support and engagement from both CODATA and RDA. We have achieved the status of Recognised and Endorsed. Up to this point, the group has had several financial contributions from several organizations (International Centre for Theoretical Physics - ICTP, FAIRsFAIR, RDA/US, among others)  that helped with hosting the events and covering most of their costs. Still, we are looking for ways to ensure that the initiative reaches long term financial independence. That would mean being able to do more long term planning as well as organizing schools in other places that have a deficit for this type of training.

Secondary to this issue is the need for an instructor training model that allows for the alumni to get involved with the schools and be able to replicate them in their home countries. This will help to fulfil the IG’s goal of creating a network of schools.

Type of Meeting: 
Working meeting
Meeting presenters: 
Marcela Alfaro Córdoba, Louise Bezuidenhout, Raphael Cobe, Sara El Jadid, Bianca Peterson, Robert Quick, Hugh Shanahan, and Shanmugasundaram Venkataraman