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RDA Europe 4.0 is the European plug-in to RDA and is mandated to ensure that European political, research, industrial and digital infrastructure stakeholders are aware of, engaged with and actively involved in the global RDA activities.  Between 2018 and 2020 RDA Europe 4.0 supported growing the community of research data experts and practitioners by offering grants for early career researchers and experts, RDA ambassadors, and RDA output-adoption. In collaboration with a diverse range of national and regional stakeholders, the network of national nodes supported by RDA Europe 4.0 engage today with research communities, support national agendas, contribute to the EU Open Science Strategy, and aim to increase the uptake of standards and participation in RDA globally.

The RDA Europe 4.0 project has supported the mission and operation of RDA global, the engagement of the European community and the positioning of RDA in the EOSC landscape for the full duration of the project from March 2018 until September 2020. 

The ambitious 33-month project was run by a consortium comprising 5 Partners and 9 Third Parties (the Pioneer National Nodes) all of which are domain skilled, complementary institutions and organisations that have been drivers of RDA in Europe since its launch in 2013.


The pioneer nodes and their activities

Nine renowned research organisations representing excellence in the global scene were the initial foundations of a pan-European network of National Nodes. These represent areas such as Agro & Food, Bio & Health, Environment, Social Science and Humanities & Engineering. Each node has one or more national priorities or areas of focused activity to pursue that could influence their national digital agendas.

  1. RDA in Finland – CSC-Tieteen Tietotekniikan Keskus OY, CSC
  2. RDA in France – Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CNRS
  3. RDA in Germany – Max Planck Computing and Data Facility, MPCDF
  4. RDA in Greece – Athena Research & Innovation Center in Information Communication & Knowledge Technologies, Athena RC
  5. RDA in Ireland – Digital Repository of Ireland, DRI
  6. RDA in Italy – Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, CNR-ISTI
  7. RDA in Netherlands – Data Archiving & Networked Services, DANS
  8. RDA in Spain – Barcelona Supercomputing Centre, BSC
  9. RDA in United Kingdom – Science & Technology Facilities Council, STFC

Athena, the Greek node, together with UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) provided Secretariat Support to RDA. BSC, the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre, supported Industry activities. The Italian node CNR-ISTI (National Research Council)  provided editorial support for the Data Science Journal, while DANS, the Dutch Data Archiving and Networked Services acted as the RDA ambassador for the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) research communities.  The Finnish IT Centre for Research (CSC – Tieteen Tietotekniikan Keskus), the German Max Planck Computing and Data Facility (MPCDF), the French CNRS (Centre National De La Recherche Scientifique), and the National Library of Ireland completed the initial network of nine pan-European Nodes.

The RDA Europe Nodes funded via RDA Europe 4.0 grants

An additional group of 13 National Nodes joined the network during 2019 via three open calls on the RDA Europe 4.0 Grants Platform

  1. RDA in Austria
  2. RDA in Bulgaria – Sofia University, St. Kliment Ohridski
  3. RDA in Croatia – University of Zagreb, University Computing Centre
  4. RDA in Czech Republic – Plan4all
  5. RDA in Denmark – Danish e-Infrastructure Cooperation, DeiC
  6. RDA in Estonia – University of Tartu
  7. RDA in Hungary – Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Computer Sciences and Control, SZTAKI
  8. RDA in Lithuania – Kaunas University of Technology, KTU
  9. RDA in Norway – Norwegian Centre for Research Data, NSD
  10. RDA in Portugal – INESC TEC
  11. RDA in Romania – Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding, UEFISCDI
  13. RDA in Sweden – Swedish National Data Service, SND

The European Nodes facilitated the work of RDA in many ways. They promoted open calls for European participation in RDA events and initiatives, organised meetings and hands-on workshops to showcase RDA outputs to promote adoption, they contributed to lower language and cultural barriers. 

RDA Europe 22 national nodes are key to realising the objective of consolidating a strong European research data community that enables common European contributions to the RDA work and governance, globally. Over the course of RDA Europe 4.0, the national nodes have been pursuing and piloting options for sustainability beyond the project period. 

Early career and Experts programmes

RDA Europe managed a series of support programmes for data researchers and practitioners to facilitate participation of RDA Early Career Researchers and Experts to the RDA Plenary meetings, where to engage directly with RDA Working and Interest Groups, learn and contribute, and become a part of the RDA global data sharing community. European experts were sought to provide support to specific Working group maintenance or implementation. Four waves of calls were organised on the RDA Europe 4.0 Grants Platform, combined with RDA Plenary events.

Ambassador programme

The Ambassador Programme created a group of domain and technical experts that are well-established in the networks of their respective domains, who assisted RDA in more deeply penetrating new and consolidated domain networks across Europe, and in turn acted as conduits for improving project support activities. Two waves of calls were organised on the RDA Europe 4.0 Grants Platform in September-November 2018 and February – April 2019.

RDA Outputs Adoption programme

A cascading grant mechanism on the RDA Europe 4.0 Grants Platform was utilised to provide financial support for testing of RDA results and their integration with existing systems and workflows in research. Grants were given to organizations called to carry out small scale projects to demonstrate take-up of RDA’s outputs and ICT Technical Specifications. One unique wave was launched in 2019  which resulted in seven adoption projects demonstrating the practical approaches organisations can take when looking to implement the RDA’s Recommendations & Outputs.

RDA special collection in the CODATA data Science Journal

As part of the activities lead by the Italian Node, coordinated by CNR, the Italian national node, a continued call for papers for the Data Science Journal special collection was launched to give visibility to high quality papers describing the latest results of RDA working groups (WGs) or interest groups (IGs), including recommendation and associated use cases that could highlight the added value of RDA work in the data related fields. 30 articles.


RDA is integrated with European open science and research data initiatives through several avenues of collaboration including community consultation, development of community-endorsed solutions, adoption of outputs, and co-organised activities at the global, European and national levels. RDA is bringing a number of contributions to  the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) in the form of services as well as technical resources, all openly available across technologies, disciplines, and countries to address the grand challenges of society.

The Research Data Alliance provides a unique international forum in which data standards, sharing agreements, best practices, tools and infrastructure can be worked on collectively across geographic and disciplinary boundaries. RDA and EOSC share a common vision about reducing barriers to research data sharing, and within the EOSC context, the RDA has been identified as a key vehicle in implementing the EOSC and coordinating international activity within the EOSC workplan.

The RDA platform is being significantly leveraged in the creation of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). The Report on RDA integration with other European initiatives issued by RDA Europe 4.0 project describes the key finding from a survey conducted amongst 22 current, EOSC-related projects.

RDA Europe 4.0 collection on Zenodo

This collection includes documents that are related to RDA Europe 4.0 activities. Examples could include deliverables and reports and other documents from RDA Europe 4.0 related activities.

Official RDA documents can be found in the Research Data Alliance collection on Zenodo.