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RDA’s 22nd Plenary Highlights – “Local Action – Global Connection”

The Research Data Alliance’s 22nd Plenary meeting (VP22) took place as a fully virtual event, held across two weeks and three time zones between 14-23 May 2024. 

With the theme “Local Action – Global Connection”, aligning with the four themes of RDA’s Strategic Plan, VP22 focused on collaboration and engagement with our global community through the sharing of local experiences, best practices and recommendations.

Individuals and groups at all stages of their careers participated in the discussions, interacted with data professionals, and networked with the RDA community. Over the course of two weeks, RDA Working and Interest Groups, Communities of Practice and Birds of a Feather sessions addressed the most significant challenges that data leaders face today, presenting their ongoing research that is building the fundamentals for data science.

Read on for some selected highlights of the two-week event, or check out our rolling highlights blogs that documented each day of VP22.

VP22 in Numbers

Over 500 attendees joined us from VP22 from all over the world! Thank you to everyone who made VP22 a truly global event.

Plenary Pathways

To help attendees navigate RDA Plenaries, we have created Plenary Pathways. The RDA’s Technical Advisory Board (TAB) defines and reviews the pathways for each plenary, resulting this in eight Research Data Management and Open Science topics of interest for attendees to follow:

VP22 Selected Highlights

VP22 was held fully virtually on the Whova event platform, across six days and three time zones to give as many members of the global RDA community as possible the chance to attend.

Opening Plenary

The Opening Plenary Session on 14th May – “Why establish national and regional RDA nodes in Europe? The communities’ perspective” – focused on the benefits of the RDA to regions, and why regions are encouraged to establish a formal partnership with the RDA.  After an opening welcome from RDA Secretary General Hilary Hanahoe who gave context to the RDA Regional Memberships, we heard from Alex Delipalta from the RDA Europe office, who discussed the purpose of RDA Europe and its strategy to support RDA Regional Members in Europe.

View Hilary Hanahoe’s slides

View Alex Delipalta’s slides

On a national level, lightning talks were presented by European Partner Countries on their context, priorities and activities, their reasons to establish a partnership with RDA and the activities they would like to organise at the European level.

‘RDA is crucial to the international sustainable human infrastructure required for good practice and sharing data across borders’

 Rachel Bruce, Head of Open Research, UKRI

Virtual Networking

An important part of every RDA Plenary – whether virtual or in person – is networking! It was great to see members old and new coming together to connect and share experiences during networking sessions held over the course of VP22.

Alongside the two live networking sessions, VP22 participants collaborated, arranged meet-ups and found like-minded colleagues in the Whova virtual Community Discussion platform. A total of 34 discussion topics were set up, on topics including:

Welcome to our Newcomers

For first-timers to an RDA Plenary, we hosted several Newcomers Sessions to welcome new members and answer their questions about the RDA, such as:

  • What is the RDA?
  • How is the RDA structured?
  • How do I get involved in the RDA?
  • How do I create an RDA group and recruit members?
  • How to run a group across multiple time zones?
  • Are there grants for students / early career scientists for attending RDA meetings?
  • How can I make the most of the Recommendations and Outputs that relate to my interest?
  • How do organisations benefit from becoming members of the RDA?
  • What are the mechanisms used by the RDA to support academic networks in Open Science?

Looking for a fun way of navigating RDA and the RDA Plenaries? Check out the Plenary Planet Blog: A Fun Way of Navigating the RDA Universe.

Meet the Regions

To make VP22 a truly global event, we invited Regional RDA Partners (RDA in the Americas, RDA Europe and RDA Oceania) to host plenary sessions and Office Hours to highlight their work.

As well as sharing regional updates, the sessions gave attendees the chance to network with experts from their region and discover how they can get involved, identifying synergies across nations and continents.

By bringing regional specific challenges to a global audience of experts, RDA is supporting the US to find solutions.


Co-located Events

Co-located events are meetings organised by numerous organisations aligned with the RDA to enrich the plenary programme. At VP22, we welcomed four co-located sessions to the programme: 

  Advancing Genomic Data Governance: An Indian Perspective


The WorldFAIR Project: The journey so far and next steps – Session 1

The WorldFAIR Project: The journey so far and next steps – Session 2

‘We don’t just need to know if a community is making their data FAIR, but how they are doing it.’


Over 80 Brilliant Breakouts

Over the course of VP22 86 Breakout Sessions took place, including:

The sessions, organised by RDA members from across regions and disciplines, showcased and sought feedback on the Recommendations and Outputs of the Groups, as well as gauging interest for new Working/Interest Groups and lines of research. 

Some highlights from the 86 sessions include:

Closing Session – ‘Initiatives and challenges of research data in Latin America’

The Closing Session of the 22nd, fully virtual RDA Plenary began with a big – THANK YOU. From RDA Secretary General, Hilary Hanahoe to:

In the Closing Session we heard from key players in Latin America on the Open Science and Research Data Management activities and stakeholders in the region. Speakers included:

We also learned what we have to look forward to at the 23rd RDA Plenary Meeting taking place 12 – 14 November 2024 in Costa Rica, organised by CONARE and hosted at Universidade de Costa Rica.  On that note, we announced the launch of the new RDA Espanol workplace/Slack channel and encourage our Spanish speaking community members to join and participate!


RDA VP22 session recordings are accessible to registered attendees on the Whova platform, where you can catch up with any sessions you may have missed. To access, navigate to Agenda > Sessions > Session of interest > click ‘Play button’ for recordings and for presentation slides > scroll down under the session description and click ‘Collaborative notes and slides’.

Recordings will be available for the general public on Friday, 28 June 2024.


Thank you to everyone who attended and made VP22 a success. The conversations that took place in our plenary sessions, networking events, office hours and 86 group meetings were insightful and inspiring. It is thanks to the expertise and passion of the RDA network that we as a community are making strides in our mission to build the social and technical bridges to reduce barriers to data sharing and exchange.

We can’t wait to see you again at the 23rd RDA Plenary in Cost Rica, 12-14 November 2024!