Data management grants

Article dated: 20 November 2009

The UK Data Archive has recently won two grants to work on bespoke data management support and training for researchers, which complements the work already carried out by ESDS and RELU-DSS aimed at ESRC grant applicants and award holders.

The first grant is supported by JISC under the Data Management Infrastructure Programme which aims to provide the UK Higher Education sector with insights and pilot solutions for research data management within or across institutions. The programme hopes to achieve increased data management activity, build capacity and provide pilot strategies and tools which can contribute to joint stakeholders' broader strategic and policy vision. The UK Data Archive project, which runs for 15 months from 1 January 2010, will contribute to this movement through working with high investment data-rich environments, such as ESRC Centres and Programmes, by expanding the implementation of data management planning and enabling effective data management practices in those research 'hubs'. It will further address particular areas of research: high-value data resources, for example, non-reproducible and unique data; complex data, such as that from ethnography or anthropology; and data which have legal and ethical sharing issues, such as law and politics.

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The second award is part of the fourth round of the Researcher Development Initiative (RDI) aimed at supporting a range of training and development activities that will drive forward advanced and specialist research training in a systematic way. The project runs for 18 months from 1 April 2010 and will provide a programme of focused training for researchers and researcher support staff on the key issues pertinent to managing and sharing social science data. This covers: hands-on, practical training applied to different audiences; case studies based on ESRC studies archived at the UK Data Archive; user experiences, feedback and discussions during workshops for continuous, interactive development of workshop materials; and developing online materials based on the workshops. The project's grander aims are to influence the requirement of UK postgraduate training to formally incorporate skills - intellectual, practical and technical - in managing and sharing social science data.

Principal Investigator, Louise Corti, and her co-investigators Veerle Van den Eynden and Libby Bishop, are delighted that both funders have recognised the value of targeted data management support and capacity building in managing and sharing data. The team view these skills as part of the portfolio of essential life-long skills that every researcher should possess - in addition to the usual proficiency in data collection methods and data analysis. The team passionately believe that these skills should become part of standard best practice in research.

Two new staff will be appointed for the posts which will strengthen the training and outreach capacity of the RDMSS team at Essex.