Archive collaborating with MRC on data support service

Article dated: 20 September 2011

As social science researchers gear up to meet new data management and sharing policy guidelines, so too are medical researchers.

Now the Medical Research Council (MRC) is looking to a UK Data Archive expert to help them develop a support service for researchers working with population and patient cohorts.

Veerle Van den Eynden

The MRC is developing its Data Support Service with hands-on input from Veerle Van den Eynden, who currently manages the Archive's Research Data Management Support Services. Over the next nine months, Veerle will be seconded to the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing to work with MRC researchers, data managers and with the MRC head office.

The project focuses on population-based research data, working in depth with key studies, extending work on access and sharing already being pioneered by teams such as those managing the MRC National Survey of Health and Development.

In the last two years an online gateway for the discovery of cohort studies and their variables, along with an underlying directory, has been developed for the MRC by a consortium from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), Oxford University and University College London.

In the coming months, the gateway will be further developed and made available to researchers along with information on associated tools and standards.

MRC logo

Key to supporting MRC scientists, will be to work closely with them on requirements. Veerle will help the MRC develop a network of data managers and data scientists to share expertise and best practices, and then to provide practical guidance and tools to facilitate data sharing and data management planning.

These activities build on her previous work at the UK Data Archive and for the Data Support Service of the Rural Economy and Land Use Programme (Relu-DSS), where she provided support, guidance and training on data management to researchers in order to promote good data practices and optimise data sharing.

This is an exciting opportunity for the Archive to again work closely with the MRC in furthering its support for value-added data sharing.