Blogpost by: André Vieira (Univerisidade do Minho)

FAIRsFAIR and OpenAIRE organised a joint workshop on April 28th aimed to discuss the role of national-level initiatives to advance skills development for research data management.

At a European level, the emerging European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) provides impetus for skills development. However, the recent report of the EOSC Working Group on Skills & Training finds that national skills policy is usually fragmented or underdeveloped when concerning skills for research data and data-intensive research. The workshop aimed to take stock of the national initiatives and discuss good practices, impact and ways forward for such initiatives.

The workshop brought together representatives from different national platforms, projects and organisations active in skills development and policy for RDM and FAIR data. It was an opportunity to inform and debate how national-level initiatives contribute to awareness and practical solutions for skills development, as well as to discuss the role and responsibility of individual organisations, such as universities, and national initiatives in aligning and expanding education and training for research data management.

The workshop started with a brief introduction by FAIRsFAIR and OpenAIRE, followed by three presentations on national-level initiatives supporting RDM & FAIR data skills development, namely from France, Greece and Ireland. It was an opportunity for the audience to discover and know more about good practices at a national-level in these countries, providing inspiration for the adoption of initiatives by other countries that are also developing their efforts in this area.

Next panel was about University use cases and experiences on developing RDM & FAIR data skills, from Swissuniversities and University of Cologne. From Swissuniversities we learn more about the Open Science Programme 2021-2024 and especially about  three initiatives, namely the Open Science Programme 2021-2024, the Tools and Services for FAIR RDM at ETH Zurich, the national DLCM project (2021-2020), data lifecycle management, and the AiiDA and Materials Cloud for Computational Simulation in Material Science (see the presentation). 

From the University of Cologne we had a presentation of GO UNITE, the German Chapter of the Data Stewardship Competence Centers Implementation Network (DSCC-IN), detailing their main activities to develop RDM and FAIR data skills.

To close the presentations session, Iryna Kuchma presented the Report from the EOSC Executive Board Skills and Training Working Group, about the National open science policies for skills in the Digital skills for FAIR and open science.

If you are interested to know more about these presentations, both recordings and slides are freely available to consult on the workshop event page at

In addition to the speakers' presentations, there was also time to discuss these topics splitting the audience into three breakout groups, one dedicated to discussion about National roadmaps and platforms, another to the Institutional/Universities initiatives, and another to Community driven initiatives.

The group dedicated to discuss National roadmaps and platforms, focused on examples from european countries established at national level. The participants of this group highlighted initiatives from their countries to support the adoption of Open Science and Open Access, however with distinct levels of implementation in each country. Some participants identified barriers that slow down the development of these initiatives, such as the lack of funding, infrastructure and incentives for researchers in order to adopt Open Science practices.

In the group dedicated to discuss Institutional and Universities initiatives, participants shared their thoughts about the key factors behind starting institutional initiatives, highlighting, among others, the need to identify the community needs and what is useful for them, the importance to inform the community about the benefits of adopting FAIR principles and Open Science practices. Incentives and rewards were also pointed out as being relevant, however it was also emphasized that the funding should not be the only driver, researchers need to shape the narrative according to their needs, and it’s crucial that institutions have the right capacity for Open Science before starting to implement them.

In the third group, participants talked about community driven initiatives, sharing their experiences and highlighting some bottom-up initiatives from the community, such as working groups at a national level driven by the community (researchers, librarians and support staff) developing support training activities, institutional initiatives developed by librarians and data stewards, playing a relevant role on offering support and training activities on RDM and Open Science across research domains.

The sharing of experiences and knowledge during this workshop was an enriching moment, both for the participants and for the FAIRsFAIR project, namely contributing with relevant inputs to develop the activities within the scope of the work package FAIR Data Science and Professionalisation. Participants will be able to further engage with the project activities through a new series of events taking place in the autumn of 2021. Among these will be two universities workshops to present further results and share ideas and best practices in integrating FAIR data competences in university teaching, as well as the 3rd and last Stakeholder Meeting.