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The European plug-in to the global Research Data Alliance

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - RDA Europe 4.0 (The European plug-in to the global Research Data Alliance)

Reporting period: 2019-07-01 to 2020-09-30

RDA Europe 4.0 H2020 Coordination and Support Action (CSA) Grant number: 777388, (€3.5m) addresses the need for open and interoperable sharing of research data and builds on its community-driven and bottom-up approach, by means also of an open cascading grant process. A substantial amount of the overall budget funding (751,000€) is allocated to external parties, as EU early careers, data experts and practitioners and EU organisations, to support their contributions to the on-going RDA work via a cascading grants mechanism. In addition, nine nodes were funded as part of the project without being direct beneficiaries of the RDA Europe 4.0 projects.
The objectives of the project are multiple, where the overarching goal is to support the global Research Data Alliance (RDA) initiative in addressing the need for the open and interoperable sharing of research data, and the need to build social and technical and cross-disciplinary links to enable this sharing on a global scale.
The RDA Europe 4.0 project defines how the EU can contribute to implementing an effective governance model and strategy within RDA global that ensures RDA delivers on locally relevant issues. Building on the experience gained, lessons learnt and foundations built since 2012, the project proposes a new, open and dynamic structure to expand the RDA community in Europe. It builds on existing networks to create a European network of nodes to enhance member state cooperation and support of RDA in many European countries by 2020, enhancing EU competitiveness and EU leadership within RDA Global.
Obj.1 – Become a core element of the EU Open Science Strategy; Main achievements: RDA as a core element of the EOSC strategy: 1. One of the EOSC Executive Board member represents the RDA Community; 2. With its over 8000 members (50% from Europe) and 25+ domain research groups, RDA is the strategic partner to represent the data community in EOSC. The first EOSC event organised by the EOSC Governance will be co-located with the RDA Plenary 14 in Helsinki, 22 Oct 2019; 3. The RDA ICT Technical Specifications can facilitate bringing the EOSC ICT recommendations to the market; 4. Thirteen European nodes with nationally set-up, championing RDA groups and content to support the various activities planned within RDA; RDA Outputs have been adopted by over 40 European organisations, as indicated in this list of RDA adoption use-cases. The RDA GEDE Group is continuing its work to provide insights to pan-European initiatives.
Obj.2 – Giving back the skilled, voluntary resources from the EU investment to address DSM issues - Main achievements: 1. The RDA Europe participation has seen an increase of 26% fostering & increasing the volunteer European contribution to RDA Working & Interest groups.2. 16 Early Careers and 16 data experts have contributed to RDA Plenaries and Groups
Obj.3 – Facilitating cross-disciplinary & multi- disciplinary research - Main achievements: 8 adoption grants, showing cross- and multi- disciplinary implementation scenarios in European organisations
Obj.4 – Building & strengthening & consolidating an RDA global community - Main achievements: The RDA individual membership increased from 6831 community members (March 2018) to over 8,000 (May 2019). The RDA website ( is the underlying platform that allows the continuation of the work of the RDA Working and Interest Groups and the growth of the RDA community.
Obj.5 – Ensuring contribution to global interoperable data infrastructure - Main achievements: 1. The RDA Europe project liaises on a daily basis directly with the RDA global governance ensuring EU data & science experts cooperate with global colleagues. 2. 43% of the members of the RDA Governance (Council, TAB, OAB, Secretariat) are financially supported by the RDA Europe 4.0 project. 3. RDA Europe 4.0 has also sponsored the RDA Plenary 11 in March 2018, in Berlin and supported two other plenaries (P12 International Data Week, in Nov. 2018, Botswana and P13, in April 2019, Philadelphia). It will also support the P14 Plenary held in Helsinki in Finland in Oct. 2019. 4. Salary of the RDA Secretary General is also supported by RDA Europe 4.0.
Obj.6– Democratising access to funding opportunities in the field of data infrastructures & interoperability (cascading grant schemes) Main achievements: 1. Activation of a continuous cascading grants programme for early careers (ECRs), data experts, ambassadors, adoption grants and national nodes. Consistent communication activities. 2. Over 100 eligible applications were received for 3 open calls for ECRs and experts, one open call for ambassadors, one open call for adoption grants and one open call for new nodes. 3. 16 ECRs, 16 data experts, 6 ambassadors, 8 adoption grants, 4 new national nodes have been granted.
Obj.7 – Driving the process of RDA ICT Technical Specifications in Europe - During the first 16 months of the project a third wave of submission has started. Four new RDA recommendations are currently under evaluation by the MSP.
RDA Europe has pursued active engagement with key international partners in the research infrastructures landscape by consolidating its active cooperation with the Group of European Data Experts in RDA (GEDE- RDA) whose aim is to and drive consensus on guidelines, core components and concrete data fabric configuration building based on a bottom-up process. During the first 16 months of the project, under Task 3.4 a series of collaborations have been established with a set of EOSC-related projects: EOSC-hub, OpenAIRE, FREYA, FAIRsFAIR and EOSC Secretariat. Finally, to further consolidate the role of RDA as the place where to meet the international research data community, the EOSC Executive Board has reached out to the RDA Europe 4.0 project to understand the possibility of having an EOSC workshop in conjunction with the Helsinki Plenary 14 of RDA. The contribution of RDA Europe to EOSC is also tangible via the work related to the RDA ICT Technical Specifications (that is RDA recommendations officially endorsed as ICT Technical Specifications by the Multi Stakeholder Platform ready to be used as reference in public procurement processes, 8 ready for publications) as they can facilitate bringing the EOSC ICT recommendations to the market. The RDA Europe 4.0 project not only contributed to strengthen the role of RDA at global level but in particular at European level through its capillary campaign carried out at the local and national level to ensure the widest outreach of the RDA principles of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) data. RDA Europe has leveraged on its network of nine national nodes at project start, expanded to 13 nodes in February 2019, to ensure its impact on Industry and SMEs recruiting new early adopters (for what concerns industry the major focus of the first 16 months was put on engaging the Earth Observation community for which an adoption grant has been submitted and selected), but also engaging with professionals who provided fresh input and feedback to the discussions in RDA Working Groups. The national nodes have been instrumental to disseminate the RDA open calls and recruit applicants.Overall the RDA cascading grants mobilised over 170 individuals active in Open Science and Research Data management in different disciplines creating opportunities for collaboration among leading edge scientists tackling issues of data interoperability.
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