Building competence and capabilities for EOSC

Building competence and capabilities for EOSC

Building competence and capabilities for EOSC


30 Mar 2020

By: Iryna Kuchma, EOSC Skills & Training WG Rapporteur

Members of the newly launched EOSC Skills and Training Working Group met in Brussels on February 26 to discuss a work plan for 2020 and strategies to bridge European and national activities. Co-chaired by Natalia Manola (OpenAIRE) and Vinciane Gaillard (EUA) the Working Group includes experts nominated by Member States and EOSC Governing Board. EOSC projects have also been invited to nominate their representatives to this Working Group. Our current focus is on competences and capabilities, but not on building capacities, which is a national and institutional task. 

The general context

Angus Whyte from the Digital Curation Centre talked about FAIR4S – FAIR Stewardship Skills for Science and Scholarship – skill and role profiles, that propose an example, and about terms4FAIRskills that can help map across different frameworks. A need for use cases and implementation experiences was flagged as well as a need for a broader context and coordination with the OECD Global Science Forum Expert Group on Digital Skills for Data-Intensive Science. Researchers should be in the center of this process and in addition to hard FAIR skills they need soft skills as well. And EOSC portal should also be more user – researcher – friendly. 

Celia van Gelder from DTL – Dutch Techcentre for Life Sciences and ELIXIR-NL, presented a research infrastructure perspective – The ELIXIR Training Platform and approach to tackle the digital skills gap. Important ingredients are a train the trainer programme upskilling trainers and providing open and reusable materials and establishing a data steward as profession for the Life Sciences (descriptions, skills and competency framework for the three data stewardship roles: policy, research and infrastructure, and the Data Stewardship Wizard – a web-based application for preparing smart Data Management Plans). The ELIXIR-CONVERGE project that started this February is aimed at strengthening Europe’s data management capacity through a comprehensive training programme delivered throughout the European Research Area and aligning national data management standards and services through a sustainable, scalable and cost-effective data management toolkit. 

The topics

Skills, competence centers and national digital skills policies and strategies were discussed in three break-out groups that will continue as task forces: EOSC minimal skillset and training in EOSC Minimum Viable Product; options for organizational models for regional/thematic/EU competence centers and their coordination; and EOSC skills/training in national digital skills policies and strategies.  

For skills, a need for a common glossary was flagged to address the differences in backgrounds, vocabulary and many dimensions of EOSC tools and processes. An inventory of skillsets with a basic SWOT analysis will be produced and skills and roles will be mapped to tasks and functions. Open science and digital skill sets for EOSC for researchers, service providers and policy makers will be identified and prioritised. And a study will be commissioned to frame digital skills required in EOSC. 

For competence centers, a landscape analysis on European, thematic and national levels will highlight organizational models that are there already, what works, what doesn’t and where the gaps are. And options for organisational models for new competence centers and their coordination will be provided. 

For the EOSC skills/training in national digital skills policies/strategies, a report will provide ingredients and recommendations for national strategies. 

The Working Group will also review and agree upon specifications for the EOSC training/learning materials catalogue, possibly a federated approach as part of the EOSC MVP (metadata, formats, APIs, curation, certification, and preservation of training materials).

All these discussions will also be a part of the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA). And our inspiration is to try to change the culture now so that every student graduating in every discipline has basic required skills.