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Bi-annual Research Data Alliance Conference to discuss global data sharing issues

Over 400 leading international scientists and researchers are in Dublin today (Wednesday) for a major global conference on data. The Research Data Alliance (RDA) Conference, which takes place at Croke Park, will explore important issues relating to the building of societal and technological bridges which can help increase the exchange of data globally.

The conference is a joint endeavour between Ireland and Australia, and representatives of both Governments will open the conference later today. Delegates will be welcomed by both Minister of State for Small Business, John Perry T.D. and the Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Her Excellency Dr. Ruth Adler.

Minister of State for Small Business John Perry T.D. said: “For SMEs and start-ups, data sharing can enable important cost savings and the advancement of innovative new discoveries. With more than 80% of the data generated by scientists and researchers around the world currently not being shared, often due to technical challenges in converting, accessing and storing it in the right place and right format, the focus of today’s conference is an important one.”

The conference will focus on exploring a range of issues across a variety of sectors. For example, it will examine the importance of data sharing for the development of agriculture globally, the development of a common global framework for the management of marine data and how to address the needs of the overall scientific community in collaboratively utilising large volumes of data.

Ireland’s Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, Professor Mark Ferguson, and Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb AC, will also address delegates.

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Irish Government added: “This is an important conference from the point of view of Ireland’s strategic focus on the area of data analytics. It will help Irish research bodies to contribute to international scientific debates, and to encourage industry-informed research and foster further academic-industrial collaborations.”

Two Irish research centres, Insight Centre for Data Analytics and the Digital Repository of Ireland, aided in the organisation of the conference.

Dr Sandra Collins, Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland, said: “We are very proud to have brought the RDA conference to Ireland – our core mission is to preserve, discover and share data for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and RDA is central to achieving this on a global scale. Ireland can show great leadership in this area.”

Professor Alan Smeaton, Director of Insight Centre for Data Analytics, DCU, said: “There is enormous potential for benefits to be gained by adopting a data-driven approach to solving problems throughout society. Bringing the RDA meeting to Ireland allows more Irish researchers to become directly involved in fashioning how data, in all its forms, can be used to best effect.”

Professor Stefan Decker, Director of Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway, said: "Interoperable Research Data does impact society in a big way - from healthcare to engineering, from our understanding of the physical world to our understanding of society. This is exactly what the RDA has set out to do, and Ireland is a big part of it."

This third RDA Conference is co-organised by RDA-Europe, Australian National Data Service, the Digital Repository of Ireland and Insight and has received financial support from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the Irish Research Council, Failte Ireland,, and Microsoft Ireland.