Bayern4NFDI: First networking meeting of Bavarian NFDI participants took place in Munich
Exchange, networking and inspiration for future cooperation: The Directorate General of the Bavarian Archives organised a meeting for all NFDI participants in Bavaria at the end of July. More than 80 participants from around 40 institutions attended.
On 20 July 2023, a networking meeting of Bavarian participants in the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) took place, organised by the Directorate General of the Bavarian State Archives (GDA). The response was impressive: more than 80 participants from more than 40 different institutions and a wide variety of NFDI consortia were present. The event offered a rare opportunity for cross-consortia, nationwide dialogue. Participants took the opportunity to network and discuss common challenges in research data management.
GDA Director General: Archives have a hinge function in scientific research
Bernhard Grau, Director General of the State Archives, opened the networking meeting with a welcoming address. He emphasised the role of the archives in their hinge function for scientific research and the consequences that this has for the GDA in the NFDI. Barbara Ebert, member of the Scientific Senate of the NFDI and deputy spokesperson of the NFDI4Biodiversity consortium, also addressed the participants. Barbara Ebert outlined the overarching goals of the NFDI, localised the overall social significance of the NFDI as a scientific actor and thus set the framework for the day. The subsequent keynote speech was given by Christian Pfrang, Head of Division at the Bavarian State Ministry for Digital Affairs. He presented the tasks of the Ministry of Digital Affairs and discussed the importance of research data management within it.
He also presented a project that is being implemented in collaboration with the Bavarian State Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry: The project serves to visualise soil erosion data, which has been processed by GDA for long-term archiving and transferred to the digital archive. At the end of the first part of the event, GDA employees Markus Schmalzl and Michael Unger gave a brief overview of GDA's involvement in the five NFDI consortia NFDI4Biodiversity, NFDI4Earth, FAIRagro, NFDI4Objects, NFDI4Memory and the long-term archiving working group in the Common Infrastructures section and presented various projects that have been launched in collaboration with partners from the NFDI.
Project pitches offered the opportunity to discover interdisciplinary intersections
The project pitches were a central component of the meeting: in a total of ten five-minute presentations, participants from different disciplines, institutions and NFDI consortia presented their current projects that were developed as part of their involvement within the NFDI. The presentation of the project pitches thus offered a unique opportunity to inform NFDI members outside of their own consortium about current projects and to identify interdisciplinary overlaps. As a representative of the NFDI4Biodiversity consortium, Tanja Weibulat from the Bavarian State Natural History Collections (SNSB) presented a use case in her pitch that is being carried out together with the GDA: The project aims to archive the collection of powdery mildew fungi already recorded in the Diversity Workbench system and the associated relational database structure in the long term using the SIARD software tool.
World Café: Intensive exchange and discussion
After a joint lunch break, the World Café provided an ideal opportunity for an intensive exchange on the four topics of research data management & data literacy, networking, long-term archiving and law. Based on key questions, the participants worked in groups to address current challenges and options for regional cooperation in the respective areas, which led to many enriching discussions. One example of this was the exchange on how nationwide training in research data management could be made possible by integrating it into curricula, organising NFDI workshops or awarding Bavarian prizes.
Consistently positive conclusion: regional exchange to be continued
The final discussion gave the networking meeting a thoroughly positive report. The importance of regional networking between the various institutions in Bavaria was emphasised, particularly with regard to state-specific structures such as funding issues or the existing technical infrastructure. Last but not least, the participants considered the possibility of interdisciplinary cooperation across the consortia to be extremely valuable, as was the opportunity to exchange views on topics that are relevant to all institutions in everyday practice, but less so in the context of the NFDI. The format of a regional exchange received broad approval and is to be further expanded in the future.