The opening keynote at the SURF Research Day in Amersfoort on 23 May gave an indication of just how complex science has become.
Bram Maasakkers, from the SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, wants to get a global picture of methane emissions - essential data to combat climate change.
My specific takeaway from Bram's lecture - the extraordinary range of research and technical skills needed to carry out such a project.
Launching a satellite, keeping the satellite functioning in space, gathering the data, mapping the data, analysing the data, visualising the data, sharing the data globally and then convincing polluters to stop the leak.
Wildly different skills are required to launch this project. Team Science is a must.
Ron Augustus, CTO of Surf, also emphasised this during the presentation of awards for Research Support Champions (and congratulations to Henk van den Hoogen from University of Maastricht Library for his award!)
A research project requires data curation, ethics approval, project management, software development, privacy / patent / copyright knowledge. It’s pointless to expect this to fit in the old-style job description of a researcher; such a range of knowledge can only be embedded in a broader range of skills that a team possesses.
One of the examples of this was given by the session on ‘The CAFE community: a local, inclusive programming community for researchers’ Involving staff from Utrecht, Vrij and also my colleagues (Ashley Cryan and Aleksandra Wilczynska) from TU Delft. This is Team Science in action - bringing together data managers, research software engineers and researchers from different subjects at different career stages to empower and connect researchers with coding skills.