Press conference to mark the start of NFDI

News, Press

Federal Minister underlines importance of research data management


(Published on 25.05.2021) To mark the launch of NFDI, a press conference was held in Berlin on April 22, 2021. Participants included Federal Minister Anja Karliczek, the Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Prof. Antje Boetius and NFDI Director Prof. York Sure-Vetter.

Originally, a grand opening event was planned for April 2021, but this event had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, although the big celebration has been postponed, the step of founding the NFDI was honoured at a press conference in Berlin. Federal Minister Anja Karliczek, the Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Prof. Antje Boetius, and NFDI Director Prof. York Sure-Vetter provided information on the progress of NFDI and underlined the importance of NFDI for the German science system.

In her statement, Federal Minister Karliczek pointed out the relevance of networked data for Germany as a country of innovation. If data, which is currently still too often stored in a decentralised manner, is connected with each other, new insights can be gained. In the future, it will be possible to react more quickly to challenges such as the Covid19 pandemic by using shared data. For this reason, the federal and state governments are investing nearly 750 million euros by 2028, according to Karliczek.

The Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Prof. Antje Boetius, already participated in the first discussions on a National Research Data Infrastructure during her time on the Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat) and has accompanied and followed the development of NFDI from the beginning. She sees the networking of data across disciplinary boundaries as an opportunity and a long-term investment. She illustrated this with the example of climate change. In order to fully understand its effects, linked data is of fundamental interest. As an example the population sizes of animals and plants can be linked to temperature and rainfall data. All in all, research with linked data is the future, which means that not only new data will be collected, but that it will also be possible to use the existing universe of data to gain new insights.

In his statement, the director of NFDI, Prof. York Sure-Vetter, went into detail about the structure of the NFDI association. It was founded in October 2020 and already has more than 120 members. These are legal entities, e.g. universities, non-university research institutes and registered associations. The NFDI association covers the broad scientific landscape in Germany. Under the roof of the association, people are now working on interdisciplinary methods and standards of research data management.

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