The FAIRplus Fellowship Programme starts with engaged fellows and high hopes

In Summer 2021, the Fellowship Programme from the FAIRplus project kicked off. For approximately eight months, the Programme will guide its fellows through a series of modules on the Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) principles for data management in the life sciences.

Its goals go beyond theory and learning modules. All fellows will work on implementing FAIR data management on existing datasets from their corresponding organisations. Beginning with online training modules on the basics of FAIR data, they will soon start designing the FAIRification plan for their respective projects.

After its completion, the fellows will be confident to lead, advise and initiate FAIR data processes in their respective companies and organisations. Participants come from academia and industry, including AstraZeneca, Barcelona Supercomputing Center, BenevolentAI, GSK, University of Luxembourg, University of Greifswald, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Bitac and the University of Aberdeen. They include partners from within the FAIRplus consortium and outside.

The fellows’ work will also have a significant impact on the key output of the FAIRplus project, the FAIR Cookbook, a step-by-step open-source guide for making life sciences data FAIR.

Both the Cookbook and the Fellowship Programme are deeply intertwined in the FAIRplus project. While the fellows will learn and apply the recommendations of the Cookbook, the experiences shared during the programme will shape the content of this resource and showcase the work in the form of applied examples.

"As a result, the knowledge exchange and new applied examples will positively impact future life science datasets that use the Cookbook as their drawing board," says Dr Andreas Pippow, who designed the programme alongside his team at Fraunhofer.

Some of the fellows have shared their first impressions and expectations from the Programme:

Esther Thea Inau

University of Greifswald

Esther Inau

I'm Esther Inau, a native of Nairobi, Kenya. I started my career as a midwife nurse after completing my BSc in Nursing and Public Health at Kenyatta University in Kenya. On a part-time basis, I was also involved in data collection on projects researching postpartum contraception.

I later moved to Germany for my MSc in Medical Informatics at the Technische Hochschule Deggendorf. While studying, I was accepted for an internship at the Medical Informatics Department at the University of Greifswald (UMG), where I became interested in the FAIR data.

I am now doing my PhD at UMG, focusing on the FAIRification of medical laboratory data from the Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP). I am also a member of an implementation network, VODAN-IN, focused on the FAIRification of COVID-19 research infrastructure in Africa.

I joined the FAIRplus Fellowship Programme to learn more about FAIR health data stewardship and the FAIRification journey in the industry sector. The programme will provide me with a platform to interact with key players in industry. I am hopeful that the expertise and experience I gain as a FAIRplus fellow will expand my network, enrich my knowledge, give me opportunities to exchange ideas and further develop FAIRification projects.

Furthermore, I look forward to acquiring the necessary training and experience that will allow me to lead, advise and initiate FAIR data processes in the various projects I am involved in at the University of Greifswald and the VODAN-IN.

Laura Portell

Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC)

Laura Portell

I'm Laura Portell. Born in Barcelona, I started my career in life sciences with a bachelor's degree in Biotechnology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. I later moved to Denmark to advance my career with a Master of Science and Engineering in Industrial Biotechnology at the Technical University of Denmark.

It was then that I developed a particular interest in bioinformatics and data management, which led me to complete a master's degree in Data Science back in Barcelona. Currently, I work as a research engineer at the National Institute of Bioinformatics (INB) group at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), where I am involved in FAIR data management projects such as ELIXIR-CONVERGE and FAIRplus.

Last year, I joined the FAIRplus Fellowship Programme to improve my FAIR data management skills and discover more about the FAIRplus FAIRification evaluation process. The INB group at the BSC works on several projects with diverse data types, and at different stages in the FAIRification journey. During the fellowship, I will be working on one of these projects, OpenEBench, an ELIXIR platform for scientific benchmarking of life science research software.

I envision that understanding the level of FAIRification of the OpenEBench data and metadata will prove to be highly beneficial.

Celia Alvarez

Biomedicine Institute of Seville (SAS)

Celia Alvarez

I’m Celia Alvarez-Romero, from Spain. I’m a researcher in Biomedical Informatics, Biomedical Engineering and Health Economics at the Virgen del Rocío University Hospital – Biomedicine Institute of Seville. Currently, I’m a member of the coordination team of the FAIR4Health project, which facilitates and encourages the EU health research community to apply the FAIR Principles. I’m also the chair of the Research Data Alliance Working Group on Raising FAIRness in health data and health research performing organisations.

I joined the FAIRplus Fellowship Programme to improve my knowledge of FAIR data management, exchange skills and experiences with others, and discover synergies with other initiatives dealing with FAIR data in the health domain.

Posted 22 September 2021 | Back to the news page