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NDRIO names researcher-led group to shape Researcher Council

The New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization (NDRIO) Board of Directors has established an interim Researcher Advisory Group to lead next steps in the formation of a permanent Researcher Council, a process that will include comprehensive community consultation this summer. The Researcher Council is a critical component of NDRIO’s commitment to establishing a culture of service to, and engagement with, researchers as it designs a new service model for the delivery of Digital Research Infrastructure across Canada.

The Researcher Advisory Group was formed in keeping with NDRIO’s commitment to seek expert advice as it develops as an organization. Guillaume Bourque will chair the group. Dr. Bourque, who leads research in the areas of human genetics and bioinformatics with McGill University, served as a member of NDRIO’s Applicant Board before the organization’s inaugural Board of Directors was elected earlier this year.

Other prominent Canadian researchers will join Dr. Bourque on the multi-disciplinary, seven-member Researcher Advisory Group:

  • David Barclay, who leads research in oceanography and underwater acoustics with Dalhousie University;
  • Matthew Choptuik, who leads research in numerical relativity with the University of British Columbia;
  • Erin Dickie, who leads research in the areas of the brain and therapeutics with the University of Toronto and who works with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health;
  • Catherine Middleton, who leads research in the development and use of new communication technologies with Ryerson University;
  • Denis Thérien, Vice-President of Research and Partnerships at Element AI and NDRIO Board Director; and
  • Deb Verhoeven, Canada 150 Research Chair in Gender and Cultural Informatics at the University of Alberta (Edmonton) and NDRIO Board Director.

The Researcher Advisory Group will consult with NDRIO members, Canada’s academic researchers and others in the national Digital Research Infrastructure (DRI) community to:

  • Develop and propose the governance model for a permanent Researcher Council.
  • Launch the nomination process for the appointment of the inaugural Researcher Council.
  • Assess and recommend nominees for the inaugural Researcher Council, for approval by the Board of Directors for announcement at the fall Annual General Meeting.
  • Initiate the researcher needs assessment process, to help inform the development of a new service delivery model and strategic plan for NDRIO.

“The Researcher Advisory Group will ensure that the researcher perspective drives the formation of NDRIO’s Researcher Council,” says Janet Davidson, Chair of NDRIO’s Board of Directors. “They will consult with Canada’s research community, NDRIO members and other stakeholders to ensure this important governance group is set up for success, and the researcher community well represented and well served.”

Guillaume Bourque says: “It’s an honour to work with such a high calibre of researchers from across Canada to undertake this important work. This is our opportunity to shape the right model for researchers first and foremost. We look forward to consulting the community and bringing forward their ideas.”

The Researcher Advisory Group will first design a governance model for the Researcher Council, in consultation with the research and DRI community, starting in early summer 2020. The nomination process for Researcher Council appointments will begin in mid-summer. The Researcher Advisory Group will recommend a slate of nominees to the NDRIO Board of Directors for approval, before NDRIO’s Annual General Meeting takes place in late September 2020.

More information about each step of the process will be communicated in the coming weeks.

NDRIO is a key initiative of the national $572.5-million DRI strategy, initiated by the Government of Canada through Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), to ensure that Canadians researchers have the digital tools they need to support scientific excellence. Through the DRI Strategy, ISED will provide up to $375 million over five years to NDRIO to coordinate funding and strategic directions for national DRI activities related to advanced research computing (ARC), data management (DM), research software (RS) and cybersecurity within the DRI ecosystem. NDRIO is providing the digital tools, support, services and infrastructure that scholars and scientists need to conduct leading-edge research that enables Canada to compete on the world stage.

For more information, visit the NDRIO website.