Skill4EOSC kicks off for training open science in Europe
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Skill4EOSC kicks off for training open science in Europe

| Sara Di Giorgio | News
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The project proposal was developed thanks to the strong engagement of ICDI and its Competence Centre.

The kick-off meeting of the European project Skills4EOSC, which will set up a European network of competence centres to speed up the training of European researchers and harmonise the training of new professionals for the management of scientific data from an Open Science perspective, took place on 21 and 22 September in Pisa.

The European project Skills4EOSC (Skills for the European Open Science commons: creating a training ecosystem for Open and FAIR science), coordinated by GARR and funded under the Horizon Europe framework programme, kicked off in Pisa on 21-22 September 2022. 

Over the next three years, it will work to provide Open Science Commons and create an EOSC-ready skilled European workforce, connecting existing centres of competence in open science and scientific data management. The aim is to develop methodologies, activities and training resources to unify the current training landscape into a collaborative and reliable ecosystem and to provide dedicated community-specific support to leverage the potential of EOSC for open and data-intensive research.

The project consortium brings together 44 partners, representing the most relevant experiences of national, regional, institutional and thematic competence centres for open science and scientific data management in 18 European countries (Italy, the Netherlands, France, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Poland, Sweden, Estonia, and Spain). 

Particular attention will also be given to improving the communication of research results to policy-makers, civil servants and decision-makers through an ad hoc training programme for researchers 'The practice of informing through evidence'. This programme will show how open science practices can foster the adoption of research results by policy-makers and civil servants and thereby improve their impact on society as a whole.

The project proposal has been developed thanks to the strong commitment of ICDI, (Italian Computing and Data Infrastructure) and its Competence Centre, which brings together a network of experts from the leading Italian research infrastructures and digital infrastructures to offer an advisory and training service on the different aspects of open science, bearing in mind the characteristics of the various disciplinary fields.

"This is an important result of the work carried out by ICDI and its competence centre, coordinated by GARR, and I am happy to see that through Skills4EOSC, Italy is playing a promoter role, which will be essential for the development of open science," emphasises Federico Ruggieri, GARR Director. "Skills4EOSC will allow us to develop the centre by expanding the network of experts participating in it and making the training resources and services that will be produced available to the Italian community. The project will therefore provide a concrete contribution to the training of new professionals capable of guaranteeing the quality of FAIR data and all the products of the scientific process, in line with the National Plan for Open Science, published in June 2022 by the Ministry for Research.

Ten members of ICDI are part of the consortium: in addition to the GARR coordinator, CNR, INFN, National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), University of Turin, Politecnico di Torino, University of Milan Bicocca, University of Trento, Italian Institute of Technology, Euro-Mediterranean Centre on Climate Change participate. 

The project is structured around six key areas of activity:

  1. Minimum Viable Skillsets (MVS) - Building on previous work, Skills4EOSC will chart a comprehensive map of different career profiles and define for each one an MVS, i.e. a set of minimum requirements for competencies and proficiency levels tailored to a specific Open Science professional profile.
  2. Training-of-Trainers (ToT) - ToT allows for cost-effectively scaling up trainer numbers. Working via a network embracing 18 European countries, we will bring an extra dimension of rigour to this approach.
  3. FAIR-by-design methodology for learning materials - Skills4EOSC will define a methodology to ensure the full compliance of training courses and materials to the FAIR principles, making them reusable for humans and machines. This will be achieved by providing rich contextual information about the organisation, delivery and assessment of training
  4. Harmonised curricula and learning paths - Skills4EOSC will harmonise OS curricula and learning paths targeting researchers at different career stages, data professionals and policymakers and offering discipline-, thematic- and research infrastructure-oriented training. This action will allow the creation of curricula for specific professional profiles recognised across Europe while addressing their different training needs. Based on the MVS defined for each target group, common underlying content will be adapted to cover topics and competencies for specific audiences.
  5. Lifelong learning through professional networks: OS is a quickly evolving domain and professionals need to refresh and update their competencies to work effectively. Skills4EOSC will harness professional and thematic networks of peers as vehicles for lifelong learning and for building and sustaining the EOSC-ready digitally skilled workforce.
  6. Skills4EOSC Competence Centre and support network - the creation of a broad network across Competence Centres are instrumental in aligning and sustaining the key outputs of the project (i.e. curricula, quality assurance and certification frameworks for skills and materials, professional networks, user support networks and ToT programmes) and to set up a user support network for the entire science workflow, ranging from FAIR data management tools, through data-intensive science and high-level techniques, including AI, up to the delivery of scientific results.