The Dynamic Brain Circuits Cluster Databinge team has been awarded a Data Champions Pilot Project grant from the Digital Research Alliance of Canada to expand its Databinge program beyond the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health (DMCBH).

The Digital Research Alliance of Canada serves Canadian researchers, with the objective of advancing Canada’s position as a leader in the knowledge economy on the international stage. In particular, the Alliance’s Data Champions Pilot Project aims to promote a shift in data culture within the Canadian digital research infrastructure (DRI) ecosystem by promoting sound research data management (RDM) practices.

Currently, Databinge consists of a group of graduate student peer tutors and undergraduate open science specialists who support the adoption of Open Science and RDM practices. Activities include a variety of workshops, tutorials, programming courses, interactive sessions and weekly meetings where students, staff and faculty are welcome to come present and discuss their data related challenges.

Building on the program’s current success, this grant will help to create a distributed, multi-site, student and peer driven network of data champions at Vancouver General Hospital’s ICORD (International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries) spinal cord injury research centre, the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute (BCCHRI) and the University of Victoria (UVic). The pilot project will provide key insights into the feasibility of creating a nationally-scalable Databinge network and inform future national Data Champions initiatives.

Led by DMCBH members Drs. Tim Murphy and Paul Pavlidis, the project team includes research associate Jeff LeDue, BCCHRI graduate students Will Casazza and Nikita Telkar, ICORD graduate students Michael Cong and Megan Pawluk, and UVic graduate student Hannah Reid.

In addition, current Brain Circuits Undergraduate Open Science Specialists Sayeh Oloumi Yazdi and George Hannam, along with Brain Circuits Peer Tutors Abhijit Chinchani, Pankaj Gupta, Peter Hogg, Adrian Lindsay, Nick Michelsen and Kaitlin Sullivan play a key role in the program’s success.

“Databinge is facilitated by students, making it an excellent training and learning experience,” says LeDue. “They gain invaluable experience in communicating and working with other scientists, which will positively impact them in other academic or scientific settings.”

With this expansion, the Databinge team will also partner with the UBC Graduate Program in Neuroscience to create a “Topics in Neuroscience” course with the intention to develop modular pilot courses including a module on Open Science and Research Data Management.

Ultimately, the Canadian research community is striving to broaden its DRI ecosystem and instill RDM practices as the norm. Embedding these practices as part of the graduate curriculum and expanding Databinge to new sites is an important part of driving this cultural change.