Data Steward education - coordination or competition?

1-day conference gathering academia, industry and public sector on the 4th of October 2019 at Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen.
Illustration showing a data steward holding a tray

Data Stewards are an acutely needed “humanware” in the labour market. The Data Steward is the interface between infrastructure and applications (data) and processes and staff (culture) in organisations of the 21st century. Different educational approaches to data stewardship certification already exist internationally within industry, but are still early-stage initiatives at universities.

This conference explored the interest for a nationally coordinated effort towards assessing the demand for Data Stewards in Denmark and aims for valuable input from industry, universities and the public sector. Discussions and conclusions from the conference will be detailed in a final report and made available as a framework for all educational institutions and programmes, wishing to prequalify a potentially national accredited data stewardship education in Denmark.

Data stewardship in research and data intensive organisations  

Professionalization of data stewardship can lift goals of data governance, as organisations are accountable for their compliance with requirements from regulatory frameworks concerning responsible management of data in, e.g. terms of customer services, GDPR and it-security.  Data Stewards also have an important role as facilitators of FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) data, which is key to the future of data-driven research and enterprises producing data and services enforcing both the realization of the vision for the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and an Internet of FAIR Data Services (IFDS). This applies for organizations of all sorts - in academia, industry as well as in the public sector.

The above set of actions must be managed professionally throughout the life cycle of data. The Data Steward in collaboration with other key persons in the organisation (data managers, DPOs, researchers and IT staff) becomes a liason, who accounts for well-documented data and processes that ensure effective control and use of data assets according to internal policies and current law. The ultimate goal is dependable, high quality data that the organization can reap value from.

Conference programme & slides

The conference programme featured an international keynote speaker, leading edge implementations of FAIR data stewardship in life sciences, discussions on data stewardship within researcher communities, experiences from the potential market of data stewardship within industry and national initiatives from public sector and universities. Finally, the conference invited to an open discussion among the audience and invited speakers on the state of Data Stewardship education in Denmark and beyond. 

The conference was in English and open to all that have an interest in data stewardship, data management, FAIR data, e.g. data management professionals, researchers, administrators and funders. Participation was free of charge and included lunch, morning coffee and light refreshments in the afternoon.

The conference was organised by the National Forum for Data Management (DM Forum) as part of the interinstitutional project: National Coordination of Data Stewardship in Denmark. The project has also compiled a comprehensive: Data Stewardship bibliography. You can read more about the DM Forum activities here.

For more details, please contact special adviser Michael Svendsen.