ARDC Skills: Leading the National Digital Research Skills Agenda

Our skilled workforce team is leading the digital research skills agenda in Australia.
A lecture room full of people talking to one another

Banner image: ARDC Digital Research Skills Summit 2019

The Australian research community needs advanced digital research skills to use and manipulate data to its full potential. To ensure researchers succeed, the ARDC Skilled Workforce Program has a broad ambition: seeking to bring partners, lead agencies, peak bodies and other stakeholders together to create and implement a National Digital Research Skills Agenda.

The Skilled Workforce Program partners with the people who train researchers at universities and institutions around Australia. Working together, we establish and nurture communities of practice. The objective is to lead discussion and active planning to develop a national skills agenda that focuses on coordination, collaboration, partnerships and sustainable outcomes.

On the ground, our role is to boost skills development in strategically important areas like cloud computing, machine learning, and data modelling. Solid grounding in these areas are what will give Australian researchers a competitive edge through data.

In this article, we will:

  • Introduce our skills and workforce development team
  • Share our digital research skills strategy
  • Encourage you to participate in the ARDC Digital Research Skills Summit on 13 October 2021.

Our Skilled Workforce Team

A photo of Kathryn Unsworth

The ARDC is excited to announce the appointment of Kathryn Unsworth to lead the ARDC Skilled Workforce team. Kathryn is an experienced data librarian and trainer, previously holding positions at ARDC, CSIRO and ANDS.

Kathryn said: “Coming into the dedicated skills role at ARDC has opened up many new and exciting challenges to tackle and opportunities to explore. A stand out is working with leaders in the skills community and the affordance to lead and collaborate on skills initiatives that have national scale impacts.”

A photo of Liz Stokes

Liz Stokes, Research Data Skills Specialist

Liz draws on her data librarian experience in research data management to inform skills and capability development of the research support sector. Liz is a certified instructor trainer for The Carpentries and brings her trademark enthusiasm to community development and engagement. “I love making connections and bringing together friendly strangers with shared goals. Attention to the social dimension of skill development is so important, especially in virtual collaborations,” said Liz.

A photo of Matthias Liffers

Matthias Liffers, Research Software Skills Specialist

Matthias has a background in computer science and informatics. He is a certified instructor trainer for The Carpentries and strongly believes that software should be considered a first-class scholarly output along with journal papers and datasets. He works on national programs to develop software skills in researchers and research support staff.

A photo of Sonia Ramza

Sonia Ramza, Cloud Skills Specialist

Sonia supports onboarding and upskilling of researchers using the

ARDC Nectar Research Cloud. Sonia is excited to be helping researchers to learn new skills on Nectar, which will lead to new computational possibilities that can’t be achieved using standard computers.

Contact our skills team via our online form.

Our Digital Research Skills Strategy

As a lead partner in digital research skills collaborations, we leverage our partners and training providers to guide key skills and workforce development initiatives in the ARDC’s focus areas. This coordinated approach involves co-developing the training infrastructure, encouraging shareable training materials, and motivating key communities to take leadership in this space.

Our 4 areas of focus are:

1. Creating a portal for digital research skills training in Australia

We’re collaborating to create a national training portal. The portal will help Australian researchers, research support staff and trainers access events, trainers, and development resources related to leading edge digital research technologies and techniques. Contact us to get involved and help test the portal.

2. Developing national skills materials

We are working with the digital research training community to improve national coordination of collaborative skills materials development. We leverage local and international expertise in the digital research skills sector to provide opportunities for discovery, development and delivery of digital research and data skills activities and materials.

3. Building communities

We lead, facilitate and guide the development of national skills communities that connect practitioners with international and local collaborations to enable the mutual transfer of knowledge and expertise.

4. National skills advantage

Our coverage of the Australian research sector’s digital skills and capabilities enables our partners to provide the best mix of training solutions to Australian researchers. We draw on local and international networks to facilitate targeted and accessible pathways for researchers and research support professionals to attain relevant data skills.

ARDC Digital Research Skills Summit — 13 October 2021

A key activity in our Skills program is the annual ARDC Digital Research Skills Summit. The ARDC Skills Summit is a free event that brings together the digital research skills community to share best-practice and guide strategy, providing a necessary forum for skills communities to network, exchange knowledge, build skills, share new initiatives, celebrate success and work together on common challenges.

The ARDC Skills Summit will be held on 13 October 2021, concurrently with the eResearch Australasia Conference, creating new and exciting collaboration opportunities within the research support community.

Sessions at the ARDC Skills Summit will include:

  • announcements on national initiatives such as the launch of the portal registry for digital research skills training in Australia
  • reports on key activities and deliverables, and new directions for ARDC Skills Summit Working Groups
  • community action sessions to identify and prioritise emerging challenges and opportunities for the national skills training community, to define and plan activities for the year ahead.

Who is the ARDC Skills Summit for?

The ARDC Skills Summit is for trainers, training program managers, researchers who train, organisation directors, policy makers, infrastructure managers and all those involved in digital infrastructure training programs at a local or national level.

Note: ARDC Skills Summit attendees should come prepared to contribute their expertise as the event is about active participation.

How to register

For those attending the eResearch Australasia Conference, the ARDC Skills Summit is included in your registration fee. Registration is open now.

A one day registration for attending the ARDC Skills Summit on Wednesday, 13 October at the eResearch Australasia Conference will also be available shortly. Watch the registration page for updates.

If you attended the ARDC Skills Summit in 2020 and you would like to attend again in 2021, you may be eligible for a free one-day registration to the eResearch Australasia conference on Wednesday 13 October 21 thanks to the ARDC. Please contact us to be added to our mailing list for this event.

Learn more about the ARDC Skilled Workforce agenda.

The ARDC is funded through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) to support national digital research infrastructure for Australian researchers.