26 January 2022

Redefining data management for materials researchers

Data Management for Materials Researchers, a one-day Henry Royce Institute workshop, connected 150 people virtually to address challenges researchers face in current data management practises.

Text reads Workshop: Data Management for Materials Researchers

Data Management for Materials Researchers, which took place on 14th January 2022, was attended virtually by around 150 people in a one-day Henry Royce Institute workshop. 

The workshop focused on a number of key objectives:

  • To bring together the wider community to discuss the importance of data acquisition, storage, analysis and sharing in materials science context
  • To promote the sharing of examples of good practice between attendees
  • To begin to formulate a list of requirements/actions for the community to enable better data management practices.

The event was introduced by Dr. Ed Pickering, Royce Research Area Lead for Advanced Metals Processing (AMP), followed by Co-Chairs Dr. Chris Race and Prof. João Fonseca, who outlined the present challenges in the area, and the aims and structure of the workshop. The day was supported by Dr. Kathy Christofidou, Royce at the University of Sheffield Technology Platform Lead; Dr. Doyin Mansell; and Dr. Ed Pickering acting as Moderators.


Discussions focused on a number of important strategic areas including: 

  • Why should data management be important to materials science researchers?
  • What should they capture?
  • How should they be stored?

The afternoon's agenda focused on examples of good practice in data management, with speakers exploring how we should store our research data, and indeed, when should we delete them? 

The workshop concluded with discussions around:

  • Should all data be shared?
  • If so, when and where?
  • What cultural changes are needed to facilitate our data management ambitions?

In response to the Data Management Workshop, Dr. Ed Pickering shared:

“We were delighted to see so many from the advanced materials community coming together to understand more and to discuss this pressing area, which is of increasing importance to materials researchers”.

“The next step is to produce a summary of the main discussion points and a list of actions for the community to consider in order to improve our data management practices; this may include actions for researchers, academic supervisors, institutions, and funding bodies.  We look forward to moving the dial on this important dimension of our work.”


A huge thanks goes to all the speakers of which made the day possible including: Andrew Steward; Richard Broadbent; Ben Thomas; Joe Kelleher; Adam Plowman; Tim Dodwell; Chris Race; James Kermode; Dr. Alice Pyne, Head of the Royce Discovery Centre Nanocharacterisation Lab, University of Sheffield; Bill Ayres; Norman Paton; and Sandra Korte-Kerzel. Many thanks to Poppy Robinson and Emmanuel Adebayo for assistance in setting up the event. 

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