Free online IEA course offers essential data management and research sharing skills

Free online IEA course offers essential data management and research sharing skills

The Institute for Environmental Analytics (IEA) has recently officially launched its Data Tree online course to help students gain research data management skills and learn techniques for sharing the outcomes of their research with end users such as business, policymakers and the public.

The course was developed and built by a team from the IEA, based at the University of Reading, in conjunction with Reading-based not-for-profit social enterprise Stats for Sustainable Development (Stats4SD).

The eResearch Centre's Professor David Wallom and Professor Susanna-Assunta Sansone contributed their knowledge through video interviews that shed light on topics such as FAIR data.

This free course has been funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) through the National Productivity Investment Fund, part of the UK's Industrial Strategy, to help PhD students build excellent data management and communication skills that give the results of their research greater long-term value and usability. More than 400 students have signed up already and are well on the way to completing the course.

View the course trailer.

Vicky Lucas from the IEA, who led the project, said: "Research data should play a central role in shaping future environmental strategies in business, innovation, policymaking and informing end users, but to do that it needs to be well-managed and effectively shared. In Data Tree we've created a free resource to encourage scientists to share data underpinning their research and communicate the outcomes of the work to a range of audiences.

"It's fitting that we're launching the full course during the Government's first Green GB Week, as the skills learned and research carried out by early career scientists will form the foundation of environmental development and clean growth in the UK for years to come."

Data Tree is designed for Environmental Science PhD students and early career researchers and offers essential advice on research data management and sharing, data visualisation techniques and tips for communicating research data to end users such as businesses and policy makers. It includes modules on working with data centres such as NERC and how to create research data management plans.

Ben Williams, Program Manager at NERC, commented: "NERC is excited to have funded the development of an online training resource. It is a more flexible, user-friendly way of learning and we hope that it will prove a valuable tool for students who want to get into good data management habits to support their research. We encourage all our students to take the course as part of their doctoral training programme and think it will be valuable for many early career researchers".