The Proposed NRDP
The goal of the National Research Data Programme is to encourage transformative change in New Zealand researcher and research institutions’ baseline ability to work with data and employ digital methods. The scale and complexity of this goal requires a coordinated approach that can bring together the complexities of technology, skills, policy and partners in a cohesive, durable fashion.
What the Programme would do, the intermediate objectives, is focus on understanding and implementing the necessary infrastructure and underpinning services that support our research efforts (i.e. NSCs) and enable an effective, impactful research system to achieve our strategic science priorities. We expect the NRDP to be structured as a series of distinct, inter-related, whole-of-sector projects, each focused on a particular data objective, and each with a supporting business case. To make progress, we think a cross-sector, Government-led Programme Implementation Office will be the best approach for scoping NRDP projects and delivering coordinated outcomes for New Zealand.
We think we have a window over the next 5 – 7 years to lift digital research capabilities in New Zealand. Acting across this time period will lower the impact of technology change on the Programme, and ensure capacity and investment in the research sector align with the complementary lift in capabilities and standards across Government and the wider economy.
The NRDP is proposed as an intervention with limited goals, and a limited life-span, as means of addressing the scale of the challenge and the need for coordination. This is particularly relevant given current Government focus on New Zealand’s data future, the role of data in managing our national assets (e.g. infrastructure, or archives) and the ability of the public services to transform into digital enterprises.
As a programme of activity, the proposed Programme needs to operate against a set of intermediate outcomes that support achievement of the goal. For the New Zealand research system, we think an implemented National Research Data Programme could:
- Enable higher quality research through a lift in the standards of research, in particular increasing the sophistication and competence in data intensive and digital methods of research, leading to:
- Better use of the resources and data available to them;
- Greater collaboration and access to larger scale resources, and
- Increased participation in internationally funded research.
- Create stronger links between research, government, and industry, to support social and economic development and public sector activities, and in particular contribute to the impact of the National Science Challenges.
- Elevate NZ research sector participation in international / world class research and publishing, and encourage the leaders of our research institutions to engage with global trends in technology driven research.
- Move our research sector beyond funding limited scope projects, towards developing a national capability to sustain a stock of knowledge.