Upcoming Kikapu Webinar

The Library and the eResearch Office will be hosting a webinar that focuses on our Institutional Data Repository, Kikapu.

Kikapu is UWC’s online institutional research data repository. It is a versatile platform for publishing and accessing research data and scholarly outputs, and accepts a wide variety of non-traditional research outputs and file formats. Research data and any associated documents can be stored and shared in either primary or refined versions.

Read more about Kikapu.
The webinar will take place on Tuesday, 3 August from 11-12.

Introduction to Research Data Management and Kikapu

The webinar will cover the following:

Introduction to Research Data and Research Data Management (RDM):
– Publishing research data
– Open Access
– The FAIR Data Principles

Introduction to Kipaku – UWC’s Research Data Repository:
– Creating an account
– Uploading content (datasets)
– Publishing uploaded content (datasets)
– Citing published content
– Tracking record statistics

Register for the webinar.

Watch the NITheCS Roadshow at UWC

On 15 July, the eResearch Office hosted a NITheCS Roadshow at UWC titled ‘Transition from NITheP to NITheCS and how it can benefit your University‘. The session was moderated by eResearch Director Prof Mattia Vaccari, and Prof Francesco Petruccione (NITheCS Interim Director) gave a presentation and answered questions. Watch the video recording:

Prof Mattia Vaccari moderated the NITheCS Roadshow session last week.
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UWC eResearch Office partnering with FSNet-Africa project in interdisciplinary research on African food systems

Food Systems Research Network for Africa (FSNet-Africa) is a collaborative project between the University of Pretoria’s (UP) African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Food Systems, the University of Leeds (UoL) (United Kingdom), and the Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN).

FSNet-Africa is an ARUA – UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Research Excellence Project funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF); its major contribution to addressing the SDG challenges will be the focus on developing a new understanding of the African food system. It will aim to develop the FSNet-Africa Food Systems Framework and utilising systems-based methodologies to conduct research that enhances understanding of the framework’s components, their interactions, and ultimately the leverage points for food system transformation.

The Fellowship

Dr Frederic Isingizwe from the eResearch Office is one of UWC’s two recipients of the FSNet-Africa fellowship, a two-year research fellowship (July 2021 to June 2023) for early career researchers who are supported in their research to identify and evaluate climate-smart, nutrition-sensitive, poverty-reducing interventions in African food systems.

In addition to research project funding, fellows are supported through participation in a series of structured activities in science, mentorship and leadership development, and by establishing long term research networks, which currently involve ten African Universities and the University of Leeds. This will ensure that the fellows are positioned in the necessary enabling environment and provided with the opportunity to develop the necessary skills to implement impact focused interdisciplinary research related to African food systems and significantly advance their academic careers.

During the fellowship, each fellow will be assigned at least two mentors, from both African and UK universities. These carefully matched research-triads will be interdisciplinary teams that enable the fellows to receive the support they need to develop and implement quality interdisciplinary research projects. This will also create opportunities for fellows and mentors to build meaningful relationships with researchers outside of their own organisations, which can lead to longer term collaborations.

The Research

Understanding African food systems and developing evidence-based interventions to address gaps and systems failures is fundamental to achieving four critical food systems outcomes – nutritious food (safe and high-quality); equitable inclusive systems (social aspects e.g. gender); sustainable environmental approaches and efficient systems (economic considerations e.g. poverty reduction).

The fellows’ research will focus on a systems approach (rather than a discipline-specific approach) to understanding African food systems, whereby the conceptualisation recognises:
– that gender and poverty are cross-cutting issues, influencing not only labour, inputs and types of farming systems (supply), but also diets and food cultures (demand);
– formal and informal supply chains through which food moves from farm to consumer and the different actors and regulations that govern those chains (and the interactions between them);
– key emerging actors within the food systems, such as “agripreneurs” setting up businesses in the agri-sector, and critical drivers of change (e.g. urbanisation and the growing African middle class).

Frederic’s research in the fellowship will focus on developing data-driven solutions for the food supply chain. Aspects such as quality monitoring of agri-food products along the food chain and optimisation of supply chain processes will be the main focus. The project will aim to develop solutions that help improve quality, safety and reduce loss of food along the food chain.

NITheCS Roadshow at UWC

The eResearch Office will be hosting a NITheCS Roadshow at UWC titled ‘Transition from NITheP to NITheCS and how it can benefit your University‘. NITheCS, or the National Institute for Theoretical and Computational Sciences, was formerly known as NITheP, or the National Institute for Theoretical Physics. Its new name emphasizes its much-widened scope to supporting research, training and engagement across a wide range of fields. The session will be moderated by eResearch Director Prof Mattia Vaccari, and Prof Francesco Petruccione (NITheCS Interim Director) will give a presentation and answer questions.

Register here to attend the roadshow and see more details below.

REDCap Webinar Recording

On 6 July, the eResearch Office held a webinar on REDCap, a powerful tool for electronic data capture and management. The session was facilitated by Director of the eResearch Office Prof Vaccari, and included presentations from members of the eResearch Office, as well as two informative and inspiring presentations from UWC researchers who make regular use of REDCap for their research – Faheema Kimmie-Dhansay and Tamryn Frank.

REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is a browser-based, metadata-driven Electronic Data Capture (EDC) software and workflow methodology for designing clinical and translational research databases. It is widely used in the academic research community: the REDCap Consortium is a collaborative, international network of more than 2400 institutional partners in over 115 countries, with more than 590,000 total end-users employing the software for more than 450,000 ongoing research studies. REDCap users can benefit from a broad range of data collection functionality, and take control of their data collection work. It is a powerful tool for secure methods of flexible and robust data collection, and although it was originally developed for the Health Sciences, it can be used in any discipline.

Watch a recording of our REDCap webinar.

About our Guest Presenters

Faheema, a Biostatistician with qualifications in Dentistry and Clinical Epidemiology, is currently working at UWC’s dental faculty and is pursuing her PhD in the risk factors associated with the incidence of caries in children under 6. She has a special interest in the detection of caries in adults and children, alike, and is interested in statistical models analysing time-varying covariates.

Tamryn is a researcher at the UWC’s School of Public Health (SoPH). She works in the food environment policy space, in the field of obesity- and NCD prevention. This informs her current PhD research, which is in the area of obesity prevention policies in low income settings. She is currently serving on the research working group advising the South African National Department of Health on Front-of-Package labelling. Prior to joining the SoPH, Tamryn worked as a primary health care dietitian for eight years for the Department of Health. Her masters research focused on human rights and food security.

Upcoming REDCap Webinar: Take Control Of Electronic Data Capture And Workflow

The eResearch Office invites researchers and students to participate in a webinar on REDCap on Tuesday 6 July at 11am.

REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is a browser-based, metadata-driven Electronic Data Capture (EDC) software and workflow methodology for designing clinical and translational research databases. It is widely used in the academic research community: the REDCap Consortium is a collaborative, international network of more than 2400 institutional partners in over 115 countries, with more than 590,000 total end-users employing the software for more than 450,000 ongoing research studies.

REDCap users can benefit from a broad range of data collection functionality, and take control of their data collection work. It is a powerful tool for secure methods of flexible and robust data collection, and although it was originally developed for the Health Sciences, it can be used in any discipline.

The webinar will include an introduction to the REDCap platform and its main features, a demonstration on how REDCap data can be used for analysis and visualisation, as well as brief presentations of use cases by colleagues at UWC. We will conclude with questions directed at the panel.

We will also be addressing any UWC-specific related REDCap queries, and if there are any pressing questions that you would like to raise, please feel free to email us prior to the webinar at eresearch-support@uwc.ac.za

REDCAP Webinar Details

Date: Tuesday 6 July 
Time: 11:00 am
Register in advancehttps://uwc.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUrdO6gqD4oGtX-_HRfWxFJIhbVWq-tAQSU

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

We look forward to seeing you there.

NITheCS Colloquium: Prof Mattia Vaccari, The Ilifu Cloud Computing Facility & X-Informatics Data Intensive Research

Monday, 7 June, 4pm.

NITheCS (National Institute for Theoretical and Computational Sciences) is hosting a colloquium featuring UWC’s Director of the eResearch Office, Prof Mattia Vaccari.

Abstract

Over the past decade, the global science enterprise has been transformed by the data generating capabilities of our instruments. Distributed science collaborations creating datasets too large to manage for individual researchers are becoming the norm, and in response, X-Informatics, or the application of data science techniques to different science fields, has evolved into a new and exciting field of applied computer science. In this new big data era, institutions and national communities that have the capacity to design and implement the solutions to effectively extract knowledge from data will play a lead role in science. Those that do not, will not.

The Ilifu project was set up to address this challenge in Astroinformatics and Bioinformatics. Ilifu is building cross-disciplinary teams to undertake research and development in technologies and big data science to build capacity for South African researchers to be globally competitive in the era of big data.

In this presentation, Prof Vaccari will talk about Ilifu, its partnership model, goals and research programs, with a particular focus on multi-wavelength galaxy evolution studies, and outline a vision for a federated South African Data Intensive Research Cloud that empowers researchers to work with and collaborate on big data science projects.

Register for the event, or read more.

Five Years of FAIR

The Future of FAIR

Five years since the formal publication of the FAIR data principles, a newly published white paper, Springer Nature’s The Future of FAIR, looks at the real-world impact of FAIR. An international cohort of research data professionals share their opinions and offer commentary on the impact of the FAIR data principles to date, as well as what the next steps in research data management are.

Varsha Khodiyar on the Springboard blog writes that the “burgeoning open science (or open research) movement aims to make public and charity funded research as transparent and accessible as possible, and available for use to all to use, extend and build on. Research data is central to this vision, and to many policies and initiatives launched in recent years encouraging the adoption of open science practices. The impact of the FAIR data concept on open science advocates, position statements, policies and funding opportunities is unmistakable”.

Read more about the FAIR data principles, find out more about the study, and download The Future of FAIR white paper.

Webinar: RDM Tools available at UWC and Unpacking UWC’s RDM Policy

On Wednesday 21 April, a webinar was hosted by the eResearch Office and UWC Library, titled RDM Tools available at UWC and Unpacking UWC’s RDM Policy.

Mark Snyders, Manager of Scholarly Communication at the Library, spoke in detail about UWCs new RDM Policy, and how it affects researchers at UWC. Sarah Schäfer, Research Data Specialist at the eResearch Office presented on the different RDM tools and resources that are available to the UWC research community.

The session was hosted by eResearch Office Director, Prof Mattia Vaccari and Deputy Director of UWC Library Services Alfred Nqotole. The presentations were followed by questions and a discussion.

Please send any further questions to rdm-support@uwc.ac.za

Watch a recording of the webinar.

SKIES

SKIES (SKilled, Innovative and Entrepreneurial Scientists) is an EU-funded project launched at the beginning of March. It aims to provide PhD and young doctoral researchers in the field of astronomy with new transferable skills for academia and industry, integrating open science, social innovation and entrepreneurship topics.

Leiden University in the Netherlands is leading the project, and local PI Dr Lucia Marchetti (from UCT’s Astronomy department) is the lead for the South African involvement of the initiative. eResearch Director and Astroinformatics Research Professor Mattia Vaccari is involved in the project too, along with SARAO. The project will run for 18 months.

“While an advanced degree in STEM subjects has long been an excellent basis for a career e.g. in the tech industry, most graduates still have to pick up additional skills along the way. The SKIES project aims to bridge this gap by enabling Astronomy PhD students to build upon their strengths to develop into well-rounded scientists and professionals. This is particularly important for SA in the increasingly global talent search of the 4IR era”, says Prof Vaccari.

SKIES will be implemented in astronomy research organisations around the world, including South Africa, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland and Portugal, reaching 500 astronomy graduate students and young researchers. A Train-the-Trainer programme will build the capacity of the teaching staff in each partner country so that they have the knowledge and tools to continue the programme beyond the lifetime of the project.

“I am thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity to our PhD candidates. Their astronomy training already provides them many theoretical skills they can apply into a job outside academia, like programming and problem-solving. With this training, we will now show them how they can best exploit and translate their knowledge into a job beyond astronomy. In this way we will ensure that all our astronomy students are fully equipped for whichever path they decide to take after their PhD”, says local PI Dr Lucia Marchetti.

Madagascar Astronomy Python Workshop 2017. Credit: IAU Office of Astronomy for Development archive
Madagascar Astronomy Python Workshop 2017. Credit: IAU Office of Astronomy for Development archive

“The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) supports this exciting collaboration, which gives doctoral students the necessary skills for a smoother transition from academia to industry. It is expected that the SKIES project will lead to increased employability of doctoral students in industry or through entrepreneurship, who will be effectively working on high-impact areas to benefit broader society on the African continent. We look forward to implementing this training and development opportunity with our South African and European partners.”, says Dr Bonita de Swardt, SARAO Programme Manager: Strategic Partnerships for Human Capital Development.

The project summary can be viewed here.