CarpentryConnect South Africa 2021

Registration is now open for CarpentryConnect South Africa 2021! 

The Carpentries is a non-profit organisation that teaches foundational computational, coding, and data science skills to academics, students and academic support staff worldwide. Carpentries workshops have been running at South African public universities and research institutions to hundreds of learners since 2014, and almost 100 instructors have been trained to teach digital and computational concepts to novices.

The first South African CarpentryConnect took place in Johannesburg, South Africa in September 2018. The second will be held virtually and will bring together newer and more experienced community members to share knowledge, network, develop new skills, and develop strategies for building strong local communities around digital and computational literacy at universities. Workshop fees and mobile data for African participants are funded by Code for Science and Society Event Fund

We invite participants to register for the following events:

Data Carpentry: 6-10 September, 9:00-13:00 SAST. This is an introduction to R, designed for participants with no programming experience. Lessons begin with some basic information about R syntax and the RStudio interface, and then move through how to import CSV files, the structuring of data frames, how to deal with factors, how to add/remove rows and columns and how to calculate summary statistics from a data frame. The lessons also touch on plotting, which is an excellent introduction to data visualisation. Space is limited to 25 learners. Register here.

Instructor training: 13-17 September, 9:00-13:00 SAST. The Carpentries workshops are taught by trained, peer, volunteer instructors. All of our Instructors complete an Instructor Training program, which teaches instructional pedagogy as well as the practicalities of teaching a Carpentries workshop. Instructors can teach workshops in their local area, travel to teach or teach or teach online. We have held workshops in over 40 countries on every continent (including Antarctica). Space is limited to 20 learners. Register here. *Please use the code “ccza43”.

Other events include:

Keynote: CarpentryConnect South Africa’s blurb in 2021 will be delivered by Dr Kari L. Jordan, Executive Director at The Carpentries on Monday 6 September at 14:00 SAST. Register here.

Networking events: The CarpentryConnect South Africa organising team will also host two networking events (Tuesday 7 and Thursday 16 September at 14:00 SAST) for our Carpentries community. These will be great opportunities to connect with like-minded people in fun, collaborative and interactive online events. Register here.

Closing: On Friday 17 September at 14:00 SAST we would like to create a space for community members to offer feedback and lessons learned on CarpentryConnect South Africa 2021 at the end of the two weeks. Register here.

For more information visit 

Please note: While the event is fully funded by the organisers you will be held liable for a R500 attendance fee should you fail to attend without cancelling more than 48 hours prior.

Research Opportunity Announcement: Data Generation Projects for the Bridge to Artificial Intelligence (Bridge2AI) Program

The NIH (US National Institute of Health) Common Fund’s Bridge to Artificial Intelligence (Bridge2AI) program is designed to help propel biomedical research forward by setting the stage for widespread adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) that tackles complex biomedical challenges beyond human intuition. It is a new NIH Common Fund program, and will tap into the power of AI to lead the way toward insights that can ultimately inform clinical decisions and individualize care. AI, which encompasses many methods, including modern machine learning (ML), offers potential solutions to many challenges in biomedical and behavioral research.

The Bridge2AI program plans to support several interdisciplinary Data Generation Projects (OTA-21-008) and one complementary cross-cutting Integration, Dissemination and Evaluation (BRIDGE) Center (NOT-RM-21-021) to generate flagship data sets and best practices for the collection and preparation of AI/ML-ready data to address biomedical and behavioral research grand challenges. 

It also plans to support the formation of teams richly diverse in perspectives, backgrounds, and academic and technical disciplines. The current Research Opportunity Announcement (ROA) for Data Generation Projects for the Bridge to Artificial Intelligence (Bridge2AI) Program (OT2) (OTA-21-008) requires a Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives (PEDP)—a summary of strategies to advance the scientific and technical merit of the proposed project(s) through inclusivity. Visit the Bridge2AI Program Resources page and Program FAQs for additional information on building diverse teams and for PEDP guidance.    To facilitate team building across communities and ensure responsiveness of proposals, NIH strongly encourages potential proposers to participate in the Grand Challenge Team Building Activities taking place in June 2021, please save the date for these upcoming events:    

Bridge2AI Program Town Hall
June 9, 2021
2:00-3:30pm ET
Bridge2AI Data Generation Project Module Microlabs
June 14, 16, and 18, 2021
2:00-4:00pm ET each day
Bridge2AI Grand Challenge Team Building Expo
June 23, 2021
11:00am-5:00pm ET

Further information about how to register and participate in these events, as well as an online networking platform, will be coming soon. Please check the Bridge2AI Scientific Meetings page for updates.    Please refer to the research opportunity announcement (OTA-21-008) for additional information on application submission and review. A Letter of Intent (LOI) is required, LOIs must be emailed to by 11:59 PM ET on or before July 20, 2021.   We encourage you to share the Bridge2AI listserv signup with your contacts and networks so they will receive updates on future funding announcements and the latest news from the Bridge2AI program. You can also keep up to date with the latest information by visiting the Bridge2AIwebsite. Questions can be sent to

Read more about the vision for this new program in a recent NLM Director’s blog

Research Data Management Short Course

H3ABioNet (Pan African Bioinformatics Network for the Human Heredity and Health in Africa) is offering a short course in Research Data Management (RDM) in June 2021. The course is aimed at graduate students and biomedical scientists who are currently working on clinical genomics and bioinformatics projects in Africa, and registration closes on 24 May. It will take place over four days from 22-25 June from 10:00 to 14:00.

About the Course

The Research Data Management (RDM) short course will introduce the principles and practices of RDM and provide practical advice for implementing these practices in an African research context. Nicky Mulder is Principal investigator of H3ABioNet, and leads UCT’s Computational Biology (CBIO) group which is an ilifu partner.

Topics covered will include data discovery and re-use, data documentation and organization, data standards and Ontology, data storage and security, repositories and policies, FAIR & reproducibility and best practices in developing an effective Data Management Plan.

After the course, participants should be able to:

  1. Understand what research data management is;
  2. Recognize why research data management is necessary;
  3. Understand best practices and aspects for research data management; and
  4. Have knowledge of the RDM tools available at your institution and online.

The course will only provide a foundation for continued learning in research data management and will not teach any advanced RDM aspects. 

Find out more and apply.

UWC’s first Data Carpentry Workshop of 2021

From 12-16 April, the eResearch Office hosted UWC’s first Data Carpentry workshop of 2021. It was an online workshop held over five mornings, and was attended by over 20 researchers. The workshop was aimed at students and researchers who want to start learning how to work with their data, and was sponsored by SADiLaR.

The eResearch Office promotes and supports the use of advanced information technologies to enable better, faster and higher-impact research, and we hope to grow the Carpentries community at UWC.

Data Carpentry develops and teaches workshops on the fundamental data skills needed to conduct research. Its target audience is researchers who have little to no prior computational experience, and its lessons are domain specific, building on learners’ existing knowledge to enable them to quickly apply skills learned to their own research. Participants are encouraged to help one another and to apply what they have learned to their own research problems.

Lessons included data organising and cleaning in spreadsheets and with OpenRefine, and data analysis and visualisation with R and RStudio. 

Please contact if you would like to be added to the UWC Carpentries mailing list.

Carpentries Instructor Training Workshop

North-West University (NWU) is hosting a Carpentries Instructor Training online workshop on 17-21 May 2021. Interested applicants can apply through the website.

The Carpentries project comprises communities of Instructors, Trainers, Maintainers, helpers, and supporters from Software CarpentryData Carpentry and Library Carpentry who share a mission to teach foundational computational and data science skills.

The workshop aims to:

  • Introduce participants to evidence-based best-practices of teaching.
  • Teach participants how to create a positive environment for learners at workshops.
  • Provide opportunities to practice and build teaching skills.
  • Help participants become integrated into the Carpentries community.
  • Prepare participants to use the teaching skills in teaching Carpentries workshops.

The training is free, although, in order to avoid attendee space being wasted, a penalty will be imposed on applicants who commit to the workshop and miss it.

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

Date : 21 April 2021, 11:00 – 12:00

Mark Snyders – Manager Scholarly Communication, UWC Library
Sarah Schäfer – Research Data Specialist, UWC eResearch Office,

For the Q & A session, presenters will be joined by Mattia Vaccari (Director, UWC eResearch Office) and Alfred Nqotole (Deputy Director, UWC Library Services).

Audience:  UWC Researchers – Staff and Postgraduate Students

Research data is the core of any research project, and its value can extend well beyond the initial project. Research data can also vary from highly confidential health data to publicly available statistics. Sharing research data can have many benefits such as developing further research, increased opportunities for collaboration and research impact. Research data, therefore, has to be managed with care and should adhere to established and institutional guidelines to protect not only the data, but also the rights of research subjects, researchers, research institutions and owners of research data. This webinar will focus on the guidelines provided by the UWC Research Data Policy that guides the management of UWC research data.

In recent years there has been a global increasing focus on Research Data Management (RDM), and on the secure storage and open sharing of research data. Institutions and funders have made clear strides toward identifying where and how research data is stored and how access to it is managed. In line with UWC’s new Research Data Management  Policy (section 13 of the Research Policy), all research data generated at the University are managed and curated to support the institution’s aspirations of a research–intensive university. In order to achieve this, the UWC research community can make use of various RDM tools. 

The webinar will briefly introduce some of the various RDM tools that are available to all UWC students and staff and are relevant to ensuring that RDM needs are met: 

  • Kikapu, UWC’s Institutional Research Data Repository. Kikapu provides a data storage facility where research data can be securely stored, shared and managed. 
  • REDCap, a web-based research productivity tool, empowers researchers to take control of their data collection and other research workflows. 
  • Data Management Plans (DMPs), written documents that describe and outline how data will be acquired, managed, described, analysed, stored, preserved and shared in the course of a research project. These documents should evolve with a research project, and develop as the project progresses. No two DMPs are the same, and elements vary from broad descriptions to very technical details.  

Zoom link for registration:

Postdoctoral Fellowship at IBM Research Africa Lab

IBM Research Africa invites applications for postdoctoral positions to be held at the IBM Research Lab in South Africa, seeking outstanding candidates who obtained their doctoral degrees within the last five years. Applicants who are currently finalising their doctoral dissertations for examination may apply, provided that they will submit by 31 July 2021. The positions are tenable for eight months between May and December 2021.

Read more about the opportunity.