Partnerships key to eResearch success: reflections on eResearch by Director of Oxford eResearch Centre, David De Roure

21 Dec 2015 - 10:45

Director of Oxford e-Research Centre, David De Roure recently visited the University of Cape Town as part of a move towards greater collaboration between UCT eResearch and the University of Oxford. After the visit De Roure said he is “hugely impressed” by what is happening in the eResearch space at UCT.

For De Roure, partnerships are key to eResearch success. The Oxford e-Research Centre will be celebrating its tenth anniversary next year. “It was one of the original centres set up by the United Kingdom’s (UK) e-Science programme,” says De Roure. “Today Oxford eResearch stands out in the UK as the centre that has sustained broad multidisciplinary engagement across the university and beyond.”

“I think the reason for the success at the Oxford centre is that we function as a collaborative hub bringing people together from all over the university. This success relies on key partnerships with stakeholders, particularly the libraries and the university’s IT Services.”

He notes that these partnerships are in place for UCT eResearch, which he believes give it a powerful advantage. “As ever this comes down to the people. Clearly the important propositions and conversations are happening with articulation of the benefits, constructive reception and consolidated thinking.”

He also notes the importance of the relationships and collaboration with other universities in South Africa.

UCT eResearch and the Oxford e-Research Centre are in talks to strengthen collaboration with other universities. “Going forward I think there is value all round in keeping the international conversations going, especially figuring out what this means on the ground in terms of sharing experience and practice, and also sharing expertise and opportunities,” he says.

De Roure took over as director of the e-Research Centre in 2012. He also serves as institutional lead for Digital Humanities at Oxford; is an advisor to the Economic and Social Research Council and Professor of e-Science. His visit included a meet and greet with eResearch stakeholders, a visit to the UCT Libraries to get a better understanding of the development of the digital humanities at UCT and also a visit to the Department of Economics to learn more about some of the ‘big data’ projects in the social sciences at UCT.