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NFDI- National research data infrastructure


The current pandemic showcases the importance of cooperative science: In order to understand the global implications of Covid-19 for physical and mental health, for the economy, the climate, and traffic, different disciplines have to join their research efforts.

In order to do so, scientists need access to data that is freely available and has as much consistency in formatting as possible. At the same time, it is essential to store data securely in order to prevent misuse or unwanted publication. The development of a German National Research Data Infrastructure, NFDI in short, is supposed to manage these tasks. Among their key tasks will be the systematic organization of data according to the FAIR data principle: They have to be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. In 2016, the German Council for Scientific Information Infrastructures recommended setting up such an infrastructure. The project was then initiated by the Joint Science Conference (GWK). Federal and state governments in Germany will invest up to 90 million Euro annually into the ambitious project over the course of ten years.

NFDI at U Bremen Research Alliance

In order to reach the ambitious goal of a common national infrastructure for research data of all disciplines, so-called consortia were formed in a first step. They are unions of universities, extramural research institutes, and other players. Next to the aforementioned securing and processing of research data, it is their task to connect and network with international initiatives such as the European Open Science Cloud. Scientists from the U Bremen Research Alliance are collaborators in the following consortia of the first two funding rounds:

First Round:

These cover the fields of biodiversity research, health, engineering, and social, behavioral, and educational sciences as well as economics.

Second Round:

These cover the fields of Earth System Sciences, Data Science, AI-Science, Computer Science, Materials Science & Materials Engineering and Microbiology.

Online Discussion held on September 09, 2020

The goal of building the German National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) is to systematically establish, sustainably secure, and make accessible databases from science and research as well as connecting them (inter)nationally (compare DFG:

However, will the archiving and the provision of data in a national and international context truly lead to cooperative science and an increase in knowledge?

In order to facilitate sustainable and highly cooperative science, it seems inevitable to ensure a lived international interoperability in the NFDI that improves cognitive abilities, contributes to the opening of new research fields, and creates an increase in scientific knowledge next to the multidisciplinary storing of data. Does the perspective of the establishment of the NFDI lie in the ‘scientific core discipline’ of data science, as phrased by the German Informatics Society? Do the exchange and the combination of research data additionally require an ethical philosophical discourse and, consequently, new general guidelines?

These questions were part of the discussion presented by Jan-Martin Wiarda between Sabine Brünger-Weilandt, Professor York Sure-Vetter, Professor Iris Pigeot, Professor Frank Oliver Glöckner, and Professor Rolf Drechsler, who also answered audience questions. You can find the video and audio recordings on this page.

Watch the online discussion here:

This video is a recording of the discussion.

Podcast: Discussion of the German National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI)

180 MB
Podcast: Discussion of the German National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) Listen to the audio recording of the discussion as a podcast. You can also download the audio file.
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