NFDI4Microbiota selected in second round of NFDI calls – DFG to fund research data infrastructure for microbiology
NFDI4Microbiota is set to become part of Germany’s national research data infrastructure (NFDI). In May 2021, a panel of experts recommended that the consortium should receive NFDI funding – and now the Joint Science Conference (GWK) has given its approval. The National Research Data Infrastructure for Microbiota Research – to give the consortium its full title – will receive funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG) over a five-year period. NFDI4Microbiota’s mission is to support the microbiology research community in Germany by providing access to data, data analysis tools, and data and metadata standards, as well as a comprehensive range of training programmes.
“In our vision of the future, microbiology researchers will easily be able to translate existing research data into a deep understanding of microbial species and their molecular-level interactions,” says the consortium’s spokesman, Professor Konrad Förstner from ZB MED – Information Centre for Life Sciences. The consortium’s spokeswoman, Professor Alice McHardy from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), is enthusiastic about what lies ahead: “We’re delighted that we can now turn our vision into reality as part of the NFDI. By offering new platforms and services for research data, we see exciting opportunities to support researchers’ work in the fields of bacteriology, virology, protistology, mycology and parasitology.”
The consortium has set itself ten key tasks for the next five years. These include providing access to tools and infrastructure, developing training interventions, working on standardisation, promoting a cultural shift towards FAIR and open source within the community, and building networks within the NFDI and the broader international research community. Improving research processes in microbiology – for example by introducing professional data stewards and by mobilising, structuring and linking data – is a key goal of the partners in the consortium. They aim to offer various services and solutions to achieve this, all of which will be regularly assessed and adapted to ensure they meet the current and future challenges faced by the microbiology research community.
The consortium consists of ten co-applicants and more than 50 participating institutions and is represented by the leadership duo of Professor Alice McHardy and Professor Konrad Förstner. The consortium is headed by ZB MED – Information Centre for Life Sciences.
Work has been underway on Germany’s national research data infrastructure – known by the German abbreviation NFDI – since 2018. The aim is to systematically open up access to valuable data resources from the realms of science and research. Linking these resources together will make them more readily usable by Germany’s entire system of scholarly and scientific research. To create the NFDI, the German Research Foundation (DFG) is coordinating three rounds of calls for proposals. In total, up to 30 consortia will be funded for an initial period of five years with a possibility of extension for another five years. Up to 85 million euros are available for this purpose each year.
Prof. Dr. Alexander Sczyrba & Prof. Dr. Jens Stoye, Bielefeld University
Prof. Dr. Peer Bork, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
Prof. Dr. Jörg Overmann, German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures (DSMZ)
Prof. Dr. Manja Marz, Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU Jena)
Dr. Ulisses Nunes da Rocha, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)
Prof. Dr. Alice McHardy, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI)
Prof. Dr. Alexander Goesmann, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Prof. Dr. Anke Becker, Philipps-Universität Marburg
Prof. Dr. Thomas Clavel, RWTH Aachen University
Prof. Dr. Konrad Förstner, ZB MED – Information Centre for Life Sciences