IEA’s Data Skills Framework endorsed

Press release issued December 19, 2017

IEA Training’s work on the data skills gap across industry has been recognised with the Belmont Forum’s endorsement of the Data Skills Curricula Framework.

Developed through the Institute for Environmental Analytics (IEA) for the Belmont Forum, the Framework incorporates principles adopted as best practices by global leaders in training and workforce development, including flexible options for time, duration, and location and context-based approaches to real-world, commonly encountered problems with an emphasis on fundamentals.

IEA’s survey highlighted missing data skills

The IEA produced the Framework for the Forum’s e-Infrastructures and Data Management (e-I&DM) Project after carrying out an industry skills gap survey and analysis. It identified data complexity, lack of standards and exchange vocabulary, and data management as barriers to sharing and re-using data effectively and led on to a workshop to discuss the results. The IEA then developed the curricula with scientific data management specialists and it has just been announced that it was endorsed at the Belmont Forum Plenary in November.

Funders recognise need for more data skills

IEA Training Manager Vicky Lucas, who carried out the work, said: “The Belmont Forum’s endorsement of the Framework indicates that national science funders recognise the need for fundamental skills requirements for data intensive environmental change research.

Colin McKinnon, CEO of the IEA, said: “The IEA is pleased to use our expertise in environmental data analytics to identify the global training needs of Belmont Forum-funded researchers.”

The Framework aims to improve data literacy, security and sharing in data-intensive transdisciplinary global change research.

The results were presented by Vicky Lucas to the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in April.

Framework’s core modules

The recommended Curricula Framework core modules are designed to:

  • Standardise skills of domain scientists specifically
  • Make data handling more efficient
  • Make research more reproducible
  • Make data more shareable – including visualisations for end-users.

The five core skills emphasized include programming, particulars of environmental data, visualisation, data management and interdisciplinary data exchange.

Optional modules are suggested for more established researchers to widen their data skills and provide new options for examining and processing data, such as machine learning and object orientated programming.

Data management briefings for PIs

Two additional modules are briefings aimed at principal investigators, providing an overview of data management and skills.

Read more information on the Curricula Framework and the full report at

Read the Belmont Forum’s announcement.

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