Genome Canada has launched the Data Coordination and Collaboration Hub funding opportunity (DCC) planned as part of their Climate-Smart Agriculture and Food Systems initiative. The goal of this Initiative is to invest $30 million in cutting-edge genomic research and innovation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the carbon footprint of Canada’s food production systems to build their resiliency, environmental sustainability and economic viability.
The Initiative will fund a portfolio of Interdisciplinary Challenge Team (ICT) projects that will be supported, coordinated and connected through cross-cutting programs in knowledge mobilization, data coordination and implementation. This portfolio approach allows the benefits from one solution to be applied to other food production systems or supply chains such that the impacts can cascade throughout the broader food system.
Data is a central component of this initiative. Data will act as a bridge or connector between projects and as an output supporting the ability to achieve and measure impact across a diverse portfolio of projects.
To that end, this Initiative will fund two cross-cutting coordination Hubs: the Data Coordination and Collaboration Hub (hereafter “the Data Hub”), which will focus on data, and the Knowledge Mobilization and Implementation Coordination Hub (hereafter “the KMIC Hub”), which will focus on knowledge mobilization and implementation. These Hubs will provide administrative, technical and coordination leadership to the project portfolio with a focus on:
- Intentionally connecting projects across the ICT portfolio.
- Supporting the coordination and alignment of portfolio activities across projects.
- Engaging stakeholders and end users at the portfolio level.
- Adding value to project outputs.
- Addressing gaps to create portfolio coherence in achieving impacts.
A single pan-Canadian team will be selected to provide data coordination and technical expertise for the portfolio of projects. This team will work with the ICTs and other partners to develop and implement a portfolio data plan.
The Data Hub will be responsible for coordinating the scientific data within the portfolio that are required to validate and replicate research findings, regardless of whether the data are used to support scholarly publications. Beyond genomic datasets, relevant scientific findings will include information about how the data were generated (e.g., software, workflows and protocols) and the context in which the data should be interpreted (e.g., metadata, policy, socio-economic measures, etc.). Collectively, scientific data outputs from the Initiative will be referred to as “data assets.”
The Data Hub intends to leverage existing digital research infrastructure or software platforms and focus on adding value to these, as opposed to engineering new software. Moreover, the intent is to support the success of individual projects by providing data resources and broader connections to stakeholders. To facilitate climate impact, the Data Hub will help provide a common framework for portfolio outputs. It will not link disparate projects under one overarching research question.
The Data Hub will be responsible for data governance, research data management, and data analytics:
- Data governance will ensure that the appropriate data stewardship and data-sharing policies are implemented for access, security and privacy.
- Research data management will focus on the infrastructure for data storage, processing and data-sharing. This will include advancing data interoperability standards to optimize data flow and linkages.
- Data analytics will provide value to the portfolio through expertise in statistics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). Analytics would include developing tools and workflows that support ICTs and/or that make the data more useful to external partners.
It will be critically important for the Data Hub and KMIC Hub to work together to coordinate their activities across the portfolio, informing each other’s data and knowledge mobilization portfolio-level strategies. Both Hubs will require formal mechanisms and structures to ensure coordination and co-creation of work across the portfolio and with each other. Governance structures will support this. Genome Canada and the relevant Genome Centres will have ongoing, direct relationships with the Hubs to drive strategic objectives in knowledge mobilization and data coordination.