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Fact-finding mission to the USA - September 2009

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Mission aim

The aim of the mission is to develop, refine and articulate a better understanding of the use and provision of research data, with a particular focus on how to improve the experience and success of the researchers who use research data in a cost-effective way. We hope to influence research-data strategies in the UK and beyond.


The objectives during the fact-finding tour are:

  1. To gather information on the developing practices and policies for exploiting research data with particular concern for the requirements of the researchers who use or generate the data.
  2. To enter into dialogue both with experts in the field of research data and with users of research data in order to refine our understanding and develop international connections.
  3. To review strategies with researchers, experts from industry and policy makers to compare visions for the future of research data and to share ideas.
  4. To give seminars on the subject when requested by the groups being visited in order to stimulate dialogue and discussions.


Our remit covers the use of research data across all disciplines and application domains and we are concerned with the full gamut of users and producers, from those with small quantities of data of short-term and local interest to the very long-lived and very large-scale reference resources. We aspire to understand both the variation in requirements and the requirements common across large communities.

Actions following the mission

In preparation for the fact-finding tour we are preparing a draft of a position paper. After the tour, we will:

  1. Complete and publish the paper in a respected and widely read publication.
  2. Produce and make publicly available a full report
  3. Make a presentation of our conclusions to the EPSRC Research Infrastructure Strategic Advisory Team (this body advises on provision of research infrastructure for EPSRC and influences computational provision across all of the RCUK).
  4. Make a presentation to the JISC Support for Research (JSR) Committee, which steers provision of widely accessible research facilities across UK universities.
  5. Make other presentations and targeted reports if requested, e.g. to other Research Councils and charitable bodies who support research.

We undertake to properly acknowledge all who are kind enough to find time for discussions with us and the organisations that host those discussions. We will also notify those who have helped when the paper and report become available.


Final report Realising the power of data-intensive research.

Talks reporting on the mission

Dave De Roure's blog

Click here to read Dave's blog.

Route map

Image based on Google maps showing the route

Photos from the trip

Dave De Roure has made some of his photos available here.


Date Institution Contacts Talk Title Other material
8th Sept MIT & W3C, Boston Eric Prud'hommeaux & Philippe Le Hegaret
MIT, Boston Carlo Ratti, Caitlin Zacharias
MIT, Boston Michael Stonebraker & Sam Madden e-Science: Data Quest PPT (10.2MB) PDF (1.7MB)
9th Sept British Consulate, Boston Jacqueline Ashmore
MIT Science Commons, Boston John Wilbanks
IIC, Harvard, Boston Alyssa Goodman, Alan Aspuru-Guzik, Mercé Crosas, Sudeshna Das, Felice Frankel, Ros Reid & Hanspeter Pfister, Greg Morrisett e-Science: Data Quest PPT (16MB) PDF (4.5MB) Question sheet PDF (67KB)
10th Sept CI, University of Chicago, Chicago Ian Foster, Tom Finholt, Erik Hofer, Ann Zimmerman, Katherine Lawrence, Farnam Jahanian, James Evans, Andrey Rzhetsky, John Wilkin & Sharon Glotzer e-Science: Data Quest PPT (16.2MB) PDF (4.7MB) Question sheet PDF (69KB)
11th Sept NCDM, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago Robert Grossman e-Science: Data Quest PPT (16.5MB) PDF (5MB) Question sheet PDF (68KB)
NorthWestern University, Chicago David Martin, Noshir Contractor, Jim Chen
14th Sept University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Dan Atkins, Charles Severance, Brian Athey, John Wilkin, Ann Zimmerman, Erik Hofer e-Science: Understanding Research Data PPT (16.6MB) PDF (6MB) Question sheet PDF (64KB) Link to video of talk
15th Sept University of Wisconsin, Madison Miron Livny & Dave DeWitt
16th Sept NCSA+ICHASS, University of Urbana-Champaign Carole Palmer, Kevin Franklin, Jim Myers, Radha Nandkumar, Danny Powell, Donna Cox, Kelly Searsmith, Peter Bajcsy, Stephen Downie, Scott Poole, Bernie A’cs, Loretta Auvil, Xavier Llora, Ian Brooks & Allen Renear e-Science: Understanding Research Data PPT (17.5MB) PDF (5.3MB) Question sheet PDF (64KB) Agenda
17th Sept Travel
18th Sept University of New Mexico, Albuquerque William Michener, Mark Servills, Karl Benedict, Johan van Reenen e-Science: Understanding Research Data PPT (18MB) PDF (5.2MB) Question sheet PDF (64KB)
21st Sept Microsoft Corporation Tony Hey, Carole Poland, Daron Green, Tom Healy, Lee Dirks, Jose Blakeley, Alex Wade & Robin Sands e-Science; Understanding Research Data PPT (18MB) PDF (5.2MB) Question sheet PDF (64KB)
22nd Sept SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Jacek Becla
23rd Sept Center for Health Informatics, USC/Information Sciences Institute Carl Kesselman, Yolanda Gill, Craig Knoblock, Jose Luis Ambiste e-Science: Understanding Research Data PPT (18.7MB) PDF (4.6MB) Question sheet PDF (64KB)
24th Sept University of California, Irvine Richard Taylor, Paul Dourish and Gary Olson e-Science: Understanding Research Data PPT (18.8MB) PDF (5MB)
National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research, University of California, San Diego Mark Ellisman
25th Sept National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder Don Middleton, James Moore, Mohan Ramamurthy e-Science: Understanding Research Data PPT (18.8MB) PDF (5MB) Agenda
28th Sept National Science Foundation James Collins (Head of Biological Sciences), Jeannette Wing (Assistant Director for Computer & Information Science and Engineering), Deborah Crawford (Deputy Assistant Director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering), Edward Seidel (Director of the Office of Cyber infrastructure), Jose Munoz (Deputy Director, Office of Cyber infrastructure), Stephen Meacham (Senior Staff Associate), Leland Jameson (Program Director, Division of Mathematical Sciences)
Julia Lane
Margaret Cavanaugh
29th Sept Department of Energy Elizabeth O'Malley, Barbara Helland, Laura Biven, Walter Polansky,
Department of Homeland Security Paul Ragsdale, Rolf Dietrich, Richard Lempert Unofficial notes PDF (70KB)
National Institute of Standards & Technology Clair Saundry (Director, Office of International and Academic Affairs), Cita Furlani (Director of the Information Technology Laboratory), Robert Sienkiewicz (Senior Advisor, Technology Innovation Program), Robert Walters (Chief, Measurements Services Division), Charles Romines (Associate Director for Program Implementation), Charles Gonzalez (Chief, Chemical and Biochemical Reference Data Division)
30th Sept Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore Alex Szalay
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