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Workforce Readiness

Pilot to Develop Career Center for Research Computing and Data Professionals

A team from Harvard University, Internet2, the University of California, San Diego and the University of Utah is developing a Research Computing and Data (RCD) Resource and Career Center to support workforce development in the field. The pilot project, called Cyberinfrastructure Centers of Excellence, has been awarded a $1.49 million, two-year grant from the National Science Foundation.

The career center will provide "institutions and individuals with the products, tools, services and community to build and sustain successful RCD operations," according to a news announcement. Key goals are to "help expand the development of new RCD professionals and to support them throughout their careers," as well as to develop practices for recruitment, onboarding, advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, professional development, student internship and training programs, and more.

"We want to recruit more people in the research computing and data profession, and ensure that they have the tools and professional development opportunities to succeed at doing their jobs," explained Dana Brunson, executive director for research engagement at Internet2 and the grant's principal investigator, in a statement. "We will also bring together organizations that support RCD professionals across the larger ecosystem. We want to openly collaborate with them on the development of a shared voice that advocates for this new profession, and work together to increase diversity, equity and inclusion."

The project will build on the work of the Campus Research Computing Consortium (CaRCC), an organization devoted to advancing campus research computing and data and associated professions, and will expand on its RCD Capabilities Model, an assessment tool that supports benchmarking and strategic planning and provides a community dataset for understanding the RCD landscape. The pilot will also "create and share a model of career arcs for RCD professionals to explain career options and help existing RCD professionals explore professional development and advancement opportunities," the announcement said.

"The research computing and data roles are not well understood and supported by institutions, and this has made recruitment and retention of top talent very challenging," commented Patrick Schmitz, founder and principal consultant at Semper Cogito Consulting and co-principal investigator on the grant. "There is a real need to implement structural changes, to provide training and resources that will expand the pipeline into these roles, and to advance the profession as a whole."

"Research computing and data professionals are a force multiplier in accelerating research outcomes, and this grant is helping us bring together research communities to create a shared framework so that we can collectively build and sustain a wide range of support services for this profession," said Scott Yockel, university research computing officer at Harvard and co-principal investigator on the grant.
For more information, visit the NSF Award site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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