The Rhine-Ruhr Center for Scientific Data Literacy is now in Operation


Researchers from all disciplines are confronted with ever-increasing amounts of data. The newly founded Rhine-Ruhr Center for Scientific Data Literacy (DKZ.2R) has set itself the goal of supporting and assisting researchers from a variety of research disciplines with regard to increasingly complex data analysis, data management, and high-performance computing. DKZ.2R is one of eleven data competence centers in Germany funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and it will be funded for a period of three years with a total of around three million euros.


The DKZ.2R is made up of nine research-intensive universities, institutes and centers in the Rhine-Ruhr region. These include Forschungszentrum Jülich, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen University of Applied Sciences, the University of Cologne, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, and the University of Duisburg-Essen. The project is headed by Professor Stefan Sandfeld from Forschungszentrum Jülich and Professor Matthias Müller from RWTH Aachen University.

The availability of ever larger and more complex amounts of data requires comprehensive skills that researchers often have to learn on their own. This begins with the consideration of how scientific data should be collected so that, for example, artificial intelligence methods can be used effectively. But it also includes questions about how data should be stored, annotated, processed, evaluated and published. The DKZ.2R therefore focuses on a combined methodological data competence, which consists in particular of data science and machine learning, high-performance computing, and research data management. With the wide-ranging key domains of mathematics and computer science as well as life sciences, natural sciences, and engineering, the Center for Data Literacy thus offers services for a broad range of domain scientists. It enables them to break through data-related barriers and promotes synergies between the specialist disciplines.

The DKZ.2R offers researchers at different career stages a range of different services to improve their skills in dealing with research data. These include curated training courses, a range of advisory services including scientific consulting, scientific hackathons and data challenges, data cafés, and software tool development and integration. The first event is already being planned in the form of the "FDM Workshop" at RWTH Aachen University in collaboration with from March 18 to 20, 2024.

The "research tandems" format, on the other hand, offers young researchers opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration with researchers from other domains but who have similar methodological problems in the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence, high-performance computing or research data management. The tandems and trios are accompanied by scientific consultants.

Overall, the Data Competence Center will serve as a contact point for researchers and create a place for learning and networking. This will strengthen interdisciplinary research and create a strong basis for promoting data-based innovations.

In addition to the institutions directly involved in DKZ.2R, the project also maintains close links with the Helmholtz School for Data Science in Life, Earth, and Energy (HDS-LEE) and the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI), the LAMARR Institute for Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, the state initiative for research data management, and many more.