GHGA takes part in NFDI Science Slam

During the first week of November the Berlin Science Week was held in a hybrid format. Under this umbrella, the Fraunhofer Institute for open communication systems (FOKUS) and the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI e.V.) organized a science slam for the NFDI and its consortia to introduce themselves and their work around research data infrastructure.

GHGA participated in this event together with four other consortia: NFDI4Microbiota, KonsortSWD, PUNCH4NFDI, and FAIRmat.

Before the main event, all participants got the opportunity to join a coaching by veteran science slammer André Lampe. The goal was to meet each other and get some last minute tips and tricks for making the presentation extra fun and accessible. It was the first science slam for all the participants after all!

The main event took place as a video conference on the 9. November 2021. The slam was moderated by Sonja Schimmler (research group leader at FOKUS and newly appointed member of the NFDI Board of Trustees) and Konrad Förstner (research group leader at ZB MED – Information Center for Life Sciences and TH Köln). York Sure-Vetter, the Director of the NDFI started the slam with his contribution - an introduction of the NDFI to the audience. Singing and rapping was involved!

Then the contributions of the consortia started with Jonas Kasmanas from NFDI4Microbiota talking about stool transplants and the need for microbiologists and computer nerds to communicate with each other. This was followed by Ranjit Singh, representing KonsortSWD and introducing the need for data infrastructure in social sciences using the Covid19 crisis as an example. Next up, it was my turn presenting for GHGA. We used a specific rare disease case where genome sequencing helped find a diagnosis and a treatment to illustrate the importance of sharing and collaborating on genomic data (you can watch the presentation above). David Clarke from PUNCH4NDFI talked about lattice field theory and the large amounts of data that come with particle physics. Examples of spherical cows, checkerboard, and a political joke made the subject matter accessible to a broad audience. Last but certainly not least was Mark Greiner from FAIRmat. He told a story that many of us could relate to all too well: The struggle of first organizing and later finding the data that he accumulated during his PhD work, illustrating the need for thorough metadata in order to keep research data findable and reusable.

Before the end of the event, the audience got to vote on their favorite slam encouraging some friendly competition between the participants. The votes came in, and we were excited to see that our talk about rare diseases and genome sequencing landed first place! Followed closely by FAIRmat and PUNCH4NDFI. Of course, and the moderators stressed this as well, we really were all winners, getting to communicate our projects to an interested audience and learning about many new areas of science and research data infrastructure.

At the after show social, the moderators and participants reflected on the fun and informative evening and everyone agreed: We’re excited to have this event in person next year!