RDA/IGAD Webinar Series: ‘Partnership for Data Innovations for Enhanced Data Interoperability and Leveraging of USDA - Agricultural Research Service Resources’

As part of The Research Data Alliance (RDA) Interest Group on Agricultural Data (IGAD) meeting focusing on IGAD/RDA : Sharing Experiences and Creating Digital Dialogues, Daniel P. Roberts, Research Leader, USDA-ARS, Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory; Michael Buser, National Program Leader for Engineering, USDA-ARS, National Program Staff; and Nick Short, Esri presented a webinar during the ‘Americas/Asia’ group of presentations on May 27. 

The webinar focused on ‘Partnership for Data Innovations for Enhanced Data Interoperability and Leveraging of USDA - Agricultural Research Service Resources.’ The USDA – Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has wide-ranging research efforts conducted by both small and large scientific teams directed at increasing production of nutritious food while decreasing the impact of these food production systems on the environment.  These research efforts vary in scale from regional, farm-scale plant and animal production system experiments to experiments conducted at the molecular level.  

The enormity and diversity of data generated by these research efforts presents ARS with several challenges: 

1) capturing and enhancing the interoperability of data from a variety of sources; 

2) enhancing analytical capacity; and 

3) enabling collaborative research efforts amongst scientists and the agricultural community.  

Partnership for Data Innovations (PDI) was launched to deal with these challenges as well as increase efficiency of ARS scientific operations.  PDI consists of PDI staff personnel, the platform AgCROS, and collaborators from Industry and Academia.  PDI staff work with scientific personnel to solve data collection, standardization, entry, and management problems.  PDI staff also write programs to increase efficiency of day to day laboratory operations.  The platform AgCROS allows for managing data, modelling, and enhancing scientific team collaboration while high performance computing is provided through its connection to SciNet.  In this way PDI is speeding the development of technology by ARS to sustainably feed the growing human population, and through its industry partnerships and connections to Ag Data Commons, speed the dissemination of this technology to the farmer and the rest of the agricultural community.

The Research Data Alliance (RDA) Interest Group on Agricultural Data (IGAD) meeting was set to be held in Rome (Italy) in April 2020 but instead, took place as a virtual meeting from May 25 to 28.  The virtual meeting provided an online platform to continue to build upon collaborations, knowledge sharing and developing innovations with activities including panel sessions, group discussions and presentations.

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