Because good research needs good data

Shanmugasundaram Venkataraman (Venkat)

Job Title: 
Research Data Specialist and Training Lead
+44(0)131 650 2714

Venkat spent his undergraduate and postgraduate years learning biochemistry in the field of chromatin, leading to a PhD. Subsequently, he switched to another major interest in biology for his early career - developmental biology and biomedical imaging. He joined the eMouseAtlas Project (formerly the Edinburgh Mouse Atlas Project, an open source, open access project) at a time when bioinformatics and the use of computers in labs was still very limited and this gave Venkat an opportunity to explore many new avenues. Over the course of 15 years, Venkat was primarily involved in imaging of mouse embryos and curation of image data into spatial atlases created by the eMouseAtlas project. These techniques involved many that were novel and the use of bespoke software as well as commercial tools. Taken together, Venkat learned data management techniques that have been adopted in the wider community while also being part of the open science movement: the project created its own pipelines and infrastructure, in large part due to a lack of outside guidance and funder requirements, and since they were generating and handling large amounts of data, this was essential.

Since joining the DCC in 2018, Venkat has been involved in leading their training programme. By bringing a researcher's perspective to training events, he aims to connect with researchers to instil RDM best practice, and open science and FAIR principles. Other subjects that he covers include the use and importance of data management plans and evaluating and building RDM services. He has conducted workshops around the world and is also a co-chair on the CODATA/RDA School of Research Data Science. Furthermore, Venkat is part of various European projects including OpenAIRE, FOSTER and FAIR4Health, has been involved in creating online training materials including a recent MOOC on developing RDM services and provides consultancy services occasionally with other DCC staff.