Because good research needs good data

Farewell and good luck to Alex Delipalta

Kevin Ashley | 19 December 2022

We said goodbye this week to Alexandra Delipalta, our Strategy and Operations specialist, who has moved to a new role at RDA Europe as their Communications and Engagement Officer. In a little over 6 years with the DCC she has held a variety of jobs and made a significant impact on our work externally and internally. She has transformed much of our operational work and planning and made key contributions to our strategic thinking. For myself as Director, I have benefited hugely from her advice and guidance and her hard work in so many areas of our activity.

Alex joined us as a business administrator in 2016 at a time of significant change for the DCC as we adapted to Jisc's withdrawal of national funding for centres such as the DCC. She rapidly set about building on the work of her predecessor, Lorna Brown, ensuring that we had effective oversight of all our streams of activity and income and could plan with confidence for the future. It wasn't long before she developed her role to get involved with other areas of our work. For our annual conference IDCC she helped it grow and develop, including our first visit to the southern hemisphere in 2019 and our last pre-pandemic in-person conference in Dublin in 2020. In 2017 we began working in a number of new European projects including RDA Europe 4. Alex's experience with DCC events led to her taking an increasingly important role in the planning and deliver of RDA plenaries; she joined the RDA Secretariat from 2018 and became RDA's Plenary Strategic Manager. For us her crowning achievement in this role was the successful delivery of Plenary 17, jointly hosted by DCC, Jisc and UKRI and planned as an in-person event for the spring of 2021. The huge financial and organisational uncertainties we faced in the 18 months before this took place were managed with aplomb by Alex; with the support of our co-hosts we were able to make a significant contribution to the RDA Foundation as a result. That success depended on a large team but we were all in no doubt who enabled that team to succeed.

In late 2017 we had begun internal discussions on the development of a MOOC; over the next 18 months this became a collaboration with Research Data Netherlands which in 2019 delivered the Delivering Research Data Management Services MOOC. Alex played an increasingly important role in this work as it progressed and she will be familiar to many of the thousands of people who have completed the course.

By 2021 her role and influence had developed sufficiently for a new position as Strategy and Operations specialist to be created and for her to be its first occupant. In the years in between she had also contributed to our consultancy work for organisations such as the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence, the financial planning for DMPonline and a number of our publications. There is no area of the DCC's work that she has not been involved with at some point, and all have benefited from her work, insight, knowledge, creative thinking and enthusiasm.

Throughout all of this Alex maintained a cheerful and friendly approach meaning that she was universally liked by her colleagues here at the DCC and all those we collaborated with - in RDA, our projects, the MOOC, our events, and much more. With her permission, I quote from one of the references we received at the time of her appointment:

Alex is brilliant and you won't find anybody more reliable, diligent or trustworthy.

I can't rate her highly enough and I have no doubt that Alex will be a tremendous asset to the DCC.

It was all true then and continues to be so. Amongst her final acts for us has been excellent preparation for the handover to her successor who will be joining us in January. I will miss Alex greatly; we were very lucky to work with her for 6 years and RDA Europe is very lucky to have her. We wish her every success in her new role and are glad that we'll still have the opportunity to work together through RDA. Thanks for everything, Alex!