We’re very pleased to announce that Phillip Crout, the Unit’s Knowledge Transfer Facilitator, has been awarded a place on the Elixir UK DaSH Fellowship Scheme as part of their second cohort. We sat down with him to chat about his work at the BSU and how his Fellowship will help him push his goals forward.
So, Phillip, what is a Knowledge Transfer Facilitator?
That’s a good question. My role is really mixed, touching on technical topics like software openness (eg. with Github) and data management alongside more conventional research admin like open-access publishing. I’ve loved working with such a broad scope as it gives me the flexibility to take on projects that I think will really deliver impact for the Unit.
What appealed to you about the Elixir fellowship scheme?
In my doctoral studies I wrote a lot of open-source software. In that space the Software Carpentries provided by the Software Sustainability Institute (SSI) have been a huge success. So when I found the Elixir scheme and realised that it had been guided by the SSI’s design I was excited to learn more. You don’t become a Knowledge Transfer Facilitator if you’re not passionate about open science, so Elixir’s objectives were a natural fit for me.
Also, being candid, the decision to fund the fellows via an honorarium rather than expenses was a big draw. Too often I find that what’s limiting my researchers is a lack of institute-assigned time for research reproducibility. Elixir can’t give anyone more hours in the day but properly acknowledging the work fellows do certainly helps morale.
What are your plans for the fellowship?
It’s early days, and the nature of the fellowship means that I’m expecting to get a lot of feedback that will change my course. The one thing I can guarantee is the production of some RDM bites. These are short videos explaining a single topic that are uploaded to the Elixir UK YouTube channel. I’m also very interested in (mis)conceptions about data legislation and hope to run at least one seminar on that subject.
And to wrap up, if you were to give a new researcher one ‘Knowledge Transfer’ tip, what would it be?
Treat the organisation of your computational resources with respect. Once a month, go through the files and folders and check that all the names make sense, and any surprising things you need to do (or remember!) are documented and then delete the rest. Finally, and I can’t stress this enough, make a manual backup!
Phillip will be joined by 15 others to form the second cohort, you can find brief biographies of all of them on the Elixir website.