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SDSC RDS Director Elected as Secretary General for CODATA

Christine Kirkpatrick Takes on Prominent Role for International Organization

Published December 10, 2021

Christine Kirkpatrick, division director of Research Data Services at the San Diego Supercomputer Center.  Credit: Ben Tolo, SDSC/UC San Diego.

By Kimberly Mann Bruch, SDSC Communications

Christine Kirkpatrick, division director of Research Data Services at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego, was nominated by the U.S. National Academies Committee on Data to serve as Secretary General for the International Science Council's (ISC) Committee on Data (CODATA). The elections took place last month, and Kirkpatrick was elected to the position, which carries a four-year term.

"With her tenacity to both technical and organizational detail, Christine has skills to truly benefit the ISC CODATA team," said CODATA Executive Director Simon Hodson. “I am especially eager to work with her on our upcoming International Data Week Conference, virtual and on location in Seoul, South Korea, as well as our efforts to encourage cooperation and alignment between Open Science initiatives across the world.”

For more than three decades, Kirkpatrick has been a leader in the computing arena, with experience in leadership roles encompassing organizations such as GO FAIR US, the U.S. National Data Service and the Research Data Alliance.

“It is an honor to serve our international data community and the world’s scientists," said Kirkpatrick, who is also principal investigator for two National Science Foundation (NSF) programs (EarthCube Office and Big West Data Innovation Hub). "Tackling the world’s most pressing challenges, such as those represented by the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, requires data. The effort to make data easier to find and reuse, as well as to increase reproducibility occurs in the specific context of scientific domains, but requires overarching coordination and cooperation. CODATA represents an international community that provides a forum for global exchange and advancement of data-driven scientific inquiry.”

Kirkpatrick joined SDSC in 2012 and has been with UC San Diego since 1996. She leads the Research Data Services Division, which includes infrastructure (cloud, networking, storage), data center/colocation facility and a data initiatives group. She has considerable experience leading research infrastructure projects (at scale) and supportive data services, including a leadership role on the Schmidt Futures Foundation and NSF-funded Open Storage Network and as leader of the Data Core for the National Institutes of Health-funded Metabolomics Workbench, a national data repository for metabolomics studies. Her research in computer science has centered on improving machine learning processing through research data management techniques.

Over the past five decades, CODATA has grown to become a leading international data organization that continues to make important contributions to data science and policy. Contributing activities include: policy development; task groups and working groups that range from smart cities to FAIR data for disaster risk research; national committees; major international conferences; the Data Science Journal and training initiatives such as the successful Data Science Summer Schools. CODATA and its international network of data experts, together with partnerships with major international science and data organizations such as the International Science Council and the organizations represented by Data Together (Research Data Alliance, World Data System, and GO FAIR), work with worldwide leaders to provide expert advice on current best practice in a broad range of data areas.