24 March 2020

Mark Allen, Director of the Strasbourg Astronomical Data Centre, who leads the ESCAPE Work Package dedicated to “Connecting ESFRI projects to EOSC through Virtual Observatory framework” has just been selected by the FAIRsFAIR project to join the European Group of FAIR Champions (EGFC). The EGFC is composed of scientific experts and “doers” in the field of FAIR data, carefully selected based on their individual merit and knowledge.

Mark previously chaired the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA), recognised as a pioneer in making data FAIR and, at ESCAPE, leads activities related to FAIR data in astronomy, astroparticle physics and accelerator particle physics. Mark has a PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the Australian National University, and undertook post-doctoral work at the Space Telescope Science Institute before joining the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) as a scientific researcher.

By joining the FAIRsFAIR EGFC, Mark will act as am ambassador of the astronomy, astroparticle and particle physics communities, while providing advice on operational challenges, promoting the adoption of FAIR data policies and influencing the development of competencies and capacity around the uptake of FAIR data principles.

ESCAPE - Enabling discovery, access and use of the astronomy and astroparticle data

The ESCAPE CEVO team is making the seamless connection of ESCAPE Science Projects and other astronomy and astroparticle research infrastructures to the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) through the ESCAPE Virtual Observatory (VO). The ESCAPE VO integrates distributed infrastructures into one single virtual astronomy facility, ensuring that their data sets are openly accessible thanks to data interoperability and data reuse.

The work led by Mark will allow a new era of cross-disciplinary interoperability and connections to the necessary computing resources, as well as enabling the use of VO data in scientific analysis platforms. International astronomy data providers, in particular ground- and space-based telescopes, publish their data using the IVOA standards, and compliant scientific tools and services enable discovery, access and use of the data by the whole astronomy research community. The ESCAPE VO will be a key for discovery and reuse, using common disciplinary International IVOA standards and fostering good practices for data access, deposition and sharing of data, as well as for data management curation and preservation.

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About the EGFC from FAIRsFAIR

The EGFC group works as an ambassador of FAIR by sharing FAIR implementation stories, enhancing synergies, contributing to training activities and webinars, and doing an effective cross fertilization with other communities, towards a broader engagement on FAIR. Each EGFC member represents FAIRsFAIR stakeholders and provides advice on operational challenges, as well as promotes new policies to improve the adoption of policies for FAIR data which supports the EOSC and the FAIR data policy and practice. Their inputs will be included into the FAIR Landscape Analysis and white papers authored by FAIRsFAIR.