ELIXIR-UK Fellowship for FAIR Data Stewardship

Through UKRI funding gained in 2021, we have established a national Data Stewardship Fellowship in a seedcorn group of 17 UK universities and institutes.

24 Fellows have been supported to create learning materials and train locally within their fields of FAIR data expertise through leveraging existing resources, material and contact points within their institutions.

These activities have supported a short-term mission to develop a sustainable data skills training programme in the Life Sciences, realised through embedding material locally into existing in-house training programmes and research infrastructure.


This Fellowship now front-loads a longer-term vision to grow a FAIR data community and national capacity in Data Stewardship. Through mobilising ELIXIR communities, services and platforms, we aim to support Fellows and UK Data Stewards in becoming FAIR data ambassadors within a network of peers and mentors.

This community aims to:

  • Support professionalising data stewardship in the life sciences.
  • Develop resources to help researchers make their data FAIR.
  • Upksills life sciences professionals about the importance of making their data FAIR.
  • Work with publishers to make sure that data is published in a FAIR way.

Tailoring activities with a conscious approach to existing resources

Short informative videos (3-5 minutes) to describe basic and specialised aspects of RDM.
Contributions to resources
Contribute to existing resources with knowledge and expertise from Fellows.
Training courses and workshops
Developed courses and workshops on basic and specialised topics in an open and reusable format
Training sessions delivered
Bringing the knowledge and expertise to professionals within Fellows’ organisations and virtual communities
Outreach and signposting activities
Embedding resources locally and amplifying the work of ELIXIR and this Fellowship
Sponsorships for events
Sponsor Fellows to attend conferences and meetings with a focus on FAIR data or capacity building in bioinformatics

Learn more about the activities

You can find all the activities Fellows have been involved in by visiting the dedicated microsite.

What’s new

Fellows, Mentors and coordinators meet to celebrate the 3-year hallmark of the ELIXIR-UK Fellowship

A group picture of the ELIXIR-UK Fellows at the Mottram Retreat in 2023

On 15 September 2023, the ELIXIR-UK Fellowship reached a significant milestone, celebrating three years of extraordinary accomplishments at a unique retreat. The event, which united 20 dedicated participants, including Fellows, Mentors, and the coordination team, reflected on the journey so…

Read MoreFellows, Mentors and coordinators meet to celebrate the 3-year hallmark of the ELIXIR-UK Fellowship

The community’s landscape

Expanding our reach beyond the ELIXIR-UK Network 

We have embedded the Fellowship program within the broader ELIXIR-UK strategy, granting Fellows long-term support for their work with a national and international outlook.

Through UKRI funding gained in 2021, the Fellowship has founded a network of Data Stewards in a seedcorn group of UK research-performing organisations. A cohort of 24 Fellows across 17 organisations,  spanning diverse bioscience disciplines, have mobilised their Research Data Management colleagues in libraries and research offices.

Fellows come from both ELIXIR-UK members and other UK research-performing organisations, epxnading the reach of our network and mission. As a result, some Fellows have spearheaded the application of their organisations to join the UK Node.

Embedding Fellows into the Node’s core activities

Within the ELIXIR-UK community, dedicated RDM and training working groups facilitate cross-disciplinary cooperation, with monthly meetings that also include the active participation of the Fellows.

Opening up Fellows to the wider ELIXIR Europe network

Such groups are also connected to the pan-European ELIXIR Communities, including the recently established Research Data Management Community and the ELIXIR Training Platform.  Members of the fellowship coordination team lead many of these activities. 

Partnering with other initiatives and ELIXIR members

In addition, we are working with the ELIXIR Netherlands and Luxembourg Nodes to build their national data stewardship fellowship based on our success.

Our partnership with the Software Sustainability Institute (SSI) and the Galaxy Training Network, further provide us with valuable expertise in building communities of practice and fellowship programmes. 

The community’s operational essentials

A support system: the coordination team

Our Fellows have continuous support from a dedicated coordination team, creating a sense of belonging within the ELIXIR-UK initiative. This support extends to:

  • Diverse communication channels: A variety of active communication channels, including Slack, emails and online/face-to-face meetings, facilitate knowledge sharing not only related to the Fellowship outputs but also support Fellows in their daily work and career growth.
  • Regular troubleshooting sessions: several monthly drop-in sessions to troubleshoot issues, address common challenges and exchange valuable insights have kept the Fellows supported and connected. 
  • Community engagement: Monthly or bi-monthly community calls and yearly in-person retreats have given a space to discuss relevant topics with speakers to introduce valuable tools, resources and initiatives. Fellows have used this space to showcase progress, inspire others, solicit constructive feedback and shape the activities of the Fellowship.
  • Onboarding process and community intranet: documenting and ensuring all community members have the required information is crucial to our success. For instance, all Fellows attend an inaugural meeting, complete the ELIXIR Train-the-Trainer and have access to a centralised intranet with guides, templates and resources. 

“The organisation, dedication and enthusiasm of staff has been exceptional and inspirational.”

“I loved the supportive and positive environment.”

“The Train the Trainer course at the start has been incredibly useful. This was my first time attending a course of such a kind, and it will reshape how I teach. Thank you.”

Guidance through mentorship

Venturing into building capacity in data management with a blank canvas can be a daunting task. Our Fellowship program has weathered this challenge by harnessing a collaborative environment. One of the cornerstones of our success is the close partnership between Fellows and their dedicated Mentors – members of the ELIXIR-UK community.

These Mentors are pivotal in guiding Fellows to identify areas where they can make the most relevant impact and address critical training gaps in data management.

Some are domain experts with deep connections in specific areas, such as health data within ELIXIR. In contrast, others focus on training methodologies, formats and most suitable platforms, such as the Carpentries and Galaxy Training Network.

“The Mentor Scheme is a great approach to bounce ideas off and keep the momentum with Fellowship activities.”

“I got a lot of energy and encouragement from my mentor during our 1-1 meetings. So helpful.”

Compensation and recognition

Recognising and compensating the contributions of our Fellows and Mentors is a central pillar of this initiative. Fellows receive an honorarium for the time invested in the activities within this Fellowship. 

While financial compensation is not the primary motivation for our Fellows, we strongly believe in professionalising data stewardship as an essential component of research. This goes beyond being an afterthought or an additional burden on researchers’ daily responsibilities and into an enticing career path that supports the work of researchers. 

A badge of recognition as ELIXIR-UK Fellows

While we welcome professionals who work with data in the life sciences at any career stage, a panel of experts scrutinises applications.

All candidates must not only demonstrate a strong understanding of data management in their fields but also have excellent communication and teamwork skills. Only some can pass this thorough selection process, not only guaranteeing excellence but also providing our Fellows with a badge of recognition for their skills and experience. 

Several Fellows have attested to the amplified impact of their voices in advocating for data management best practices in their organisations after becoming ELIXIR-UK Fellows. After being selected, they had a stronger voice in meetings, a motto we have adopted in our outreach: “Trust me, I’m an ELIXIR-UK Fellow.”

“As a Fellow, I gained influencing power at my institute for RDM. It gave me more authority. I’m no longer a single voice saying we should care about RDM. Instead, I have the ELIXIR-UK community behind me. Don’t underestimate that value!”

What our Fellows say about their experience

Reasons to apply (orange) vs the benefits current Fellows have experienced (blue).


Phillip Crout profile picture
Former Knowledge Transfer Facilitator
MRC, University of Cambridge
Gabriela Lopez Gonzalez profile picture
water@leeds Coordinator and HyCRISTAL Project Manager
University of Leeds
Diane Hatziioanou profile picture
Senior Researcher - Epidemiologist
Sonal Henson profile picture
University of Nottingham
Nilam Khan profile picture
Research Fellow
Born in Bradford - NHS University of Bradford
Interests My research and training interests lie in a wide range of biological and biomedical sciences fields, from comparative genomics and evolutionary studies to neuroscience research and personalised medicine. I am interested in developing and delivering material in several aspects of bioinformatics and biological data management. My teaching philosophy is the generation of an opportunity to inspire and empower, comprised of a combination of course instruction and student mentorship. I’m aiming at fostering the acquisition of a base of concepts and learning skills to facilitate a person to engage in further learning and independent thinking. My work I am mainly focused on studying the molecular mechanism of neuropsychological disorders and brain tumours. I aim to investigate the molecular origins of diseases and develop novel methods for diagnosis and prognosis, such as designing more targeted treatment strategies. It involves methods originating from systems biology, NGS and “omics” technologies, large multi-dimensional data integration and interpretation, and clinical informatics. I am also the course leader of the MSc in Bioinformatics and the module leader of several modules at the MSc and BSc levels related to data analysis and data management. In my free time, I regularly organise and deliver bioinformatics and data analysis workshops at several Universities across the UK and other European countries profile picture
Lecturer in Biology (Bioinformatics)
Teeside University
Lijing Lin profile picture
Translational Research Bioinformatician
University of Manchester
Ciara Loughrey profile picture
PhD candidate
Hull York Medical School/University of York
Sandra Ng Profile picture
Data Scientist/Researcher
Queen Mary University of London
Richard Ostler profile picture
Rothamsted Research
Edward Parkinson profile picture
PhD candidate
Cardiff University
Adam Partridge profile picture
Open Research Training Lead
University of Sheffield
Toryn Poolman profile picture
Teaching Fellow
Manuel Lera Ramirez profile picture
Research Fellow - Biocurator
Research Software Engineer
Earlham Institute
University of York
Research Fellow
University of Warwick
Associate Professor
University of Southampton
Research Data Manager
University of Edinburgh
Senior Research Fellow
Oxford Brookes University
Lead Data Stewardship Trainer
University of Bradford
Emma Karoune profile picture
Research Associate
The Alan Turing Institute
Health Data Scientist/Engineer
University of Manchester
Andrew Mason profile picture
Research Fellow
University of York


Dr Munazah Andrabi Profile Picture
Data Management Working Group Deputy Lead
The University of Manchester
Dr Robert Andrews Profile Picture
Data Management Working Group Lead
Cardiff University
Head of Advanced Training
Earlham Institute
Lecturer in Health Science
The Open University
A picture of Dr Tim Beck
Heath Data Lead
University of Nottingham
Dr Alexia Cardona Profile Picture
Training Platform Coordinator
University of Cambridge
Senior Research Technical Manager
eScience Lab - University of Manchester
Lead Data Stewardship Trainer
University of Bradford
FAIRsharing Content & Community Coordinator
University of Oxford
Group Coordinator and Co-Investigator
University of Oxford
Director of Bioinformatics
University of Birmingham
Research Computing Service Manager
University of Bradford


This project was funded as part of the UKRI Innovation Scholars: Data Science Training in Health and Bioscience call (DaSH). (MR/V038966/1)