On November 16 – 17, 2017, the SPARC Data and Resource Center (DRC) Kick-Off Meeting, organized by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) was held in Washington, DC. More than 70 researchers of the SPARC consortium met to learn about the newly launched DRC and discuss challenges and opportunities for the SPARC program.
On the first day, the three DRC awardees – Dr. Joost Wagenaar of Blackfynn, Inc. (DAT-CORE), Prof. Peter Hunter of the University of Auckland (MAP-CORE), and Prof. Niels Kuster of the IT’IS Foundation (SIM-CORE) – introduced the tasks and responsibilities of each core and outlined their vision for establishing the integrated DRC for the SPARC community. Several members of the SPARC consortium then presented five-minute data-stories on their research to provide an overview about the variety and amount of data and file formats they collect and process within in their studies. The day closed with dedicated office hours and software demos to give researchers and DRC CORE-members the opportunity to meet one-on-one to find common ground, discuss open questions, and identify the next steps for their collaborations.
The focus of the second day was to identify needs and requirements for common data standards across the SPARC community. After an overview on data standards provided by Prof. Peter Hunter, four breakout groups were organized for chaired discussions focusing on imaging, physiology, transcriptomics/informatics, and computational sciences. Results from the different breakout sessions were summarized and discussed in the plenum. It was decided that a first version of the data standards and the definition of the minimum viable product should be available by the end of January 2018. The modeling approach presented by Dr. Warren Grill of Duke University in his talk “Measurements and Models to Establish Dose for Autonomic Neuromodulation”, was met with great interest and, as a next step, will be implemented as one of the available workflows by the SIM-CORE.