Now is the best time to be a Data Scientist or a Data Steward in Europe

Now is the best time to be a Data Scientist or a Data Steward in Europe

Now is the best time to be a Data Scientist or a Data Steward in Europe. Why the European Union plans to train over half a million data scientists and data stewards


  1. Introduction
  2. What is FAIR data?
  3. What is expected of a Data Scientist in science and research?
  4. What does a Data Steward do?
  5. How do the two roles compare and intersect?
  6. Conclusions


In 2016, a group of EU high-level experts were estimating that Europe will need for making Open Science possible over half a million “Core Data Experts” within a decade.

In their view, these “Core Data Experts” will support its 1.7 million researchers and 70 million professionals in Science and Technology throughout the entire research lifecycle, ensure good data management, help in data capturing (formats, metadata, standards, provenance, publishing), as same as in data analysis.

Two years later, in 2018, the idea is reinforced, and the “Core Data Experts” are identified as being Data Scientists and Data Stewards (Turning FAIR into Reality Final Report and Action Plan) who, in addition to technical expertise, will also be required to have domain knowledge in the research and innovation fields they will be working.

In the context of research, the two skillsets are defined as follows:

  • Data Science — “the ability to handle, process and analyze data to draw insights from it”; And the required skills are: computer science, software development, statistics, data visualization, machine learning, as same as computational infrastructures.
  • Data Stewardship — ”a set of skills to ensure data are properly managed, shared and preserved, both throughout the research lifecycle and for long-term preservation”. Some examples of mentioned skills are: information management, data cleaning, data management.

Given these identified needs, the Report calls for new formal or less formal educational and training programs that can help prepare the large cohort of data scientists and data stewards required to make FAIR data possible.

What is also interesting here is that, the Report also calls for researchers to become data-savvy, so that they can better make use of available data and technologies.

fair-data data data-management european-union data-science big-data

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