Empowering New Zealand's Research Community: NeSI as a Carpentries champion on their 25th Anniversary
New Zealand's commitment to advancing scientific research and innovation has been unwavering. It has been NeSI’s consistent aim to enable the country's researchers to tackle complex computational challenges and drive groundbreaking discoveries. One of the most significant catalysts in supporting NeSI's mission has been our partnership with The Carpentries, a global organization dedicated to teaching foundational computational and data skills. In 2023, The Carpentries celebrates 25 years as an organisation and to commemorate this event, NeSI is taking the opportunity to capture highlights from our journey as a Carpentries champion over the years. NeSI’s initiation into the Carpentries world was in 2013 at eResearch NZ conference in Christchurch. This experience was followed by the first instructor training session hosted at ResBaz Melbourne for Australia and New Zealand Carpentries sub-communities, which was well attended by future Carpentries community members from both countries.This was quickly followed with a series of training workshops in NZ.
Following this NeSI launched our Training Strategy in 2015, NeSI has made a tangible contribution to growing a network of passionate practitioners across the research sector, all working together to lift foundational computational and data science skills.
By 2015, the collaborative efforts between Australia and New Zealand had resulted in the successful organization of more than 15 Software Carpentry workshops, benefiting researchers from both countries. These workshops were facilitated by a dedicated group of approximately a dozen local instructors. Recognizing the immense value of this partnership at a national level, NeSI made a significant move in 2017 by becoming a platinum member of The Carpentries. This strategic alliance aimed to further enhance research computing training across the region. As part of this collaboration, NeSI has been actively supporting the facilitation of Carpentries workshops and instructor training sessions on a national scale. The provision of Carpentries instructor training seats to New Zealand-based researchers has been a key component of this initiative, empowering them to impart essential digital skills to their peers within their own institutions. This concerted effort has significantly contributed to raising the overall digital skill capabilities in the country
By 2019, New Zealand had successfully trained a further 15 Carpentries instructors, and the partnership between NeSI and The Carpentries remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting numerous instructor trainees from various institutions across the nation. The Carpentries workshops are tailored to the needs of the local research community and are designed to be highly interactive, with participants learning by doing. By providing researchers with hands-on experience, such training empowers them to apply these skills directly to their research projects. As a result, researchers gain efficiency, productivity, and the ability to tackle data-intensive challenges that were previously unattainable. The Carpentries workshops establish a network of researchers with shared computational and data science interests.
The Carpentries workshops are tailored to the needs of the local research community and are designed to be highly interactive, with participants learning by doing. By providing researchers with hands-on experience, such training empowers them to apply these skills directly to their research projects. As a result, researchers gain efficiency, productivity, and the ability to tackle data-intensive challenges that were previously unattainable. The Carpentries workshops establish a network of researchers with shared computational and data science interests.
Within this partnership, NeSI facilitates a vibrant community of practice that goes beyond the workshops themselves, fostering continuous support and mentorship among participants through annual meetups and regular community calls. By promoting knowledge exchange, seeking advice, and encouraging collaboration on projects, NeSI empowers New Zealand-based researchers to enhance their efficiency and problem-solving capabilities within the community. Since 2020, NeSI has been organizing the annual Carpentry Connect event, which plays a crucial role in breaking down inter-institutional communication barriers, setting a precedent for open and generous communication during the main conference and beyond. The successful collaboration between NeSI and The Carpentries has led to significant achievements, including Nisha Ghatak, NeSI's Research Communities Advisor - Training, being appointed to The Carpentries Executive Council. As the first representative from New Zealand to join the organization's governance board, this appointment symbolizes the thriving synergy between NeSI and The Carpentries, further solidifying their commitment to advancing research capabilities and digital literacy across the nation.
NeSI's partnership with The Carpentries exemplifies a forward-thinking approach to empowering the research community. By equipping researchers with essential data and computational skills, this collaboration accelerates scientific discoveries, promotes inclusivity, fosters interdisciplinary collaboration, and boosts digital skill development opportunities. As Aotearoa New Zealand continues to thrive in the global research landscape, NeSI’s collaboration with The Carpentries remains instrumental in driving research excellence and innovation in the nation.