Dr. Natalie Harrower is the Executive Director of the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN) starting 1 April 2023. The CRDCN is a national research organisation and Major Science Initiative headquartered at McMaster University. CRDCN facilitates unique access to Statistics Canada microdata at 33 Research Data Centres (RDCs) for more than 2200 researchers across Canada in a wide array of disciplines, thereby enabling forefront university research and training and informing key areas of public policy.
From 2015 to 2022, Dr. Harrower was Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI), Ireland’s national research centre and certified trustworthy digital repository for humanities, social sciences and cultural heritage data. Under her leadership, the DRI secured a sustainable line of funding from the Irish government and transformed from a project-funded repository to an award-winning national research infrastructure with a prominent international profile and multiple partnerships across Europe and beyond. After supporting and helping to drive the development of Open Science for many years in Ireland, Dr. Harrower and the DRI were asked to coordinate Ireland’s National Open Research Forum (NORF), securing the first national grant for system-wide Open Science implementation in Ireland, leading to a new internationally peer reviewed granting programme and 2022’s publication of Ireland’s National Action Plan for Open Research 2022-2030.
A firm believer that partnerships, collaboration and professional service are key to success, Dr. Harrower actively engages with a range of local and international bodies. As a member of the European Commission’s high level expert group on FAIR data, she helped author Turning FAIR into Reality, the influential report and action plan on achieving the FAIR principles in Europe (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable). Following this, she was a member of the European Open Science Cloud’s (EOSC) FAIR working group, which provided recommendations on the implementation of Open and FAIR practices within the EOSC. She also contributed to the OECD Global Science Forum’s expert group and report Business Models for Sustainable Data Repositories. As a longstanding contributor to the Research Data Alliance, Dr. Harrower has collaborated with colleagues around the world on initiatives such as the RDA COVID-19 working group, which produced recommendations and guidelines in the early months of the pandemic for the rapid sharing of COVID-19 research data, as well as the RDA Financial Sustainability Taskforce, which identified appropriate and achievable revenue models for RDA’s long term sustainability. She represents RDA as an Observer on the Canadian National Committee for CODATA. Dr. Harrower is a judge for the international Digital Preservation Awards, and recently concluded a five-year term on Ireland’s National Archives Advisory Council. She currently serves on the Open Science Taskforce of ALLEA (the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities), and is past chair of ALLEA’s E-Humanities working group.