Webinars to showcase new approaches to handling big data for science will accelerate access to results, efficiency and openness  

13th February 2023

All member facitilies of ExPaNDS

As Petabytes of data are produced in synchrotrons every year, the need for collaboration and a coordinated approach is an issue facing most scientists. Our ambitious ExPaNDS project has announced a series of topic-based webinars during the last week of February showcasing how the value of data can be increased by more efficient management to support sharing and reuse. Topics covering Life Sciences, Cultural Heritage Science; Tomography / Imaging and Industry have been selected to highlight use cases taken directly from the Photon and Neutron (PaN) community throughout its EU Horizon grant which completes at the end of February. 

ExPaNDS (European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) Photon and Neutron Data Service) partners share a diverse user community of at least 25,000. Its users undertake experiments involving imaging capabilities and other innovative techniques as well as a huge diversity in data management techniques. All are notorious for generating huge volumes of data and massive data files making  harmonisation a challenge. This is why the Webinar series featuring senior community figures is expected to attract a lot of interest. They will showcase some of the grant outcomes delivered to PaN facility user communities and will also present key findings from a recently conducted data consultation, sent to over 14,000 PaN facility users.  

Dissemination leader for the ExPaNDS grant, Isabelle Boscaro-Clarke from Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron, comments;

“The ongoing work of ExPaNDS has been very important to our PaN community. At the webinars, senior community figures will discuss the future needs and requirements for their respective discipline or technique to keep the momentum going beyond the grant. There will also be flash talks from our work packages with focus being on Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) methods, data catalogue services, data analysis and an overview of the PaN training platform.” 

Full details of the webinars and how to register in the hyperlinks below or go to: https://expands.eu/2023/01/26/expands-topic-based-webinars/ 

20th February 2023 at 16:00 GMT – Life Sciences

Recording of the ExPaNDS Life Sciences Webinar

21st February 2023 at 16:00 GMT – Cultural Heritage Science

Recording of the ExPaNDS Cultural Heritage Science Webinar

22nd February 2023 at 14:30 GMT – Tomography / Imaging 

Recording of the ExPaNDS Tomography & Imaging Webinar

23rd February 2023 at 16:00 GMT – Industry as data users  

24th February 2023 at 13:00 GMT – General updaterecording coming soon…  

28th February 2023 at 11:00 EST (GMT-5) – ExPaNDS delivers grant update to the global Lightsources.org community.

ExPaNDS has delved deep into what the users need, and has laid the foundations for data catalogues to connect to EOSC platforms, allowing them to be shared in a uniform way. The ExPaNDS grant has made progress towards more efficient ways to share and manage data, which will make it easier to find and share research, help prevent repetition of experiments and spur scientific progress. The project has also advocated to nations facilities the importance of delivering standardised, interoperable, and integrated data sources and data analysis services for Photon and Neutron facilities 

One of the case studies for Tomography/Imaging features: Dr Roberto Volpe and his team at Queen Mary University of London and University College London in collaboration with the UK’s national synchrotron, Diamond Light Source, have for the first time imaged the porosity of biochars via unprecedented operando experiments at beamline I13 at Diamond Light Source. Dr Volpe’s work to overcome existing knowledge gaps in the thermochemical decomposition of biomass could enable production of tailor-made bio-chars for high priority environmental applications.  With the support of ExPaNDS – Diamond has worked with Dr Volpe on a new specific data intensive technique used at the synchrotron to accelerate access to results.  

Image: Dr Roberto Volpe and Dr Christoph Rau holding bio-char samples at I13 beamline at Diamond Light Source.
Copyright Diamond Light Source Ltd

Dr Volpe says that the helping hand he received analysing his data from the ExPaNDS and Diamond team fastened his research. Commenting he said that data mining of these huge datasets is a new discipline and requires extensive collaboration. 

“Sharing of such large and complex sets of information is challenging and the ExPaNDS grant helped identify better ways to deliver data management which is really useful to speed up results and transparency.” 

Chairman of the Board of Directors for DESY, one of the largest PaN facilities and the leading partner in the ExPaNDs grant – Professor Dr Helmut Dosch, concludes:

“We can now create solutions these days and in the future, even more so - atom by atom, you know materials which can be used for fighting climate change and diseases. But this data, this information is coming with a huge avalanche of data to us, and we need concepts how to turn this data in to useful information and to knowledge. ​It needs the right people; it needs the right infrastructure, and it needs financial resources. But I only can say now that knowledge is expensive, but ignorance we cannot afford.”​