Data management front and center at AIRI 2019


From the 15th till the 18th of September, we joined one of our customers, La Jolla Institute, at the 2019 AIRI Annual Conference in Washinton DC.

Hosted by the Association of Independent Research Institutes (AIRI), the annual event attracts over fifty member organizations, exhibitors, and sponsors from across the USA to discuss issues important to independent research institutions.

Data management and IT was a recurring theme throughout this years meeting, called to special attention by the vision of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to modernize the funded biomedical data science ecosystem.

In a presentation from Carrie Wolinetz, the Associate Director of Science Policy at the NIH, Wolintz noted a significant move towards more active management of scientific data as an NIH requirement to gain access to its research-funding budget – over US$40b.

Even for AIRI members who boast higher average awards than the overall NIH average, in today’s challenging funding environment, it is clear that data management needs to come front and center to win funding.

John Stillwagen, the Director of Management Information Systems at La Jolla Institute is no stranger to the need to efficiently manage and preserve scientific data. In a presentation titled “Metadata: The DNA of Your Life Sciences Data”, Stillwagner provided us with a rare window into how La Jolla Institute is using Mediaflux as part of its critical mission to maximize the value of data generated through the Institute; to accelerate the pace of discoveries and medical breakthroughs.

Calling Mediaflux the “holy grail” of data management software, Stillwagen explained his excitement about the capability of Mediaflux to securely create customized automated data workflows, integrations, and pipelines, and to limit who sees what.

Arcitecta’s Craig Vanderborgh presented alongside Stillwagen, showing how we have already ingested 640,207,001 files (over 3.5 petabytes) into the system with just 0.5 full-time employees working on the project. Vanderborgh, said: “We're all aware that the pace of research data isn’t slowing down, what's interesting here is that the mandate for the use of a data management platform is now coming from the top.”