Jonathan de Bruin wins Dutch Data Prize with his project CoronaWatchNL

Jonathan de Bruin, research engineer at the central IT department, has won the Dutch Data Prize 2020 in the medical & life sciences category with his initiative CoronaWatchNL. De Bruin and a group of volunteers have been collecting data on COVID-19 infections and deaths in the Netherlands from the RIVM and hospitals since the arrival of the virus in our country. With his project, they put together a dataset that complies with the FAIR guidelines: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable, meaning that this data is openly accessible and reusable for the entire research community. ‘Data, and FAIR data in particular, plays a key role in the containment of the coronavirus. We are pleased to contribute to this by publishing the CoronaWatchNL dataset with statistics on the COVID-19 outbreak in the Netherlands’, says De Bruin.

There is already quite a lot of information and data available in this area, but this dataset seems crucial for the fight against Corona

Jury of the Dutch Data Prize
Jonathan de Bruin and Roos Voorvaart at the award ceremony of the RDNL Data Prize - Photo by Annemiek van der Kuil

Dutch Data Prize 2020

This year, the Dutch Data Prize will be awarded for the sixth time by Research Data Netherlands. The prize is awarded to someone from the research community who makes an extra contribution to science by making research data available for additional or new research. The prize consists of a sculpture and €5,000 to make the dataset (even) more accessible. ‘This prize and the money encourage us to make recommendations for creating a FAIR dataset in crisis situations, such as rapidly emerging infectious diseases and (natural) disasters. We have seen in the CoronaWatchNL project that this entails additional challenges, such as adapting to definition changes and managing the group of tireless volunteers. These recommendations will combine the latest insights from Research Data Management, Open Science and Citizen Science, such that we can publish FAIR data and transparent research in new crisis situations’, says De Bruin.

Not alone

Although De Bruin is the initiator of this project, he has greatly appreciated the help of his colleague and fellow research engineer Roos Voorvaart. In addition, De Bruin emphasises that this project is the result of the hard work of many volunteers: "We could not have done this without the help of volunteers. I think CoronaWatchNL is a good example of citizen science. That is why the RDNL Data Prize 2020 is an award for them.’

Menno Rasch, project manager of the Research IT programme, nominated CoronaWatchNL for the Data Prize. ‘CoronawatchNL is a great example of FAIR data, which accelerates scientific research. This is exactly what Utrecht University wants to represent. The Open Science programme and Research Data Management Support are proud of Jonathan de Bruin and Roos Voorvaart. They demonstrate the added value of data engineers who are in the middle of research practice’, says Rasch.

More information

Research Data Management Support wrote an article about this special project this spring. You can read this article here.