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The Alliance

New digital technologies are creating massive quantities of data at an explosive rate, which is having a profound impact on the capacity of Canadian researchers to generate and contribute research that will be critical to Canada’s future. To embrace this new world of possibility, Canada must build and sustain a strong and vibrant Digital Research Infrastructure (DRI) ecosystem. 

The Digital Research Alliance of Canada serves Canadian researchers, with the objective of advancing Canada’s position as a leader in the knowledge economy on the international stage. By integrating, championing and funding the infrastructure and activities required for advanced research computing (ARC), research data management (RDM) and research software (RS), we provide the platform for the research community to access tools and services faster than ever before.

We have an ambitious mandate — to transform how research across all academic disciplines is organized, managed, stored and used. We work with other ecosystem partners and stakeholders across the country to help provide Canadian researchers with the support they need for leading-edge research excellence, research, innovation and advancement across all disciplines.

The Alliance is a non-profit organization and is funded by the Government of Canada.

Guiding Principles

Early in its inception, the Alliance led roundtables across Canada to consult the DRI community on the development of its Governance and Membership Model. In addition to the face-to-face meetings, five virtual meetings also took place. About 220 members of the DRI community participated. The feedback from the DRI community informed the Alliance’s work in establishing a Governance and Membership Model. The Model contains Guiding Principles that anchor everything the Alliance sets out to accomplish. 

Per the Guiding Principles, the Alliance is dedicated to being: 

  • Researcher-Centric
  • Service-Oriented
  • Accountable & Transparent 
  • Striving for Excellence 
  • Collaborative

 

Stronger Together: A shared commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion across Canada’s research and education community  

Together, with CANARIE, we’ve formed a joint EDI working group to advance initiatives supporting equity, diversity, and inclusion at both organizations. As an initial step to guide our collaborations, we worked together to develop a shared commitment: 

  1. We will build a team that reflects the diversity of the communities and country that we serve.  
  2. We will embrace empathy and understanding to create an accessible, equitable, and inclusive culture.  
  3. We will welcome and support each person’s whole and authentic self through encouraging diversity of thought and providing a safe environment for learning and growth. 
  4. We will be courageous in our conversations, and we will seek to learn and unlearn together. 
  5. We commit to this journey and will hold ourselves accountable as we move forward.

History

In support of the Canadian post-secondary research landscape, and to ensure it remains competitive and truly world-class, Innovation, Science & Economic Development Canada (ISED) has earmarked $572.5M over five years toward a national DRI strategy. The Government of Canada’s goal is to provide all Canadian scientists and scholars with the digital tools they need to conduct the world-leading research that supports innovation in Canada.

As part of the national DRI strategy, ISED has set aside up to $375M of its five-year funding to establish a new national not-for-profit organization. The Digital Research Alliance of Canada will coordinate and fund activities in advanced research computing (ARC), research data management (RDM) and research software (RS) components of the DRI strategy, working collaboratively with all stakeholders across the country.

The 2019 – 20 fiscal year was the first year of operations for the Digital Research Alliance of Canada. It was an exciting year for the start-up organization, with the accomplishment of many milestones in Year One, including the incorporation as a member-based, not-for-profit organization; the approval of a Contribution Agreement with the Government of Canada through ISED; and the establishment of an inclusive, diverse Applicant Board and interim management team.

The first meeting of the Applicant Board took place on August 19, 2019. In accordance with the Alliance’s principles, 50% of the Applicant Board members were women. The Applicant Board was also geographically diverse (with members in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick) and represented the research, IT and university communities, as well as the corporate perspective. Both official languages were represented.

Members of the Applicant Board included:

  • Lori MacMullen (Chair)
  • Guillaume Bourque
  • Barbara Kieley
  • Peter MacKinnon

Under the strong leadership of the Applicant Board, the organization put into place an interim management team that worked tirelessly on coast-to-coast consultation sessions with the research community; developed and shared the Alliance’s Governance and Membership model established organizational By-Laws; solidified business operations; and successfully recruited and elected an independent Inaugural Board of Directors announced at the Special Members’ Meeting in March 2020.

More documents here.