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An Oscar-worthy performance

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My most joyous childhood memory, bar none, was Saturday nights sitting on the floor next to my cousins, watching Love Boat followed by Fantasy Island. Of course, this happened while we consumed a feast of samosas, homemade pizzas, fries or popcorn and basked in one another’s company. We’d cap off the night singing along to the Love Boat theme or shouting in unison with actor Hervé Villechaize as he announced: ​“THE PLANE! THE PLANE!” Lucky for me, personal video recording wasn’t around in those days…heck video-cassette recorders wouldn’t arrive for quite a few years yet. 

Why the nostalgia? As the years pass, often it’s the remarkable acting performances in our beloved TV shows and films that stay with us. Some actors’ scenes or famous lines even leave a lasting mark on popular culture for years or decades after they’ve first aired. 

Allow yourself a moment to visualize an Oscar-worthy performance. We often recall the star of the show. As we think about the Digital Research Infrastructure (DRI) ecosystem, Canada’s researchers and their work are the stars. However, that work is always enabled by fantastic supporting actors: Canada’s Highly Qualified Personnel, affectionately known as HQP. 

Canada’s HQP are often the unsung heroes of the DRI ecosystem, like a powerful supporting actor whose performance is inspiring and instrumental to a scene. Sometimes their contributions to the entire show or film are so vital, they warrant recognition through a Best Supporting Actor win. Canada’s HQP are the backbone of a growing and thriving DRI ecosystem through their specialized support of researchers at universities, libraries and other institutions across Canada. Ask any researcher using DRI and they will unquestionably tell you it was the HQP who managed data, enabled storage, refined algorithms or optimized the codes that made their research possible.

As NDRIO embarks upon the design of its National Service Delivery model, things will continue to evolve — they have to in order to stay competitive on the global stage. Yet, some things will remain the same, such as the value of our HQP. The respect, admiration and elevated importance of Canada’s HQP as vital links that make DRI-enabled research possible is a predictable outcome. As predictable as my cousins and I shouting along with Hervé Villechaize’s ​“THE PLANE! THE PLANE!” No clue, what I’m talking about? If you weren’t watching in those days, you’ll just have to Google it.