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RDA announces the Sarah Jones Award

The Sarah Jones Award for exceptional contribution to fostering collaboration in Open Science

In Prague, Czech Republic, 14 June 2024, on the occasion of what would have been Sarah’s 43rd Birthday, the RDA is pleased to announce ‘The Sarah Jones Award for exceptional contribution to fostering collaboration in Open Science.’

Sarah Jones was an esteemed member of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) Council, former member of the Technical Advisory Board (TAB), and RDA community member since 2014.

A fantastic colleague and a wonderful friend, Sarah’s energy, passion, and enthusiasm was infectious, and she was a true believer in and driver of Open Science in Europe and across the globe. Sarah didn’t just ‘talk the talk’ about openness, but she really walked the talk. Sarah invested a huge amount of time and effort into advocating for true openness. She believed in community and its power, and was a true believer in the RDA. She said it was ‘her tribe’. Sarah was professional, prepared and passionate about her work and had an incredible work ethic, but she also infused her enthusiasm and energy into social networking. With this annual award the global RDA community would like to honour Sarah’s memory and her huge contribution to the Open Science community.


Nominations are invited for individuals who have demonstrated an exceptional contribution to fostering collaboration in Open Science (including but not limited to education & training, research data management & FAIR data) that has had positive change and impact as a result of this work. This impact can be on an organisational, community or individual level. Sarah impacted many people, organisations and communities in her work. In addition to these mandatory aspects, some desirables for the nomination include the candidate’s current career level, and Early Career nominations are strongly encouraged.

The RDA would like to bestow this award for an otherwise unrecognised contribution to the community in Open Science. This award is open to all nominees and not restricted to members of the RDA community, however a demonstration of contribution within the RDA community is of great importance. Finally, geographical location will be considered. As a global organisation, the RDA is aware that community and cross border activities can be more challenging in some parts of the world in respect to others.

The deadline for receipt of nominations is Thursday 12 September 2024 and the nominations will be evaluated by a panel of judges and shortlisted according to the nomination and selection criteria. The winner will be announced during the 23rd RDA Plenary Meeting, 12-14 November 2024, Costa Rica and will receive a physical award, a certificate, be included on the RDA Sarah Jones Award website listing with details of the exceptional contribution. Finally, the winner will have access to a fund to be invested in activities relevant to the winning activities (for example, further capacity building, cross community collaboration, community animation and engagement, etc.).

Full Nomination Details

For information about timelines, scoring criteria, and submission forms, please read the Terms of Reference carefully.

Read more and nominate

Read more and nominate

The RDA is accepting donations to the fund for the Sarah Jones Award 2024. If you would like to contribute to the award in Sarah’s name, we’d be most grateful. All contributions go to the award and will serve to allow us to maintain the award for some years.

Donate to the fund

Sarah Louise Jones Biography

Sarah was born in Blackpool, United Kingdom in 1982.

After a first degree in German and Economic History, she studied digital information management, which included work in archives. She worked at HATII (Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute) at the University of Glasgow for 15 years on various Research Data Management and digital preservation projects and services.

For most of this time she was part of the Digital Curation Centre where she covered different roles including Associate Director. She played a significant part in every aspect of the DCC’s work – training, consultancy, publications, online services and a wide variety of European projects – as well as being part of its management team during a period of significant change.

After leaving DCC in 2020, she worked at GÉANT as their EOSC Engagement Manager. Her role was to support National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) with Open Science. Alongside her roles at DCC and GÉANT, she also served as independent expert for the European Commission on expert groups for FAIR data, the Transport Research Cloud and the EOSC Executive Board. She was elected twice to serve on the EOSC Association Board.

Sarah served as a member of the RDA Technical Advisory Board from 2020 and in May 2023 she was elected to the Research Data Alliance Council, the executive board of RDA.

Sarah passed away in December 2023.

Remembering Sarah Jones

RDA community members have shared their memories and dedications to Sarah.

Read the RDA's tributes to Sarah

Read GÉANT's tributes to Sarah

Listen to the ‘Sarah Jones (In Memoriam)’ FAIR Data Podcast



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