Expanding Computational Skills in Science to Support Research

Nov 6, 2019

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Partner to Support The Carpentries in Teaching Foundational Coding and Data Science Skills to Researchers Worldwide

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Learners participate in a Carpentries workshop. Photo by Dr. Kendra Maas, University of Connecticut.

Today, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation announced $1.65 million and $1 million for a joint $2.65 million for The Carpentries, an organization that teaches researchers computational skills through a scalable and community-centered model. The $1.65 million in funding from CZI will support The Carpentries’ instructor training program and the development of CarpentriesLabs — a centralized repository for high-quality, community-contributed teaching materials. 

“Computational skills are in high demand among scientists and trainees in the life sciences, and we’re thrilled to support and scale The Carpentries’ efforts to teach in-demand programming and data science skills to researchers,” said CZI Science Program Officer, Dario Taraborelli. “We believe these trainings will enable more researchers to become part of a growing community advancing open, reproducible research globally.” 

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has partnered with CZI on this effort to achieve higher impact. Specifically, the foundation is providing $1 million to assist The Carpentries to create new data science resources, broaden access to and engagement with The Carpentries’ unique offerings, and strengthen the communities of data science instructors and the trainers who teach them. Funds will also support The Carpentries to develop new biological sciences resources in collaboration with the EukRef and UniEuk communities.

“Our focus has been to support the people who innovate around data-driven discovery. An essential element of this goal is to find professionals from diverse backgrounds, from a broad array of scientific and methodological perspectives and at different career stages to help advance data science, all of which is an important element of The Carpentries’ past — and future — success. We are pleased to ally with The Carpentries and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative with this shared vision in mind,” said Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Science Program Director, Jon Kaye. 

Much of scientists’ training in computational skills is acquired through informal education, and many instructors who teach courses have not received training in effective teaching strategies. CZI’s and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s support will expand The Carpentries’ instructor training program, which has trained over 2,300 instructors and has over 400 people on the current waitlist. 

“The Carpentries teaches researchers what is possible in working with data and software and builds confidence in applying skills that are immediately relevant and accessible,” said The Carpentries Executive Director, Tracy Teal. “With this support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, we’re excited to continue to build more capacity for training, provide key resources to researchers, and expand our growing community of trainers and learners.”

Funding from CZI will also support CarpentriesLabs — a centralized, open repository of vetted, high-quality lessons that will be submitted and maintained by the scientific community. The platform aims to help instructors find high-quality teaching materials and provide curriculum developers with community support for maintenance. Read our Medium post to learn more.

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About The Carpentries

The Carpentries builds global capacity in essential data and computational skills for conducting efficient, open, and reproducible research. We train and foster an active, inclusive, diverse community of learners and instructors that promotes and models the importance of software and data in research. We collaboratively develop openly-available lessons and deliver these lessons using evidence-based teaching practices. We focus on people conducting and supporting research. The Carpentries is a fiscally sponsored project of the nonprofit organization Community Initiatives.

About the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation fosters path-breaking scientific discovery, environmental conservation, patient care improvements and preservation of the special character of the Bay Area. To learn more visit Moore.org or follow @MooreFound

About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in 2015, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease, to improving education, to reforming the criminal justice system. Across three core Initiative focus areas of Science, Education, and Justice & Opportunity, we’re pairing engineering with grant-making, impact investing, and policy and advocacy work to help build an inclusive, just and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit www.chanzuckerberg.com.