Historic interest: DISC Finance and sustainability
DISC will not bring a single large sum of money to fund itself in entirety. All projects run inside a DISC context will bring their own funding, which will also need to pay for most of the overhead involved in the organization. Small grants for coordination may be awarded in the intitial phase. We expect that it will be increasingly the norm in the future to reserve a sizable fraction of the money allocated for data-generating science to properly deal with the data stewardship and data integration aspects. DISC partners are already very active in the lobby at the major funders in The Netherlands and internationally for this '10% for data stewardship law'.
We want to make DISC the natural place to go to implement this part of any science project. To achieve this, DISC must be and stay a top quality and lean organization. We must be able to convince scientists that collaboration with DISC will ensure the availability of the best possible expertise at a reasonable project cost. Collaborating with DISC should bring clarity of the true costs of data stewardship upfront, rather than the potential stumble-and-fall of doing projects without the involvement of these experts.This also means that DISC mut have a very clear 'interface' to the experimental scientist community. Profesional, no-nerdy, no-nonsense. This is related to the 'counter' principle of each WP.
Even the work package applied bioinformatics and short term engineering does not need to be an exception here: this work package could be running a project with the aim to help life scientists with very little data experience to make their first steps. Such a project could look for dedicated funding. Private partners can see this project as an important marketing tool, and decide to co-fund its existence.
A major advantage of the envisioned funding model is that it automatically scales with the needs of the life science experiments that drive the research, without hard deadlines and fixed budgets that currently plague the NGI technology centers and other infrastructural projects. Securing funding this way will require a continued focus on international competitiveness. This can only be achieved bottom up in the various WP's and their Task Forces. When certain WP's can not compete, they may be dismantled to ensure that they do not lower the overall quality image of DISC.