Dr. Steven Manos leads a team of nearly 30 people at the University of Melbourne responsible for digital research platforms, training and engagement. His mission is to lift the digital literacy of the research community by arming them with the digital tools to do what they love, and do it in a more far-reaching and effective way. He does this by building communities, actively training researchers and establishing innovative and extremely usable platforms for research. In the past he did a PhD in Physics at Sydney University and a stint of post-doctoral research at University College London. He lives in Melbourne with his partner and son, and enjoys designing and making furniture.


Presentation: The Research Bazaar: building next generation digital research skills through community

The Research Bazaar (#ResBaz) is a fundamentally new, dynamic, and engaging IT support model that aims to shift away from the standard IT helpdesk towards a community-driven model of best practice technology use in research.

The University of Melbourne’s #ResBaz program was designed with two goals in mind: to help researchers use digital tools, and; to lift the digital literacy of the entire research community.

Communities in academic research span disciplines, regional areas, research lineages, and short and long histories of academic collaboration. Traditionally, the development of these communities happens in a number of different ways, such as working in the same lab, department or faculty, or attending conferences in the same field.

Nowadays, research practice is increasingly and in many cases exclusively data driven, where knowledge of how to use tools to manipulate research data is foundational to quality research. Along with this, new types of communities are forming around interests in digital tools, computing facilities and even data repositories.

By making infrastructure services, community engagement and training inseparable, we have been able to arm existing communities with new ways of doing research; to build new communities around tools and data; to teach researchers how to use tools, and; to teach them how to teach others to do the same. Underpinning all of this is an ethos of treating all engagements as micro-collaborations, with an emphasis on building social networks and relationships both online, and in the real world.

This presentation will take the audience through a number of tried and tested methodologies that the #ResBaz team has actively employed in building community. I will talk about what community means, and how to go about building and training the research community in cost effective ways. I will also argue that a community-based approach will drive improved research outcomes at your institution.