New Members

Welcome to Our New Co-Chairs!

We are thrilled to announce the appointment of three new co-chairs to our group. Please join us in welcoming Ekpe Okorafor, Shaily Gandhi, and Veerle Van den Eynden to our team!

Ekpe Okorafor is currently the Dean of Faculty of Computing & Information Technology and a professor in Computer Science / Data Science at the Nigerian British University. He also serves as the AI Innovation Director at Accenture in the USA. With extensive expertise in AI/ML, Analytics, Big Data, Cloud Computing, and Massively Parallel Processing, Prof. Okorafor brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our initiative. Additionally, he is a visiting professor at the African University of Science & Technology (AUST) in Abuja and the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy. His international experience and dedication to education make him an invaluable addition to our team.

Shaily Gandhi is a distinguished alumnus of the CODATA RDA Summer School, having attended sessions in Beijing (2016) and Trieste (2017). She currently serves as Postdoc at the Geo-Social Analytics Lab within the Department of Geoinformatics – Z_GIS at the University of Salzburg. With over 12 years of experience and a PhD in Geospatial Technology from CEPT University in India, Dr. Gandhi is a recognized expert in GIS, focusing on the integration of GIS with governance. She has been honored as one of the Geospatial World 50 Rising Stars for 2023 and named an ISC Fellow for 2024. Her leadership in the CODATA Connect Early Career and Alumni Network from 2020 to 2024 highlights her commitment to advancing the field of data science and geospatial research.

Veerle Van den Eynden is a research data management advisor at KU Leuven within the Research Data Management (RDM) Competence Centre. She supports researchers and research groups with managing and sharing their research data, providing advice, training, and developing practical solutions and services. With 17 years of experience in data management, sharing, and Open Science, Veerle has a notable background, including working at the UK Data Archive until 2020 and managing data for the Global Challenges Research Fund project “Drugs & (dis)order” at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Her diverse research background includes studying interactions between people, biodiversity, and the environment in various countries such as Namibia, Ecuador, Trinidad, and Scotland. Her expertise and dedication to data management and Open Science will greatly benefit our project.

Our initiative values global and gender diversity, and we are proud to have a team that reflects this commitment. The selection process for these positions was carried out with a keen eye on ensuring representation and inclusivity, recognizing the importance of diverse perspectives in driving meaningful change in the field of data science and education.

Each of our new co-chairs brings a unique set of skills and experiences that will help us expand our reach and impact, particularly in underrepresented communities. Together, we are committed to providing accessible and quality education to early career scientists around the world, empowering them with the essential skills to succeed in their careers and contribute to the global scientific community.

We are excited to work with Ekpe, Shaily, and Veerle, and we are confident that their leadership will be instrumental in advancing our mission. Welcome to the team!


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