We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Natalie Harrower as the new Executive Director of the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN) effective April 1, 2023. Natalie is a highly qualified and experienced leader of a research data organization and a consummate relationship builder. Her track record of executive leadership, strategic collaboration and planning, and her experience developing national and international networks in the data ecosystem were all highlighted by the search committee.
Andy Bjerring, past CRDCN Board Chair and Chair of the ED Search Committee expressed how delighted the committee was to secure the appointment of a candidate of such high caliber and extensive Canadian and international experience as Natalie Harrower. He noted that her expertise is especially well aligned with the CRDCN’s strategic objectives as the Network begins the next phase of its mission as one of Canada’s premier research data organizations. The CRDCN Board Chair, Janet Halliwell commented in agreement that: “After a lengthy and robust search for a new Executive Director, we unanimously support the choice of Dr. Harrower to lead us through the upcoming transformation of the CRDCN, knowing that our qualified staff and strong governance structure position the Network well for the exciting years ahead. At this time, I would also like to thank the current Executive Director, Martin Taylor, for his outstanding leadership since 2016 and the Board for their wise stewardship of CRDCN,” said Halliwell.
Over the coming years, the Network is projected to grow significantly in its capacity and impact through its support of advanced interdisciplinary research and training in the quantitative social and health sciences and in the mobilization of new knowledge to inform key issues of public policy for Canada. Natalie’s entrepreneurial and innovative approach to growth has served her well at the helm of the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI), a multi-institution organization that serves multiple sectors in research, culture, and government, and counts over 45 member universities and research-engaged cultural institutions. Natalie has managed strategic growth, secured substantial research funding, and nurtured programmatic development through extensive multi-sector collaborations and partnerships.
In addition, Natalie has successfully promoted best uses of data in the policy arena in such areas as higher education, cultural heritage, and open science. She is strongly committed to equity, diversity and inclusion and will further strengthen the CRDCN’s contribution to evidence-based decisions that help improve the lives of all Canadians. Having worked as an academic in Canada before her time in Ireland, Natalie embraces the diversity of Canadian researcher perspectives and understands the importance of inclusive engagement to fulfill the CRDCN’s vision and mission.
“I am honoured to lead the CRDCN in this new phase and I look forward with great excitement to my new base at McMaster University and to working with the CRDCN Board and Academic Council, central staff, Statistics Canada, and university, policy and funding partners. I am equally pleased to be returning to Canada after a stretch in Ireland, and anticipate the potential for rich and fruitful collaborations with the peer networks and organisations I bring from Europe and beyond.”
Natalie brings international experience from her time as Executive Director of the DRI, including high-profile initiatives such as Ireland’s National Open Research Forum (NORF), the European Commission’s high-level expert group on FAIR data, the OECD Global Science Forum’s expert group on sustainable repositories and the global Research Data Alliance. Most recently in Canada, she joined the review panel for the Digital Research Alliance of Canada’s Data Champions projects.
The news of Natalie’s appointment is welcomed by the Vice-President of Research at McMaster University, Karen Mossman. “We’re so pleased to have Natalie join the CRDCN and McMaster communities. Her experience and track record in the field are superb, and her commitment to collaborations and ability to create fruitful partnerships position her perfectly for this role,” says Mossman, adding that “Harrower’s appointment speaks volumes to CRDCN’s international reputation.”
Anil Arora, Chief Statistician of Canada echoed these sentiments and added “the partnership we have developed between the CRDCN and Statistics Canada, thanks to Martin Taylor’s leadership, has allowed us to build on this great work and be ready for this next phase of data access in Canada. How wonderful to have a seasoned international data champion in Natalie Harrower to partner with us and help position Canada at the forefront of data access around the world.”
Equally positive sentiments are shared by the CRDCN central staff, who, along with the Board of Directors, look forward to welcoming Dr. Natalie Harrower to the CRDCN next April.News, Special Notice