Dr. Natalie Harrower is the Executive Director of the CRDCN, having assumed the role in April 2023. Prior to joining the CRDCN, she was Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI), Ireland’s national research infrastructure for data from the humanities, social sciences and cultural heritage. During her directorship, she was responsible for securing a core operational funding line from the Irish government, developing a national membership model, and establishing a sustainable business model with income streams from European research projects, philanthropic organisations, and industry partners. Under her leadership, the DRI transformed from a project-funded repository to an award-winning national research infrastructure with a prominent international profile and multiple partnerships across Europe and beyond.
Over the last decade, Dr. Harrower has supported the policy and implementation of Open Science practices in the research ecosystem. In Ireland, she helped to steer the National Open Research Forum (NORF), securing the first grant for coordinated implementation of Open Science across the country, which also saw the appointment of Ireland’s National Open Research Coordinator at the DRI. At the same time, she contributed to the development of international policy development as a member of groups such as the European Commission’s high-level expert group on FAIR data, the European Open Science Cloud’s (EOSC) FAIR working group, the Open Science Taskforce of ALLEA (the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities), and the OECD Global Science Forum’s expert group on Business Models for Sustainable Data Repositories.
As a longstanding contributor to the Research Data Alliance, she collaborated with global colleagues on initiatives such as the RDA COVID-19 data sharing working group, and the RDA Financial Sustainability Taskforce, which put inclusion and diversity at the centre of its development. She serves on the Canadian National Committee for CODATA, as a judge for international Digital Preservation Awards, is past chair of ALLEA’s E-Humanities working group, and past member of Ireland’s National Archives Advisory Council.
Dr. Harrower is a Vice Chair on the Social Science and Humanities panel for the European Commission’s Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Postdoctoral Fellowships, and serves on the Swiss National Science Foundation’s (SNSF) review panel for Switzerland’s SSH Data and Research Infrastructures. In addition to reviewing key research projects in EOSC implementation for the European Commission, she has also served on the review panel for the Digital Research Alliance of Canada’s Data Champions projects.
Dr. Harrower started her career as a researcher and lecturer at Queen’s University and the University of Toronto. She holds a PhD in performance studies and film from the University of Toronto, and Masters in Political Science from York University, and an honours BA in political studies and drama from Queen’s University.