Strategic Framework for Data Stewardship

This framework details the rationale and ambitions of TU Delft's Data Stewardship initiative for period of 2020-2024. The Framework, endorsed by the Groepsraad, is based on the experience of the initiative to date, makes explicit the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders beyond 2020 and outlines a strategy for continual assessment of evolving data stewardship needs at TU Delft over the coming period. 

Mission and Visions

The data explosion pushes the boundaries of what science can achieve. Good stewardship of that data - collecting, documenting, sharing, publishing and preservation - is essential to ensure that scientific arguments and results are reproducible, and that TU Delft is perceived as a trustworthy partner by both public and commercial organisations. In addition, good data management practices lead to increased research efficiency: less time spent on finding and cleaning up data, and more time spent on data analysis. 

Current situation

TU Delft aims to be at the forefront of data-driven science. However, as increasing types and volumes of data become available for research purposes, the challenges associated with handling it grow proportionately. Even mundane tasks such as automatic backups of valuable research data can be painstaking due to the size and variety of working material. Therefore, the CvB recognised the need for improving data management practices at TU Delft and allocated strategic funding to start the Data Stewardship initiative. The funding was provided for years 2018-2020 to appoint a dedicated Data Steward at every faculty at TU Delft; since then data stewards have been appointed at all faculties 

Rationale for the framework

The CvB funding for the Data Stewards ends in 2020. The CvB decision memorandum from 19 December 2017 states that faculties will be responsible for paying for the Data Stewards positions after the CvB funding runs out. 

Results gathered since the start of the initiative demonstrate that the contributions by the Data Stewards have been acknowledged by researchers and support staff as playing a crucial role in supporting effective and pioneering research conducted at TU Delft. 

This framework is based on the experience with the initiative to date, outlines a strategy for continually addressing the evolving needs for data stewardship at TU Delft and explains the roles and responsibilities of the key stakeholders beyond 2020.

The Principles

‘The Principles’ outline the key elements of data stewardship at TU Delft:


  • Every faculty has a (usually one FTE) permanent data steward post to ensure that provision for data management support is a standard faculty service and that new generations of researchers are proficient with handling digital data at scale.

  • Data Stewardship is centrally coordinated by the Data Stewardship Coordinator, appointed as a permanent member of staff at the Library.

  • Data Stewards are line-managed by the faculty:

    • On request from the faculty, the Data Stewardship Coordinator can participate in R&O meetings of the Data Stewards.

    • Data Stewardship is a collaborative endeavour: between the faculties, the Library, and all other stakeholders at TU Delft including Communications teams, the Graduate School (for PhD training) ICT&FM, Human Research Ethics Committee, and Contact Managers amongst others 

    • Data management needs are fast-evolving and the broad Data Stewards team strives to be agile and flexible to address these changing needs. 

      • Data Stewards strive to stay at the forefront of good practice within faculty disciplines

      • Data Stewards support the development, support creation and embedding of the various emerging data roles within the faculty.

      • The Data Stewardship team will monitor adherence to Faculty Policies and tailor training, communications and policy recommendations as necessary 

Authors: Marta Teperek and Alastair Dunning with input from Yan Wang, Andre Groenhof and Faculty Secretaries, Yasemin Turkyilmaz-van der Velden, Esther Plomp, Jeff Love.

Last edited: 6 December 2019