A National Research Data Infrastructure for Materials Science & Engineering
The initiative NFDI-MatWerk is a community-driven effort to structure materials data according to the FAIR principles, i.e., making them accessible, findable, interoperable and reusable.
In 2016 the Gemeinsame Wissenschaftskonferenz (GWK) has decided to create a sustainable national infrastructure for research data. Throughout the whole scientific landscape of Germany up to 30 consortia will be funded with a total of up to 85 Mill. €/a for an initial period of five years. Headed by the Fraunhofer IWM institute in Freiburg, the proposal for the community Materials Science & Engineering (MatWerk, engl.: MSE) had been submitted in 2020 by 10 co-applicants, including the MPIE. Having received a grant within this framework can be considered a big success and demonstrates the grown importance of a research field that is central for MPIE.
The initiative NFDI-MatWerk is a community-driven effort to structure materials data according to the FAIR principles, i.e., making them accessible, findable, interoperable and reusable. As daily research at MPIE demonstrates, the inherent multiscale character related to strongly heterogeneous microstructures is a particular challenge for MSE data. In addition, the history of data evolution is important, since any process applied to a sample may change this microstructure and, thereby, its mechanical and functional performance. NFDI-MatWerk aims at tracking these various complex dependencies of materials data, while reducing the technological barriers to exploit them (Fig. 1).
The most important objectives of NFDI-MatWerk are represented by Task Areas (TAs) and two of them are represented by group heads at MPIE. Erik Bitzek is a co-speaker of the TA “Materials Data Infrastructure”, which will provide a reliable environment for the digital representation of materials data and metadata as well as services to easily store, share, search, and analyze them. Tilmann Hickel is a co-speaker of the TA “Workflows and Software Development” that will use the in-house developed software platform pyiron to establish a framework for sharing workflows in processing environments, for implementing automated experimental and modelling protocols with widespread tools and, therewith, for uniting workflows with the underlying materials data.
A third TA will provide and integrate a unified materials ontology, that is represented through a graph database infrastructure. This enables data sharing as well as highly performant, complex search queries and analysis runs over distributed and decentral data sources (Fig. 1). The concepts developed in NFDI-MatWerk are permanently challenged by Infrastructure Use Cases defined and tested by a large number of participant projects. In order to get in contact with NFDI-MatWerk, please use the dedicated NFDI-MatWerk webpage.