Lise Stork wins Young eScientist Award 2019

21 Nov 2019 - 4 min

Lise Stork was announced winner of the Young eScientist Award 2019 during the 6th National eScience Symposium on 21 November. Stork, a PhD researcher at Leiden University’s Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS), received the award for her project proposal to make historical biodiversity data directly available to researchers. As winner, Stork will receive 50,000 euros worth of expertise from the Netherlands eScience Center to develop her proposal.

For her project, Stork aims to enable researchers to access historical biodiversity data. Such data is present in various types of historical sources, commonly collected during expeditions to biodiverse areas. Although there are millions of such resources stored in museum archives worldwide, these are currently inaccessible to researchers and include handwritten organism descriptions, physical specimens and detailed organism illustrations. To this end, Stork has developed a workflow that allows biodiversity researchers to semantically annotate and access the data present in these diverse types of observational data. Together with the eScience Center, Stork will take the next crucial step to create a scalable and sustainable integrated web environment based on this workflow, which will allow researchers to disclose the contents of their archives.

“Receiving this award is an immense honor and gives me the opportunity to develop my project further”, says Stork. “My main objective is to create methods that will enable greater understanding and reuse of the rich archives of data that have been previously underused and therefore undervalued. By accessing these, biodiversity researchers will gain new insights into the changing picture of global biodiversity over several hundred years. These insights are crucial now that we are faced with growing biodiversity depletion. With the expertise and experience of the eScience Center, I will be able to embed my proof-of-concept solutions into scalable and sustainable services for the biodiversity research community.”

Great potential

“Lise’s work is a prime example of how digital technologies can enhance and accelerate scientific progress in a research domain – in Lise’s case in the area of global biodiversity”, says Dr. Frank Seinstra, program director of the Netherlands eScience Center. “The aim to facilitate and enhance access to a wealth of historical biodiversity resources is part of a larger aim to develop services for the domain as a whole. The Young eScientist Award is specifically intended to stimulate research endeavors of this type, as these have the potential to have a very broad impact – even far beyond that of the work of one individual researcher. The eScience Center is looking forward to partnering with Lise to help make her research idea a reality.”

Dr. Meiert Grootes, eScience Engineer and part of the selection committee, adds: “We are very pleased to honor Lise Stork with this year’s Young eScientist Award. Her proposal perfectly highlights the potential inherent in applying eScience techniques, principles and technologies such as linked data, the FAIR paradigm and web technologies. We look forward to collaborating with Lise to unlock the potential of underused biodiversity data, as well as to rechanneling the developed eScience tooling and research software back to the community across scientific domains.”

Lise Stork is a fourth year PhD researcher at the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS). Her work is at the intersection of computer science, biodiversity and digital humanities research. It involves using and developing semantic web and computer vision methods for analyzing the content of historical biodiversity archives.

Read more about Lise Stork

About the Young eScientist Award

The Young eScientist Award is an annual prize awarded by the Netherlands eScience Center to a young and ambitious researcher with a novel research idea. The prize consists of 50,000 euros worth of expertise. The winner, who is always announced during the National eScience Symposium, receives support from a team of eScience Research Engineers to develop his or her proposal. Winners are selected on the basis of demonstrated previous success in the development or application of data-driven or compute-intensive research, the quality of a new project idea, and the contribution to scientific research beyond the project.