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Dr. Anne Beaulieu

"One aspect that I’ve always found fascinating is the importance of interfaces, when interacting with data."

Dr Anne Beaulieu is a guest researcher with the theme DATA. She is a programme manager of Energysense RUG, a comprehensive knowledge infrastructure on energy and households. She joined the University of Groningen in 2011, following several years as senior research fellow at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), notably at the Virtual Knowledge Studio for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

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Why are you involved in the theme DATA and what do you hope to contribute?

In my research, I’ve analysed how different fields have taken an informational turn, as their research practices changed to incorporate the creation and use of greater amounts of digital data. In my current work, I’ve been leading the building of a facility for the collection and sharing of data. I therefore bring a combination of a strong theoretical and empirical background in issues around data and a rich experience of actually being responsible for building a successful infrastructure. With this background, I can help the team work reflexively. This could mean making explicit what the issues are, in how they might differ across fields, and making recommendations on how to translate particular ways of working into concrete measures.

What do you hope to get out of your stay?

I’d like to better understand the specific challenges that the members of the DATA teams are dealing with, and see how I can help address these. There is also really interesting work going on at Lund, in media studies and in gender studies, which is very relevant for issues of visualization and for questions about knowledge production. So I’ll be connecting to scholars in these areas too.

What are your research interest?

As a science and technology studies scholar, I’ve done research on many fields and how they use digital technology, from neuroscience to biobanks to women’s studies. One aspect that I’ve always found fascinating is the importance of interfaces, when interacting with data.

What drives you?

That would be creating possibilities for diversity and complexity. That may sound a bit abstract, but it’s something I work on every day, whether it’s in working on our data model at Energysense and ensuring that it will serve a diversity of kinds of research, or designing processes in our project organization. Knowledge and research should not be a mechanized, predictable process; there has to be space for creativity and innovation.

What are you working on right now?

Energysense is a project of the University of Groningen. The project started in 2014 and brings together a large group of researchers across different areas of expertise. Energysense is an infrastructure for research and innovation in energy - including a secure database - that contributes to accelerating the energy transition and to making society more sustainable in the area of energy. Energysense aims to reach this goal by enabling research and developing innovative and practical insights. Energysense enables interdisciplinary research and the development of new products and services to work towards solutions for the energy transition.

Have you ever been to Lund and/or Sweden?

Looking back, I’ve tallied up quite a few visits to Sweden over the past two decades: a groundbreaking conference in Uppsala, the honour of being an opponent at KTH and at the University of Borås, acting as a member of the E-science panel of the Swedish Research Council, a family holiday tracking petrogliphs on the south coast. Can you tell I have a sweet spot for the culture and natural beauty of Sweden? The anniversary of the University will also mean I can enjoy special events and exhibitions too.

Watch a video with researcher Dr. Anne Beaulieu.

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