Shared Research Space Success in Saint John

Author: NB-IRDT Staff

 Posted on 19 Mar 2021

In March 2020, the Saint John Research Data Centre officially opened its doors. While we had to close them again two weeks later in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this anniversary can still provide an opportunity for some reflection. With the RDC’s opening, this marked an event virtually unique in Canada: a Statistics Canada facility operating in the same location as a provincial data centre. The Saint John RDC shares staff, space, and infrastructure with NB-IRDT—two days a week researchers can access Statistics Canada data products through the RDC secure network. On two of the remaining days, researchers can access Government of New Brunswick administrative data through the NB-IRDT’s separate secure network. 

The shared space experiment has been a definitive success. Since our re-opening in July, nine different research teams have accessed either the NB-IRDT or RDC secure networks to advance their projects: 

  • local clinicians stepping away from the Saint John Regional hospital to advise on research
  • early career researchers grabbing an hour of analytical time in between teaching
  • students meeting degree requirements while sheltering with parents during the pandemic
  • teams with members in Saint John and Fredericton accessing and discussing data locally in real time without the need to travel. 
All of these stakeholders made research happen before the RDC and NB-IRDT secure environments came to Saint John, but local access has allowed them to better tailor data access to their schedules and job pressures. 

 If you’d like to know more about Statistics Canada’s Research Data centres, please visit the Canadian Research Data Centre Network’s website.