RDA Foundation

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06 November 2019 44171 reads


The Research Data Alliance (RDA) Foundation is a non-profit charitable organisation registered as a legal entity in the UK and is the official and legal representative of the RDA community as a whole. The RDA Foundation's legal headquarters are at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Harwell Oxford, Didcot, Oxfordshire, OX11 0QX, United Kingdom. RDA Foundation is a charitable company limited by guarantee. The company was incorporated under a Memorandum of Association on 1 May 2014 and is a registered charity, charity number 1162762. It received charitable status on 21 July 2015.

a. Method of appointment or election of Trustees
The Foundation is governed in accordance with its Articles of Association as a Company limited by guarantee and not having share capital (Company number 9021881). The Foundation is governed by its trustees who are also directors of the company and act as the Council for RDA.

The RDA Council currently consists of nine members who serve rotating three-year terms, so that three members are appointed each year. Each year, a Nomination Committee appointed by Council determines a slate of three candidates. This slate is presented to the RDA Membership and the recommendation of the Nomination Committee is either accepted, or rejected by simple majority. The RDA Governance Document and RDA Organisational and Process Plan lay out the processes for determining the Nominations Committee and Council election and appointment. 

The RDA Foundation provides the core business operations of RDA and represents RDA globally. The RDA Secretary General works directly for the RDA Foundation and is the company CEO. The Secretary General’s responsibilities include leadership of RDA’s membership, effective management of the RDA organisation, engagement with RDA stakeholders and organisations, and sustainable stewardship of a dynamic, active, and high-impact community. The Secretary General reports to the RDA Council and works closely with all members of the RDA community. The Secretary General is also responsible for the organisational structure and management of the RDA Foundation, working closely with the RDA Council Finance Subcommittee to ensure financial stability.


2020 Update: The RDA has grown significantly since its inception in 2013, and must now develop a new financial sustainability model, as original sources of seed funding are no longer available or sufficient to keep running the organisation. If we continue with our current and limited income streams, the organization will face major financial challenges, with the possibility that the operations supporting the governance, management, promotion and communication of the working and interest groups will be substantially downsized. Given the incredible success of the RDA thus far, a diminished presence would be unfortunate, and would limit the RDA’s potential value and impact.  

In December 2020, the RDA Council set up a Financial Sustainability Task Force to openly investigate a series of different financial and business models.

Task force activities and presentations:

  • Individual membership fee survey (April - May 2021) - Web page
  • Financial Sustainability Plans: presentation at RDA Virtual Plenary 17
  • RDA Financial Sustainability Info Share | Q&A - Web page
    • 20 May 2021 15 UTC - Registration - Presentations
    • 25 May 2021 6 UTC - Registration




In April 2020, the RDA Association AISBL (RDA AISBL) was established in Belgium (Enterprise No. 0745917132) with its legal headquarters in Boulevard Louis Schmidt 24, 1040 Etterbeek, Belgium. The RDA AISBL is a non profit organisation whose mission is to support the Research Data Alliance community in Europe. The RDA Foundation Secretary General, Hilary Hanahoe, is ad-interim CEO and the European Council Members, Sandra Collins, Ingrid Dillo and Edit Herczog are Trustees together with Hilary Hanahoe.