OpenDreamKit – A grant proposal written openly and collaboratively
I recently had the good fortune to be involved in the creation of a European H2020 grant proposal called OpenDreamKit along with an international team from 15 institutions. My own contributions to this proposal were extremely modest and it was my first ever experience of being directly involved in an academic grant proposal. It’s the very first thing I’ve been involved with as part of my new appointment at The University of Sheffield.
Quoting from the proposal:
OpenDreamKit will deliver a flexible toolkit enabling research groups to set up Virtual Research Environments, customised to meet the varied needs of research projects in pure mathematics and applications and supporting the full research life-cycle from exploration, through proof and publication, to archival and sharing of data and code.
One of the many things that’s so great about this proposal is how it was written. Co-ordinated by Nicolas Thiéry, 33 contributors wrote it in LaTeX with version control provided by git and github. The video below, produced using gource, is a visualation of the github repo over time and shows how we all danced around and with each other. My new manager, Neil Lawrence, who was much more deeply involved than I has good things to say about the process too.
The proposal was submitted yesterday after a lot of hard work and, as Nicholas Thiery commented in one of his emails to the group, is “Open from start to end :-)”
The Sage Facebook page summed up my thoughts about this project perfectly: “See the collaboration behind the *proposal*, and imagine the collaboration in the software!”