Susanna-Assunta Sansone BSc MSc DIC PhD

Associate Professor in Data Readiness

Associate Director, Oxford e-Research Centre

  • Biography
  • Research
  • Publications
  • Community Boards
  • DPhil Opportunities
  • Teaching


Professor Susanna-Assunta Sansone completed a Diploma (1997) and PhD (2000) in Molecular Biology in the Faculty of Medicine, St Mary’s Hospital, of the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London.

In 1999, she joined an Imperial spin off (Microscience Ltd. now Emergent BioSolutions, Inc.) to work as a Senior Scientist on the molecular characterization of a vaccine strain. In 2001, she moved to the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI, Cambridge) where she worked as a Project and Team Coordinator and Principal Investigator in research data management.

Susanna moved to Oxford in October 2010 as Principal Investigator at the Oxford e-Research Centre, and in 2013 she was appointed to her current position of Associate Director. Since 2012 she is also a consultant for Nature Research Group at Springer Nature, and the founding editor of its Scientific Data journal.

Listen to Susanna describing her group work in this 1 minute video.

Research Interests

The work undertaken by Professor Susanna-Assunta Sansone's group focuses around the areas of knowledge and information management, and interoperability of applications, mainly (but not exclusively) operating in the life, environmental and biomedical sciences. They are interested in data reproducibility and the evolution of scholarly publishing, which drive science and discoveries.

More specifically, the group investigates and implements new ways to make digital research objects (including data, software, model and workflows) Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable, in one other word: FAIR.

In this modern, data-driven age, governments, funders and publishers expect greater transparency and reuse of research data, as well as greater access to and preservation of the data that supports research findings. This requires greater researcher responsibility for the produced data, which should result in greater confidence in, and the reuse of, existing data.

With her team of data engineers (research software and knowledge engineers), Susanna-Assunta collaborates with researchers in academic, governmental and commercial settings, informatics professionals, service providers, learned societies, precompetitive informatics initiatives, library science experts, journal editors, funders and policymakers worldwide, to:

  • Enable science by developing and implementing methods and standards-driven open source resources to improve the collection, curation, representation and publication of multi-dimensional data
  • Influence data policies by leading and promoting guiding principles for scientific data management and stewardship to ensure data is discoverable, accessible and ready for reuse
  • Prepare a new generation of scientists by creating and delivering educational lectures, training and teaching material, to address the glaring lack of courses in these specialized subjects, also mentoring, tutoring and supervising high-achieving undergraduate and graduate students.

Funded by the UK Research Councils and the Wellcome Trust, the European Commission, the USA National Institutes of Health and pharmas, they have international collaborations and a diverse network, which have enabled them to successfully deliver useful and impactful resources, including:

The group's outputs are embedded in major research and infrastructure programme and initiatives, such as ELIXIR and the ELIXIR-UK, European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), Research Data Alliance (RDA), NIH Data Commons, and GOFAIR.

Current Projects


2019-2023 Wellcome Trust “FAIRsharing service: supporting the research life cycle”

Development of a high-quality service to accelerate discovery, selection and use of repositories, standards, policies; increasing their producers’ satisfaction in terms of visibility, reuse and citations of the resources, and consumers guidance.

2019-2023 EC H2020 “EOSC-Life: infrastructure for life science data”

A joint project between 39 institutions (leading major Europe’s biological and medical sciences’ research infrastructures) to achieve a shared vision of an open collaborative digital space for European Life Science and biomedical scientists.

2019-2022 EC and EFPIA IMI “FAIRplus”

Joint project with ELIXIR Hub, several Nodes and pharmas (AstraZeenca, Janssen, Eli Lilly, GSK, Novartis, Bayer and Boehringer Ingelheim) to develop guidelines and tools to make data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable, according to the FAIR principles.

2018-2021 Wellcome Trust “ISA and InterMine:  accelerating and rewarding data sharing”

A joint project to further develop and combine ISA and InterMine into an integrated system implementing a workflow to incentivise metadata collection, and the ability to automatically find, collect, integrate, reuse and publish data.

2018-2019 ELIXIR Hub “Data FAIRification”

Funded by the ELIXIR Hub, this implementation study enable the engagement with other ELIXIR Nodes to define and improve the level of FAIRness of the ELIXIR Core Data resources.

2018-2019 ELIXIR Hub “Data Validation”

Funded by the ELIXIR Hub, this implementation study enables the engagement with other ELIXIR Nodes to define rules and methods for validation datasets against community metadata standards.

2017-2021 USA NIH Data Commons Pilot “Facilitation center”

A joint center with University of Maryland tasked to help the NIH coordinating the activities of the Data Commons Pilot Phase Consortium (DCPPC), set to accelerate new biomedical discoveries by making the digital products of biomedical research FAIR.

2017-2021 USA NIH Data Commons Pilot “Development and implementation plan for community-supported FAIR guidelines and metrics”

A collaboration between Mount Sinai, Miami, Maastricht, Oxford universities and Deloitte Consulting, this project will pilot several efforts to bring the FAIR principles into practice for biological and biomedical resources.

2017-2021 USA NIH Data Commons Pilot “Cloud agnostic architecture to safely access, reuse indexed FAIR objects”

A collaboration between UCSD, Texas, Michigan and Oxford universities, this project will pilot the implementation of policies and best practices for privacy protection and security of data in a index and search engine.

2017-2021 EC and ESFRI Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) “IMPRiND: inhibiting misfolded protein propagation in neurodegenerative diseases

Part of Europe’s largest public-private initiative, this consortium of pharmas and academics works to identify druggable targets modulating misfolded proteins in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

2015-2019 EC H2020 “ELIXIR-EXCELERATE”

Coordinated by the ELIXIR Hub, the project involves 46 partners from 17 countries to help ELIXIR coordinate and extend national and international data resources and ensure the delivery of world-leading data services, supporting all sectors of life science R&D.

2015-2018 UK BBSRC “COPO: collaborative open plant omics infrastructure”

A joint project with the BBSRC Earlham Institute, with contributions from the EBI and York, to develop a collaborative platform providing tools and training to both life and computer scientists in the plant bioscience field.




Susanna's full listing of research papers are available on Google Scholar.

Selected publications

Wilkinson, Sansone, Schultes et al. A design framework and exemplar metrics for FAIRness. Sci Data 2018 Jun 26;5.

Ohno-Machado, Sansone, Alter, et al. DataMed: Finding useful data across multiple biomedical data repositories. Nat Genet. 2017 May 26;49(6):816-819.

Wilkinson, Dumontier, Aalbersberg et al. The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship. Sci Data 2016 Mar 15;3.

Baker, Klemm, Harper, Gaheen, Heiskanen, Rocca-Serra and Sansone. Standardizing data. Nat Nanotechnol. 2013 Feb;8(2).

Sansone, Rocca-Serra, Field D et al. Toward interoperable bioscience data. Nat Genet. 2012 Jan 27;44(2).

Field, Sansone, Collis et al. Megascience. 'Omics data sharing. Science. 2009 Oct 9;326(5950).

Taylor, Field, Sansone, et al. Promoting coherent minimum reporting guidelines for biological and biomedical investigations: the MIBBI project. Nat Biotechnol. 2008 Aug;26(8).

Smith, Ashburner, Rosse et al. The OBO Foundry: coordinated evolution of ontologies to support biomedical data integration. Nat Biotechnol. 2007 Nov;25(11).

Editorial Boards

  • 2013-present - Scientific Data journal Founding Academic Editor, Springer Nature
  • 2011-present - GigaScience journal Editorial Board Member, Oxford University Press
  • 2009-present -  Journal of Biomedical Semantics Editorial Board Member, BioMedCentral
  • 2009-present - Reviewer for PloS and Springer Nature journals
  • 2009-2014 - Standards in Genomic Sciences journal Founding Member, BioMedCentral
  • 2006-2009 - OMICS: A Journal of Integrative Biology Editorial Board Member, Mary Ann Liebert

Community Services

  • 2016- present Board of Directors Member – Massive Analysis and QC (MAQC) Society.
  • 2016- present Research Data Management Advisory Board Member – Elsevier.
  • 2015-present UK Node Management Committee Member – ELIXIR UK Node.
  • 2015-present Force11 Advisory Board Member – Force11 Community.
  • 2015-present Standards Registry Working Group Co-chair – Research Data Alliance (RDA).
  • 2015-present Source Data Project Advisory Board Member – EMBO Press.
  • 2015-present Data Processing & Integration TC276/WG5 Technical Committee Member – ISO
  • 2014-present UK Open Research Data Forum Member – multi-stakeholders, including RCUK, JISC, Wellcome Trust, Royal Society and Universities UK.
  • 2013-2016 Technical Advisory Board Member – Research Data Alliance.
  • 2013-2014 Data Intensive Bioscience Expert Working Group Member – BBSRC.
  • 2012-2017 Board of Directors Member and (elected in 2015 as) Vice-Chair – Dryad.
  • 2010-2011 Data Sharing Policy Monitoring Group Member – BBSRC.
  • 2010-2011 Insect Pollinators Initiative Review Panel Member – BBSRC.
  • 2008-2014 Coordinating Committee Member – OBO Foundry.
  • 2007-present Board of Directors Member – Genomics Standards Consortium (GSC).
  • 2007-2013 Bio-Ontology Co-chair – ISMB Community of Special Interest Bio-Ontology.
  • 2005-2010 Board of Directors Member – Metabolomics Standards Initiative (MSI).
  • 2004-2008 Post-Genomics and Proteomics Steering Committee, Data Management Chair – NERC.
  • 2004-2010 Coordinator Committee Member – Ontology for Biomedical Investigations (OBI) consortium.
  • 2003-2012 Board of Directors Member – FGED (previously MGED) Society.

DPhil Opportunities

I am currently looking for motivated DPhil/PhD students to join my group. If you have an interest in my areas of activity, please get in touch with your CV and project proposal.


  • 2018- present: 'Introduction to Data Readiness', part of the Biomedical Engineering coursework module, 2nd year of the MEng in Engineering Science
  • 2014-present: 'Data Management, Analysis and Statistics' foundation module; Oxford BBSRC Interdisciplinary Bioscience Doctoral Training Programme, and the EPSRC, BBSRC synthetic Biology Centre for Doctoral training.

University and Departmental Duties

  • 2017- present: Member of the Biomedical Research and Teaching Panel, Department of Engineering Science
  • 2017- present: Member of the Information Research andTeaching Panel, Department of Engineering Science
  • 2016-2017: Chair of the Research File Service Board, University of Oxford
  • 2015-2016: Chair of the Storage as a Service Board, University of Oxford
  • 2015-present: Member of the Research Data Management Delivery Group, University of Oxford
  • 2014-present: Member of the Research Data Oxford Support Group, University of Oxford
  • 2013-present: Member of the IT Architecture Advisory Group, University of Oxford