Contextual Metadata Futures: Building Indigenous Data Provenance Capacity for the European Reference Genome Atlas


ERGA, the European Reference Genome Atlas aims to generate high-quality reference genomes for Europe’s eukaryotic biodiversity. ERGA has a member-base of 700 researchers across 48 countries. A key goal of ERGA is to streamline the collection and storage of ethical and legally compliant metadata for all genomic data generated. ERGA has partnered with Local Contexts to implement the Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Biocultural (BC) Labels. The Labels are an extra-legal digital intervention addressing issues of provenance, ownership, access, control and governance over Indigenous digital collections and data. This proposal is focused on operationalising the FAIR and CARE principles through the implementation of the Labels, creating an inclusive metadata collection infrastructure within ERGA that promotes and safeguards the interests and knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.


Ann Mc Cartney, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)


Ann graduated top of her class with a BSc in Genetics and Cell Biology in 2012 from Dublin City University, Ireland. She then received a national IRCSET scholarship to carry out a PhD in Bioinformatics and Molecular Evolution which she completed in 2012. This focused on using mathematical networks to uncover novel gene transcripts across primate species. From here, Ann went on to carry out a two year Postdoctoral Fellow position with 'Genomics Aotearoa' in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Here, she worked on building pipelines for the generation of high quality genomes for endemic, and endangered vertebrate and invertebrate species that were respectful to the Indigenous practices, protocols and knowledge systems of Māori. Currently, she is a Visiting Fellow in the Genome Informatics Section at NIH/NHGRI where she leads work for the European Reference Genome Atlas (, and Earth BioGenome Project ( on building inclusive, equitable, and scalable genomics infrastructures and policies alongside Sámi, Māori, and Native American partners. She is also a co-organiser of IndigiData (, and has led workshops for both SING Aotearoa and SING USA ( Ann is currently on detail in the NIH Office of Science Policy where she works on NIH Data Sharing and Management Policy and NIH Genomics Data Sharing Policy. 

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