GW Awarded a Sloan Foundation Grant to Launch Open Source Program Office

August 28, 2023

lorena barba

The George Washington University (GW) has been awarded a two-year, $685,652 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to establish an Open Source Program Office (OSPO). The OSPO will be led by principal investigators Dr. Lorena Barba, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, who will serve as the Faculty Director, and Dean Geneva Henry, Dean of Libraries and Academic Innovation and Vice Provost for Information Technology. 

The OSPO will coordinate and support open source software development across GW, helping researchers embrace open source tools and practices. It aims to create a culture of open collaboration and knowledge sharing aligned with GW’s research and educational mission through activities such as training programs, infrastructure, and tools for open source development, events fostering community and collaboration, and developing partnerships with industry and government.

“Major federal agencies are mandating open data sharing and promoting open science. With the OSPO’s programs and GW’s talented community, we are set to be leaders in this growing movement. I’m honored and excited to be guiding this effort as Faculty Director,” Dr. Barba stated.

Dr. Barba is a globally recognized leader in open source software and open education. She has served on the board of NumFOCUS, a nonprofit supporting open source scientific computing, and was one of the founding editors of The Journal of Open Source Software. Dean Henry has over 40 years of experience in digital libraries, data management, and complex systems integration. As Dean of GW Libraries, she has spearheaded initiatives in open access publishing, open data, and open educational resources.

Dr. Barba and Dean Henry will utilize this expertise to guide the OSPO in coordinating GW’s diverse open source efforts into a cohesive program. Its overarching mission is to make open source an integral part of GW’s research and education ecosystem at every level. For example, it will enable researchers to comply with open data mandates, navigate intellectual property issues, and develop strategies for managing research software. The OSPO will also expand educational offerings to give students hands-on open source development experience.

“Open source has tremendous benefits for advancing research and enriching education,” explains Dr. Barba. “With the OSPO, we aim to make GW a leader in open scholarship by creating an ecosystem where open source is an integral part of our community’s ethos.”