Skip to content

Five minute profile: interview with Rosie Seaman

Rosie Seaman stands on top of a hill, holding a flask and smiling
Five minute profiles

Research Data Scotland

06 Oct 2023

Rosie Seaman, Data Sourcing Manager, explains what her role entails and what difference she hopes RDS will make for researchers.

What’s your role at RDS and what does your typical workday involve?

There is no typical day for me at RDS (yet)– every day presents new challenges but my job always involves collaborative working with colleagues from across RDS and our partners.

I am a data sourcing manager but this role involves a lot of different elements. From collaborating with our fantastic team of analysts to problem solve and develop reproducible code for data anonymisation and quality control checks, to co-writing funding applications and building user engagement with the Partnerships and Communications team.

What’s your background and how does it give you additional insight to your work at RDS?

Not so long ago, I was an administrative data researcher. I have always been an advocate for using administrative data for public good but I understand and empathise with the challenges researchers face. My motivation for joining RDS was that I believed in creating a better way for researchers to access administrative data, especially when projects are on the most contemporary social issues.

I worked on three administrative data projects in less than two years: perinatal mental health, drug-related deaths, and child-care quality. Before joining RDS, I received funding from the RDS public engagement fund for the perinatal mental health project to engage with people on how data is used in research. The project will culminate with an animated short film, which will be screened as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival on Wednesday 11 October.

In each of the three administrative data projects I’ve worked on, I’ve been amazed by the wildly different routes for obtaining access to data. The one common feature was that everyone involved, from the data controllers to researchers wanted the data to be used for public good. Within a matter of days of working at RDS, I knew that I was surrounded by even more people who share that common goal.

“RDS genuinely has a very contemporary understanding of how to build a supportive working environment and what a post-covid working world looks like.”

Rosie Seaman

What’s a highlight and a challenge of your role?

The highlights are easy - all of the RDS staff and the progressive working environment. I have never worked for a small organisation before, and it is really refreshing to know everyone by their first name and to see everyone’s tangible contributions. RDS also didn’t exist pre-covid, so we are not an organisation that is trying to return to previous ways of working. RDS genuinely has a very contemporary understanding of how to build a supportive working environment and what a post-covid working world looks like.

The challenges are that the data and research landscapes are always rapidly changing. RDS want to ensure researcher access in Scotland will be sustainable and fit for purpose now and long into the future. The challenges are the uncertainties of knowing if the changes RDS will make will be the right changes at the right time.

What difference do you hope RDS will make? 

RDS will make differences in so many ways. These may be small differences, that are not noticeable to researchers such as changing the technical processes of splitting, anonymising and quality checking data to the changes that will be visible to researchers, such as streamlining and modernising the application processes.

I used to think of the changes as a domino effect, we just needed to find the right domino to make everything else fall into place. That idea rapidly changed, the changes are part of a big puzzle, and we need all the pieces and all the partners to see the completed puzzle, there is no one piece more important than the other.

“I have always been most inspired by people who truly work collaboratively”

Rosie Seaman

What would be your "Mastermind" specialist subject?

I would say board games, specifically board game rules, board game creators, and board game prizes!

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received? 

I have always been most inspired by people who truly work collaboratively, who share opportunities with others, and who are realistic with expectations of themselves and of others. These characteristics tend to be correlated within the same people (no research to reference).

A very recent piece of advice I received for feeling fulfilled in any job is to try to acknowledge and balance three things: The autonomy you have, the capabilities you have, and the meaningful connections you have with the people you work with. 

Related content

Subscribe to our updates 

To stay updated with Research Data Scotland, subscribe to our mailing list or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn

Sign up here Sign up here
Illustration of an envelope with a letter sticking out and a mobile phone with a person