Agis Papantoniou

Data Science

Fostering Interoperability of European Qualifications: The Qualification Data Repository (QDR)

​The Qualification Data Repository is a software component that allows providers of data on qualifications, such as ministries of Member States or awarding bodies, to upload datasets for publication on  European portals. A common qualification metadata schema (QMS) ensures that qualifications are described in a consistent manner by all data providers and can be brought together at European level, while the DCAT vocabulary [1] and its subsequent Application Profile (DCAT-AP) guarantee the dataset versioning. The data providers upload and manage the datasets on qualifications to the QDR, and from there information on qualifications can be published on the Learning Opportunities and Qualifications in Europe Portal [2], in the ESCO qualifications pillar [3] or in Europass. QDR is at its final stage of development and is currently being tested by Member States, before its final deployment at the European Commission premises.

The need for transparent information on qualifications and learning opportunities across Europe stems from the fact that such information is essential to support recruitment, career management, lifelong learning strategies and recognition processes. This requires stakeholders (awarding bodies, Member States authorities, employment services, education/training institutes, social partners, jobseekers, learners, employers, etc.) to cooperate with each other, to share information and to develop a common understanding of information relating to qualifications, occupational experiences and skills acquired in other countries.
This need for interoperability and common understanding of information led the European Commission to develop the QMS (European Qualifications Metadata Schema) and the QDR.
The QMS is an application profile used to describe qualifications and aimed at supporting linked data publishing of qualifications across Europe. Once the Member States develop their Qualifications - hosted in their National Qualification Databases - according to the QMS, then collecting the data and providing a comprehensive (and versioned) listing of these datasets is needed. This is where QDR comes into place and throughout the presentation, its basic components and supporting data publishing workflows will be explained.
The innovative aspect of the presentation stems from the fact that both the QMS and the QDR are the first initiatives at European level that foster semantic and technical interoperability and data publishing relating to European Qualifications.
Through QMS and QDR various stakeholders will now be able publish re-usable and computer-processable information:
•    Awarding bodies about the qualifications they award
•    Training bodies about the learning opportunities they offer
•    Ministries or other competent national authorities about officially recognised qualifications
•    Accreditation and other quality assurance bodies in education about the qualifications that have been accredited or quality assured
The Commission or any other actor can combine the information above, exploit it and include it in web portals (such as the "Learning opportunities and qualifications" portal, the ESCO portal or EURES Drop'pin), in online services (such as job matching features of EURES or CV creation in Europass) and in semantic assets for republication as part of an interlinked data set (such as ESCO or national classifications).
The development of both the QMS and the QDR was not an easy task. The presentation will address the main lessons learnt including the results of the methodology applied for the development of the QMS and the technical challenges encountered when developing a versioned (semantic) data repository, like QDR.


​Agis is the CEO of Cognizone (, a company specializing in the domain of Data Governance, Data Processing and Data Publishing by applying Semantic Technologies and Linked Open Data. During the last 18 years, Agis has been involved in large multinational projects as a Project Manager and Senior Consultant, with the most recent being ESCO, the European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations classification. After he completed his PhD thesis in 2003 Agis was a Senior Researcher and Visiting Lecturer at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), performing research and training over Linked Open Data and from September 2012 until February 2013 he was an Invited Expert in the W3C Government Linked Data Working Group and a co-editor of the W3C Registered Organization Vocabulary (now a European standard called Core Business Vocabulary).
Agis’ research interests can be summarized in Linked Open Data & Semantic Web Technologies, Knowledge Management & Engineering and Labour Market (Data) Analytics and his 4-year involvement in the ESCO project significantly strengthened his business and academic profile in the areas of Job Creation, Skills, Qualifications and Vocational Education & Trainings along with Employment Policies and Social Governance. Among his publications it is worth mentioning: "ESCO: Boosting Job Matching in Europe with Semantic Interoperability," (Computer , vol.47, no.10, pp.57,64, Oct. 2014, doi: 10.1109/MC.2014.283) and “Public spending as LOD: the case of Greece” (Semantic Web Journal, IOS Press, 2013)