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We describe the Data programme of the Dutch Techcentre for Life Sciences (DTL, www.dtls.nl). DTL is a new national organisation in scientific research that facilitates life scientists with technologies and technological expertise in an era where new projects often are data-intensive, multi-disciplinary, and multi-site. It is run as a lean not-for-profit organisation with research organisations (both academic and industrial) as paying members. The small staff of the organisation undertakes a variety of tasks that are necessary to perform or support modern academic research, but that are not easily undertaken in a purely academic setting. DTL Data takes care of such tasks related to data stewardship, facilitating exchange of knowledge and expertise, and brokering access to e-infrastructure. DTL also represents the Netherlands in ELIXIR, the European infrastructure for life science data. The organisation is still being fine-tuned and this will continue over time, as it is crucial for this kind of organisation to adapt to a constantly changing environment. However, already being underway for several years, our experiences can benefit researchers in other fields or other countries setting up similar initiatives.