9 Nodes Announced for the National Health Studies Data Infrastructure

The ARDC is pleased to announce the establishment of 9 initial nodes of the HeSANDA network.

The Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) is pleased to announce the establishment of 9 initial nodes of the Health Studies Australian National Data Asset (HeSANDA) network, a nationally distributed network of health data sharing infrastructure.

HeSANDA aims to build the national infrastructure required to support the sharing and reuse of health research data in a way that would bring value to the research community, increase the efficiency of research, and provide benefits for the health of Australia’s population. The program seeks to increase research impact and integrity by supporting activities like new research, meta-analysis, and clinical guideline development.

By creating a national asset from the data outputs of health research projects, HeSANDA hopes to maximise the investment into health research by schemes such as the NHMRC Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies (CTCS) program.

HeSANDA Infrastructure Development

HeSANDA Infrastructure Development is one of three major work streams in the Health Studies Australian National Data Asset (HeSANDA) program and will deliver the infrastructure to enable the creation of a national health data asset.

HeSANDA Infrastructure Development is using a co-creation approach. The ARDC is facilitating collaborative partnerships between research institutions, organisations, and other relevant stakeholders involved in clinical trials research.

A series of consultation workshops run by the ARDC, with assistance from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA), clinical trialists and researchers, health consumers, research institutions, and infrastructure providers and policy makers involved in clinical trials research, helped to build consensus around the purpose, content, and requirements for a national health data asset to be created through the HeSANDA initiative.

Following the initial consultations, the ARDC released an open call for clusters of research organisations to develop the initial set of infrastructure nodes in the HeSANDA network.

From the proposals, 9 initial nodes were selected to form the HeSANDA network. Below are the successful node proposals and the lead organisations.

Node proposal titleLead organisation
Health Studies Australian National Data Asset: Queensland Node ProposalBrisbane Diamantina Health Partners (University of Queensland)
Northern Australian NodeMenzies School of Health Research
Sydney Health Partners led by NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, at The University of SydneyUniversity of Sydney
WAHTN Clinical Trials and Data Management CentreCurtin University
MACH Clinical Trials ConsortiumUniversity of Melbourne
Mental HealthDeakin University
Monash and Partners HeSANDA NodeMonash University
SA HeSANDA NodeSouth Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) the administering institution for Health Translation SA (HTSA)
National Cancer Cooperative Trials GroupsAustralasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group

These 9 initial nodes confirm a broad national participation covering 72 health research organisations including:

  • 18 universities, 10 medical research institutes, 19 health service operators, 16 clinical trial networks and 9 other organisations
  • all Australian states and territories with the exception of Tasmania and the ACT
  • considerable depth in several specialised fields of health research:
    • The National Cooperative Cancer Trials Group node represents the 14 major cancer clinical trials networks in Australia.
    • The Mental Health node includes nascent clinical trials networks spanning major universities, medical research institutes and health services conducting research into adult, child and youth mental health.
    • The Northern Australian node provides national leadership in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research and international leadership in tropical medicine and disease research.
    • The node network is strongly aligned to the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance, the national peak body supporting and representing networks of clinician-researchers, and the Australian Health Research Alliance, whose member Centres collectively encompass over 90% of researchers and 80% of acute health care services in the country.

The 9 nodes present a co-investment by partners of $2,579,635 which represents a 1:1 coinvestment ratio at the program level.

Next Steps

The establishment of this 9-node network commences in Q3 2021, and will continue the consensus building approach that underpins the HeSANDA initiative.

From mid 2021 to mid 2023, ARDC will facilitate the co-design of the Coherent Data Practices, coinvest in the development of Coordinated Data Services across the node network, and test and deploy an initial set of Federation Services to complete the rollout of the HeSANDA infrastructure and national data asset.

The initial rollout of the data asset will contain clinical trials data generated from >$56 million of public investment from the NHMRC and MRFF.

Learn more about the HeSANDA program.