Finalists Announced for the ARDC Eureka Prize for Excellence in Research Software

We congratulate the finalists for the inaugural ARDC Eureka Prize for Excellence in Research Software.
ARDC sponsored Eureka Prize

The Australian Museum has announced the finalists for the ARDC Eureka Prize for Excellence in Research Software. 

The new Eureka Prize, co-designed by the Australian Museum and the ARDC, recognises and celebrates those who develop and maintain software in Australia that underpins research and scientific discovery. 

The Prize is awarded for the development, maintenance or extension of software that has enabled significant new scientific research. This kind of work is often the recipient of multiple rounds of funding and or institutional support. It is often collaborative and international in nature, and so this prize is celebrating Australia’s part in this international endeavour.

“We’re excited to see the work of developers and maintainers of research software elevated to a national audience for the first time in the new ARDC-sponsored Eureka Prize,” said Dr Adrian Burton, Acting CEO, ARDC. “The diversity of finalists – from the life sciences, geology and bioinformatics – demonstrates the critical role of research software in research.”

“We see software as a critical enabler of research. When research software is combined with high quality data, researchers can unlock new findings for the benefit of all Australians.”

Finalists for the ARDC Eureka Prize for Excellence in Research Software

Dr Minh Bui and Professor Robert Lanfear, Australian National University

Dr Bui and Professor Lanfear combined their computer science and biology expertise to develop IQ-TREE2 – free, open-source software that turns DNA data into crucial evolutionary insights.

Used to investigate everything from early life forms to the virus causing the COVID-19 pandemic, this user-friendly tool, first released in 2019, has become a staple for life scientists worldwide. IQ-TREE2 is supported by the University of Vienna and the Australian National University; has received research funding from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and Australian Research Council (ARC);  and has received philanthropic funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Simons Foundation. 

GPlates, University of Sydney

GPlates is open-source software that brings geodata to life by tracing tectonic shifts over geological time. Through virtual models of Earth’s systems, GPlates helps researchers better understand our planet’s complex geological history and possible future. Broadly applied across science, education and industry, it has contributed to more than 1500 research papers. GPlates is supported by AuScope, a national research infrastructure facility supported by the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).

mixOmics, University of Melbourne

Created by statisticians, bioinformaticians and computational biologists, mixOmics is a statistical toolkit that gives researchers across academia and industry the ability to analyse large, complex datasets from cutting-edge biotechnologies. The software allows scientists to integrate data from a wide range of sources into a single, unified view, helping them make significant medical and biological discoveries. mixOmics is supported by National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Cancer Research Foundation, ARC, University of Queensland (travel grants), Health Research Council, Maurice and Phyllis Paykel Trust, along with international support.

We thank all those who entered the competition.

The new Eureka Prize is part of the ARDC’s national agenda to recognise research software as a first-class research output. We’re engaging widely with Australia’s research sector to deliver the agenda.

Register for the live stream of the Eureka Prizes on 23 August 2023. For more research software news, subscribe to the ARDC newsletter.

The ARDC is funded through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) to support national digital research infrastructure for Australian researchers.