New Data Partnerships Will Boost National Cutting-Edge Research

We're excited to announce a new investment of $5.8 million, with $6.6 million co-investments from collaborating organisations, for 13 new data partnership projects under the 2020 Australian Data Partnerships program.
Data partnerships

The Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) is excited to announce a new investment of $5.8 million, with $6.6 million co-investments from collaborating organisations, for 13 new data partnership projects under the 2020 Australian Data Partnerships program.

In September, the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) invited the research community to submit proposals to support the establishment and development of national level data assets that support leading edge research and drive increased benefits to society.

The breadth of investment across areas including health, political activity, animal care and the environment ensures Australia’s world class research system continues to improve productivity, create jobs, lift economic growth and support a healthy environment. 

Following a careful and thorough review process involving an international panel, the following data partnership projects were successful.

Lead: University of New South Wales

A partnership between the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), government departments, a consortium of research organisations and the ARDC will establish a new research version of existing national linked data assets held by AIHW. The LINked Data Asset for Australian Health Research (LINDAHR) will enable robust multi-jurisdictional research assessing the safety, quality, equity and value of health care and policies as well as studies of rare diseases and priority populations. It will enable timely and cost-effective research that will reduce harm and improve surveillance and crisis responses including to pandemics. It will include longitudinal person-based records for hospitalisations, emergency department and aged care services, Medicare services, subsidised medicines, disability, notifiable conditions, cancers, cancer screening, deaths, and social determinants of health. The asset will be accessible through a secure platform and is designed to enable the progressive linkage and integration of high-value investigator-initiated health datasets, including registries, cohort studies and clinical trials.

Lead: Australian National University

This project will create the Australian and New Zealand Leaders, Elections and Democracy (ANZLEAD) data asset. This asset will bring together a number of political and social science data sources into a comprehensive, integrated collection covering four key populations required for understanding the dynamics of political activity in Australia and New Zealand: The voting public (voters, citizens and the Australian and New Zealand population); Political elites (candidates, parliamentary members and bureaucrats); Elections (federal and state election results and enrolments); and Electorates (geographic and administrative characteristics of Federal and State electorates). These collections are national in scope, extensive in time scale (ranging from Federation to the present day), and cover a significant breadth of the political science discipline. Australian and New Zealand political science research has a long history of empirical research using national data sources for answering important questions about the nature of the Australian political and social systems.


Australian researchers and pest species managers are developing chemical, biological and genetic control strategies directed at native and invasive pest species. However, many critical species with environmental, agricultural and public health impacts lack good quality reference datasets such as genomes of relevance to Australia, associated population data and pipelines for downstream use and analysis of data assets.his project will deliver reference quality data assets for Australian pests and invasive species to facilitate the development and uptake of modern genome-based approaches to the management of these species. The ultimate beneficiaries will be the Australian people who will benefit from reduced public health risks and the reduction of impacts from these species.

Lead: The University of Queensland

This project will develop the first Australia-wide registry of animal and complementary human cancers. The registry, ACARCinom, will generate a sustainable, unified, integrated and accessible data asset for identifying patterns and trends in animal and human cancers, as well as quantifying the role of predisposing risk factors. Companion animals are sentinels of certain human cancers of environmental origin and analysis of the ACARCinom data asset can point to shared cancer hot-spots and uncover associated predisposing environmental risk factors for cancers in animals and humans.

Lead: The University of Queensland

Large collections of language data have been amassed in Australia but many remain under-utilised or at risk. The Language Data Commons of Australia (LDaCA) will be a sustainable long-term repository for ingesting and curating existing language data collections of national significance. These collections include intangible cultural heritage of the languages of some of the world’s longest continuous cultures in one of the world’s most linguistically diverse regions (Australian Indigenous languages and regional languages of the Pacific), and data which is important for cyber-security (AusTalk, Australian National Corpus, corpora of regional languages), for gauging popular opinions and sentiment (Australian Twitter Corpus), and for emergency communication (languages of the region and some Indigenous languages). This data asset will open up the social and economic possibilities of Australia’s rich linguistic heritage and lay the foundation for the establishment of a broader HASS (Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences) Research Data Commons.

Lead: University of New South Wales

AusTraits is an emerging national data asset quantifying the traits of Australia’s flora, which comprises approximately 26,000 different plant species. This project will consolidate and expand AusTraits with improved data coverage and quality, new data ingestion workflows and enhanced access and discoverability.

Functional and structural traits,such as leaf size, potential photosynthetic rate, maximum height, floral colour, floral symmetry capture differences among species in their ecology, function, and evolution, and are crucial for advancing core research and applied outcomes in plant science. By delivering a research-ready resource, AusTraits will transform the ability to both understand and manage Australian vegetation.

Lead: The University of Queensland

The aim of the ACSC is to consolidate, store and distribute high-value Quantum Mechanical (QM) and simulation data. Data derived from Quantum Mechanical (QM) calculations on individual molecules together with computer simulations of the dynamic behaviour of complex molecular systems play a central role in areas ranging from drug and materials design to understanding the function of cellular components. Until recently, repeating these calculations was often as efficient as storing the results. Today, the size and complexity of the systems considered mean that these calculations represent very large investments of time and resources, consuming a major proportion of the nation’s computational resources. Given the utility of the data and the magnitude of the investment, there is a pressing need for this data to be centralised, organised and shared. Consolidation of data will facilitate the development and validation of methodology, aid the interpretation of experimental data, and provide a starting point for future research.

Lead: Monash University

A national transfusion dataset that captures all hospital transfusions, not just massive transfusions, and integrates pre-hospital and in-hospital transfusion data is required to support policy and research. This project will enhance the Massive Transfusion Registry (MTR), an internationally unique, multi-institutional collaboration collecting data on massive transfusions in all clinical settings, to create a national transfusion data set. Over 10,000 cases have been submitted to the MTR from 41 hospitals across Australia and New Zealand. In addition to the MTR, Monash University manages national datasets for blood diseases such as myeloma, lymphoma and aplastic anaemia which already contain longitudinal data. Linking the national transfusion dataset with clinical registry data will show how and why blood products are used, and the clinical outcomes of transfused patients.

Lead: The University of Western Australia

Marine imagery and annotation data on fish and shark assemblages provide powerful biodiversity reporting and impactful science communication. This project will provide transformational data analytics and environmental reporting workflows by implementing new data summary and synthesis layers within GlobalArchive; and improving the FAIR status and discoverability of these powerful data assets.
The existing Australian Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) Synthesis data asset, established through GlobalArchive, has the potential to contribute key biodiversity indicators nationally, for State of the Environment Reporting and Ocean Accounts.

This type of data has been used to illustrate climate change impacts, reveal environmental change within marine parks and indicate pathways to maximise bio-economic management globally.

Lead: The University of Sydney

The four Australian Poisons Information Centres (PICs) receive over 200,000 calls annually, providing a national service to healthcare professionals and the public. There is an urgent need for poisoning data to inform research and responses in a diverse range of areas, including drug safety, product safety, suicide & injury prevention, and paediatric poisonings. This project aims to create a real-time, secure Australian PIC dataset, that includes exposure, demographic, clinical and advice details, all of which will be a vital tool for public health surveillance and research.

Lead: Telethon Kids Institute

Child health and development is deeply complex, and is impacted by a considerable number of environmental, social, and genetic factors. This project will create the Australian National Child Health and Development Atlas data asset. This data asset will incorporate Commonwealth, State and non-government organisation data relevant to the health and wellbeing of Australian children, enabling the visualisation, analysis, and monitoring of child health and wellbeing metrics. It will empower researchers, non-government, state and federal organisations and policy makers to identify potential priorities for child health research and initiatives in meaningful and cost-effective ways.

Lead: University of Tasmania

Wave dynamics are critical to ocean industries, coastal development and leisure activities. This project will build on the current surface wave data collections that are available on the Integrated Marine Observing System’s Australian Ocean Data Network (AODN) Portal, and enhance their use within and beyond Australia. This will be achieved by making an expanded, harmonised, standardised and trustworthy collection of wave measurements, collected by a range of platforms, available to researchers and other stakeholders.


Human mobility data is a key ingredient in modelling the spread of infectious diseases through and across populations. This project addresses the challenge of transforming available mobility data into a consistent format that is suitable for analysis in a broad range of research areas. Merging the various individual datasets will drastically improve the quality and coverage of existing datasets and provide a comprehensive national human mobility data asset. The final data asset will be hosted and made publicly available on the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN).

Read more about the ARDC’s Australian Data Partnerships program.