A national-scale data infrastructure for health research and research translation

The Challenge

Health research is a national priority. Australia has world-class health research and industry thanks to significant investment in both research and the translation of health research to benefit the wider community. The driving force behind this pipeline from health research to impact is data and evidence-based healthcare improvements.

The national data landscape for health research is rich, diverse and complex - spanning multiple sectors, jurisdictions and data modalities. The sensitive nature of health data, combined with privacy and regulatory requirements, means there is a critical need for digital research infrastructure that can support secure and seamless national-scale research.

The Approach

A Thematic Research Data Commons (Thematic RDC) is a vehicle for the ARDC and our national partners to collaboratively develop and deliver sustainable digital research infrastructure on a national scale. It will enable us to best meet the needs of our diverse national research communities in a strategic and comprehensive way.

The People Research Data Commons (People RDC) is the first of 2 pilot Thematic RDCs launching in the 2022-23 financial year.

The People RDC will support health and biomedical researchers to develop cross-sector and multi-disciplinary data collaborations on a national scale through federated models. It will integrate underpinning compute, storage infrastructure and services with analysis platforms and tools that are supported by expertise, standards and best practices.

We’re taking a co-design approach to developing the People RDC through collaborative partnerships between research institutions, industry, government agencies and other relevant national stakeholders.

The initial consultations began in May 2022 to help define ‘what’ the People RDC will deliver and ‘how’ it can be delivered collaboratively with our partners.

The registration of interest for the initial consultations opened to all in May 2022, with roundtables running on 1 & 2 June (video below).

Beyond the initial consultations, ongoing engagement with stakeholders will help further define the scope of services, projects and related capabilities that will be undertaken in the People RDC.

There is initial funding of $15.8 million to establish the two pilot Thematic RDCs in the 2022-23 financial year. This is an enduring initiative with the digital research infrastructure capabilities in the People RDC being sustained long term.


The ARDC is developing and delivering digital research infrastructure in the People RDC through collaborative partnerships with Australian organisations, including the public and private sector, research institutions (such as universities, NCRIS facilities, publicly funded research agencies and medical research institutes), and other relevant stakeholders.

We invite interested, eligible participants to register their interest to receive invitations to events and updates on the program. We host a series of consultation sessions, including roundtables, workshops and consultation meetings with registered stakeholders to develop the scope, scale and focus of the digital capabilities delivered through projects and enduring services.

Through these consultation sessions, we interrogate and prioritise the various data challenges, technological barriers and opportunities that can be addressed by the People RDC for national impact. Below is an indicative timeline for these activities.

  • Register your interest using the form below
  • Proposal development for pilot initiatives:  June - July 2022

Watch the Video Recording from 2 June Roundtable Discussion: People Research Data Commons for Health Research and Translation

Please preview the following documents to assist you develop a better understanding of the video recording from the roundtable discussion on 2 June: 

We want to hear from you: please send us your suggestions and comments on the People Research Data Commons through a short survey by Thursday 30 June 2022.

The Outcomes

The People RDC will deliver national data assets and digital capabilities to support the health research and research translation pipeline. This will include:

  • accessible existing national FAIR health data assets and new or improved data collections
  • platforms and solutions that enable researchers to collect or generate data, analyse those data and produce FAIR data outputs
  • enduring and underpinning infrastructure/services to support the research data lifecycle
  • expertise in data, the research data lifecycle and digital research infrastructure
  • legal, governance, policy, technology, collaboration and participation frameworks to enable success.

Register your interest

Register your interest in the People Research Data Commons below to receive invitations to events and updates on the program.

Connect with us

Get in touch with our team with any questions about the People Research Data Commons program.

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