Driving innovative digital infrastructure for bushfire research.

The Bushfire Data Challenges program is part of the ARDC’s Translational Research Data Challenges initiative. Bushfire Data Challenges projects will develop innovative digital infrastructure solutions to current data challenges in bushfire research, with the aim of improving Australia’s bushfire resilience, response and recovery.

Projects will be mission driven, national scale, collaborative, unique, enduring and integrative across technological, cultural and organisational silos.

As part of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, the program seeks to develop national scale data and digital infrastructure capability aligned with national priority research programs.

More information on the program intent is in the full program description [PDF 565kb]. You may also view the frequently asked questions, or submit a question.


The development of projects within the Bushfire Data Challenges program will take a participatory design approach. The ARDC will facilitate collaborative partnerships between government agencies, industry, research institutes and other relevant stakeholders.

The ARDC invites interested participants to register their interest. The ARDC will then host a series of participatory workshops and consultation meetings with registered stakeholders in order to build the collaborative scale and focus of the projects.

Through these workshops and subsequent roundtable discussions, the various data challenges and technological barriers that exist within bushfire research priorities will be identified. Potential solutions to overcoming these data challenges will be channelled into specific project proposals. Organisations who have participated in the workshops and roundtables will be invited to submit their proposals.

bushfire with firefighter


The table below provides an indicative time frame for these activities. Please note  the ongoing impact of COVID-19 may result in significant changes over time.

Register of interest open30 September to 16 November 2020
Participatory workshopsDecember 2020 to January 2021
Roundtable sessionsJanuary to March 2021
Proposal developmentQ1 2021
Successful projects announcedQ2 2021


Projects in the Bushfire Data Challenges program aim to build digital infrastructure solutions to support translational research. Projects will:

  • Establish new or improve existing data collections.
  • Adopt platform solutions (or elements thereof) that enable researchers to collect or generate data, analyse those data and produce FAIR output data.
  • Use underpinning infrastructure to store, access and analyse data.
  • Create legal, governance, policy, technology, collaboration and participation frameworks to enable success.


While the scope of projects will depend on the outcomes of the consultation/facilitation phase (Dec-Mar), the ARDC will invest upwards of $1m each in two Bushfire Data Challenges projects to commence in 2021. ARDC standard policy requires a 1:1 co-investment ratio between ARDC’s investment and that of all the other project participants combined.

The project duration is up to three years, with an expectation that the new digital infrastructure will be maintained on an ongoing basis by the project partners following the formal project phase.


Project proposals will be accepted from Australian organisations including public and private sector, research institutions (such as universities, NCRIS facilities, publicly funded research agencies and medical research institutes), and other relevant stakeholders. Note that the ARDC will need to contract with a legal entity.