Advancing data-intensive research in Australia

Categorised: News

Advancing data-intensive research in AustraliaA new report by the Australian Academy of Science, Advancing data-intensive research in Australia, was launched at the plenary session of the eResearch Australasia conference, held in October 2021.

Written by Emeritus Professor Michael Barber FAA (lead author), Professor Jane Elith FAA, Dr Danny Kingsley and Dr Ayesha Tulloch, the report presents findings from consultations with the research community on the challenges and opportunities of data-intensive research in Australia.

The report makes recommendations for steps that can improve the research data ecosystem in Australia.

Rosie Hicks, CEO of the ARDC said at eResearch Australasia later in the week, “We heard in the opening plenary that eResearch is an unnecessary distinction. All research is now underpinned by digital research infrastructure.”

“We need to transform the way we build and support research infrastructure. For the ARDC, this means transforming the way we support the research community. We need to converge to support fewer projects.”

“We're going to build on our recent programs, Health Studies Australian National Data Asset (HeSANDA), and Bushfire Data Challenges, in which we've brought together a significant community to identify the problems and build the solutions.

“The ARDC is developing a suite of Thematic Research Data Commons that will drive a sustainable, world-class national research infrastructure.”

The new ARDC Thematic Research Data Commons will develop national-scale data assets, digital tools and platforms within a thematic area to address Australia’s science and research priorities. The Thematic RDCs will be supported by existing ARDC underpinning infrastructure: cloud compute, data retention, expertise, and training and outreach activities. Sharing best practice across domains, the RDCs will result in significant optimisation, drive efficiency and provide maximum return on investment.

The ARDC exists to provide Australian researchers with competitive advantage through data, and supports the report’s goal of advancing data-intensive research in Australia by facilitating a coordinated response across the whole Australian research system.

We collaborate across universities, research organisations, eResearch infrastructure organisations, government and industry to enable the Australian research community and industry access to nationally significant, data intensive digital research infrastructure, platforms, skills and collections of high quality data.

The ARDC launched the Australian Learned Academies Data Interworking Network project in July this year, and is working with Australia’s Learned Academies and the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) to develop a cohesive agenda to support excellent data-enabled research. This project can be seen as a tangible extension of some of the recommendations in the Australian Academy of Science report.

The ARDC has also united 25 of Australia’s 42 universities to develop a framework to bring consistency to the management of research data across the university sector through the Institutional Underpinnings project.

Through our Public Sector Bridges program, the ARDC is optimising use of and access to public sector data for specialised research purposes beyond the agencies’ core business.

The report was supported by the Australian Research Council under the Linkage Learned Academies Special Projects (LASP) scheme.

Read the report Advancing data-intensive research in Australia.

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

Written by Jo Savill, ARDC. Reviewed by Rosie Hicks (ARDC), Dr Emma Crott (ARDC), Adelle Coote (ARDC).

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