Planet Research Data Commons

Planet Research Data Commons

National-scale data infrastructure for earth and environmental research and decision making
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About the Planet Research Data Commons

The ARDC Planet Research Data Commons (Planet RDC) provides national-scale data infrastructure for environmental and earth science researchers, policy makers and decision makers, and research data managers. It builds upon the ARDC’s previous work in earth and environment-related research data infrastructure.

The Planet RDC brings together research, government and industry to develop systems and processes that make data more available and speed the development of analytics and models. This will help us understand the environment and address some of the most complex, interconnected and integrated challenges facing society.

The release of the 2021 State of the Environment report documents an unprecedented rate of deterioration in the state of Australia’s environment. The report highlighted that:

“Better coordination of data and the introduction of national environmental standards will provide a direct mechanism for agreement between all jurisdictions, leading to improved environmental reporting at all levels. There is also a clear need to empower Indigenous communities to manage the culturally appropriate collection and integration of data.”

As noted in the review of the EPBC Act (Samuel 2020), “better data and information are needed to set clear outcomes, effectively plan and invest in a way that delivers them, and to efficiently regulate development.”

The national data landscape for environmental and earth science research is rich, diverse and complex – spanning multiple sectors, jurisdictions and data modalities. There is a critical need for digital research infrastructure that can support integrated and seamless national-scale research. Researchers need digital research infrastructure that enables the sharing and reuse of earth and environmental data. Environmental managers and policy makers need trusted data supply chains and tools that enable them to make data-driven decisions.

With the help of shared, accessible data and digital research tools, researchers can tackle the big challenges for our planet, which include adapting to climate change, saving threatened species, and reversing ecosystem deterioration.

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 Thematic RDCs will be enduring initiatives, with the digital research infrastructure capabilities being sustained and enhanced over the long term.

The Planet RDC will apply ARDC capabilities and expertise in digital research infrastructure to national challenges in the earth and environmental science domains. The Planet RDC will focus on four data challenge areas, delivering interconnected and enduring digital infrastructure and establishing strong research translation pathways between research, government and industry. This will be delivered as a set of complementary activities that align with and extend the capabilities of our partners in National Research Infrastructures, government and industry.

The Planet RDC will focus on 4 data challenge areas:

  • trusted data and information supply chains
  • integrated FAIR datasets and services
  • modelling, analytics and decision support infrastructure
  • Indigenous knowledge management, CARE and skills.

The 4 data challenge areas will be integrated through a focus on overarching use cases based on the data infrastructure needs of government, research and industry in selected regions of national interest and priority.


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

We invite interested participants to register their interest to receive invitations to events and updates on the program. Get involved now if you are in any of these communities:

Researchers from across the environmental and earth sciences

Indigenous knowledge holders and Land, Water and Sea Country managers

Environmental assessment, management and planning, and critical mineral exploration industry

Policy makers, decision makers, and analysts from governments at all levels

Non-governmental organisations

Researchers from universities, institutions and private companies

The Outcomes

The Planet RDC will deliver national data assets and digital capabilities to support environmental and earth science research and evidence-based decision making. This will include:

  • integrated FAIR data assets to enable multidisciplinary research
  • collaborative analytics and decision support platforms
  • infrastructure to enable trusted models to be shared, reused and networked to solve complex multidisciplinary challenges
  • exemplar trusted data and information supply chains for selected priority regions
  • skills, governance, policy, technology, collaboration and participation frameworks to enable success.

The expected impacts of the Planet RDC include:

  • faster research through access to datasets, models, workflows and analytic tools
  • improved evidence-based environmental and earth science decision making by policy makers and managers
  • enhanced opportunities for cross-sector and multidisciplinary research nationally and internationally.
The Outcomes

Our Impact

We have been supporting world-class earth and environmental science research with real-world impact. Read case studies of some of these efforts, on which we are building the Planet RDC:

Resources for Researchers

Resources for Researchers

The Planet RDC builds on the ARDC’s experience working in partnerships to deliver digital research infrastructure for earth and environmental science researchers, which has culminated in a wide range of datasets, free tools and upskilling materials. Explore these resources.