ARDC Discovery Activities

Evidence-based approaches to creating a national research data commons.
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Who will benefit
Project participants, ARDC and Australia's research community
Projects under this program

The Challenge

It takes a nation to build a national research data commons and it requires the invaluable input and insights of the entire research community.

When the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) was established in 2018, high-quality, nationally significant data collections were largely siloed within individual research organisations and inaccessible to the broader Australian research community.

The challenge for us was bringing the community together and harnessing their perspectives and approaches into a forward plan for building a national research data commons.

The Approach

The ARDC Discovery Activities program launched in 2019 to ignite ideas and discussions among stakeholders and drive community involvement. It used both open call submissions and targeted engagement approaches to develop evidence-based strategies for building a research data commons around 3 strategic themes:

  • People and Policy transforming culture and community.
  • Data and Services maximising the value of Australia’s data assets.
  • Storage and Compute providing foundation infrastructure.

We invited submissions from our collaborating organisations and supported more than 50 small projects with up to $50,000 each. The outcomes of those projects formed the basis of core discussions and presentations at summits we held for each theme.


Our Discovery Activities program attracted input from peak bodies, research organisations, infrastructure providers, commercial digital infrastructure providers, governments and other stakeholders. Hundreds of representatives from these participated in both the project-development activities and summits.

The Outcomes

The Discovery Activities program revealed important insights when collectively considering what an Australian research data commons looks like. It also informed our strategic direction and planning for subsequent programs and activities to develop the commons.

People and Policy outcomes a Skills Summit that has become an annual activity and led to our ongoing Skills and Workforce Development program.

Data and Services outcomes read details about Data and Services projects we supported.

Storage and Compute outcomes read details about Storage and Compute projects we supported.

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