Government Health Data Assets

Improving acccess to government health data for researchers
Two health researchers looking at a line chart on a computer
Who will benefit
Health researchers

The Challenge

Health researchers depend on access to government health data. However, most government agencies holding data relevant to health research are not set up for data provision to researchers but rather to regulate, facilitate, or operate parts of the health system. 

Within these constraints, researchers and government agencies do their best to develop data access arrangements, but these tend to be ‘handcrafted’ or ‘cottage-industry’ approaches on a project-by-project basis.

The Approach

Through partnerships with government data custodians under this program, public sector data will be made more FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) while governance processes are streamlined and government data access systems are strengthened for researchers.

This program is part of the ARDC People Research Data Commons for health and medical research, an initiative that develops, operates and coordinates national-scale capabilities to support digital health research and translation.


Initially, the ARDC will work with 3 key agencies to improve data access for health researchers, namely the: 

  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 
  • Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing
  • Australian Digital Health Agency. 

Researchers will be invited to attend a number of project workshops hosted by the ARDC.

Target Outcomes

The ARDC will co-invest with the government agencies to establish ongoing infrastructure (systems, processes, community support) for better research access to government data. This also includes establishing communities of practice for researchers using government data. The ARDC operated services (Health Data Australia, identifiers, health vocabularies, Nectar Research Cloud, etc.) will be integrated and extended for specific government agency applications.  

A key outcome of the program will be the development of a discovery framework through partnerships with government data custodians to make their data (and software and models) FAIR.