National Data Assets

Developing a portfolio of national-scale data assets that support leading-edge research
Map of Australia formed by numerous short blue lines
Who will benefit
Researchers, policy makers, industry, public sector, research organisations and institutions

The Challenge

Data collections are challenging for researchers to access, use and combine when that data doesn’t reflect the FAIR principles. Common barriers include:

  • poor data management
  • restrictive or local access conditions
  • lack of machine readability
  • incompatible metadata standards and formats
  • an absence of licence outlining how the data can be reused.

The research benefits from national-scale data collections cannot be realised without some federal investment. The necessary scale of infrastructure and the underpinning multi-party collaborations will not emerge naturally from individual research organisation investment and activity.

The Approach

The ARDC has driven a national initiative to develop a portfolio of national-scale data assets that support leading-edge research.

A national data asset is a strategic collection of data with the governance, standards, policy, technology, services, skills and community required to make that data FAIR for Australian researchers. These data assets are national in scale with the data coming from, governed by, and used by research organisations across Australia. A national data asset supports leading edge research, including research excellence, integrity, and broader societal impact.

We’ve achieved this through a series of programs that together ensure a balanced portfolio of:

  • data custodians (NCRIS facilities, research organisations, research disciplines and domains, public and private sector)
  • beneficiaries (research, industry, public policy, education)
  • data collection maturity types (established, emerging)
  • research system outcomes (research innovation, research efficiency, research integrity).


Through our National Data Assets initiative, we’ve built strategic partnerships with over 200 organisations across the research sector to leverage existing research and administrative investment and ensure ongoing sustainability and stewardship.

Partner organisations included other NCRIS facilities, research centres and institutions, universities, government departments and agencies. Each of the National Data Assets programs contained guidelines for scope and participation.

End users and ultimate beneficiaries were prominent participants in the projects to ensure the infrastructure has positive outcomes and benefits.

The Outcomes

Our approach has created long-lived national data assets that leverage existing research and administrative investment to ensure ongoing sustainability and stewardship. Beneficiaries include Australian researchers, policy makers, industry, public sector, research organisations and institutions.

Each National Data Assets program contains specific, targeted outcomes. Learn more about their projects and access their outputs.

Further Resources

To ensure that this program’s strategic goals were achieved, the ARDC required all its projects to plan, implement and report on research outcomes and impact from ARDC-invested activities.

Contact the ARDC

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