Skills and Workforce Development

Building a highly skilled digital research workforce.
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Who will benefit
Researchers and the people and institutions supporting them, particularly skills trainers and training providers
Projects under this program

The Challenge

Social infrastructure for skills training is a key element of realising the vibrant research data commons that will meet the challenges required for Australia to excel in the new digital economy. Addressing the organisational and cultural dimensions of training must match our technical solutions to sustainable digital infrastructure. 

The rationale for a national skills agenda has never been more compelling. There’s increasing local and global recognition that research communities need a breadth of skills from foundational to advanced to use and manipulate data to its full potential. Ultimately, a highly skilled research workforce demonstrates good practice which translates to excellence in research.

The Approach

To ensure researchers succeed, the ARDC Skilled Workforce Development Program has a broad ambition: bringing partners, lead agencies, peak bodies and other stakeholders together to create and implement a National Digital Research Skills Agenda.

Our partnerships with key stakeholders facilitate collaboration and coordination, with a particular focus on:

  • skilled workforce planning for the sector
  • facilitating development of key communities of practice, including connections with international communities and initiatives.
  • contributing skills expertise to ARDC programs and services.

As a lead partner in digital research skills collaborations, we leverage our partners and training providers to guide key skills and workforce development initiatives in 5 focus areas that will drive a national skills advantage for Australian researchers:

  • regional portal for digital research skills training
  • co-design and development of national skills resources
  • community leadership
  • advocacy for and development of trainers
  • skills training for users of the ARDC’s infrastructure and services, including the Nectar Research Cloud.


The following outlines our collaboration across the 5 focus areas.

We collaborated with 12 other research institutions to create a national training portal, Digital Research Skills Australasia (DReSA), which launched in October 2021. The portal helps Australian researchers, research support staff and trainers discover events, trainers and development resources related to leading-edge digital research technologies and techniques.

We’re working with the digital research training community to improve national coordination of collaborative skills materials development. We leverage local and international networks in the digital research skills sector to provide opportunities for the discovery, development and delivery of digital research and data skills activities and materials.

We lead, facilitate and guide the development of national skills communities that connect practitioners with international and local collaborations to enable the mutual transfer of knowledge and expertise. Our activities include:

  • Annual ARDC Skills Summit an initiative borne from the ARDC’s previous Discovery Activities program.
  • Global Carpentries community We established and now coordinate a partnership to make it easier for Australian research institutions to access certified Carpentries instructors.
  • Research Bazaar (ResBaz) We’re exploring national coordination as a sustainability strategy for the RezBaz community-based digital skills festivals.
  • Data and Digital eResearch Platforms (DDeRP) Skills Working Group We’re furthering skills initiatives through our facilitation and participation alongside the Australian Access Federation, AARNet, National Computational Infrastructure and Pawsey.

We’re working with the digital research training community to map the skills landscape. Knowing where the sector is placed in respect of skills and workforce development helps us to address the gaps and facilitate the right mix of training solutions to Australian researchers.

Target Outcomes

Australia’s collective investment in digital research infrastructure is under-exploited without a highly skilled research workforce. The ARDC’s national leadership in data and digital skills workforce development will enable Australian researchers to make the most out of national research infrastructure, new tools and applications.

Our focus areas will lead to increased visibility of digital research skills training events and resources and stronger, more networked trainer communities.

Other anticipated outcomes include:

  • recognition that institutional investment in data and digital research skills development accelerates Australian research and innovation
  • National Collaborative Research Investment Strategy capabilities are leveraged in a national skills framework to enable consistent skills and workforce development
  • localised collaborations to scale data skills training achieve more impact.

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Current Phase

In progress


Research Topic