Australian Characterisation Commons at Scale (ACCS)

Solving the big-data challenges faced by microscopy facilities.
Georg Ramm using a scientific instrument
A/Prof Georg Ramm, Head, Monash Ramaciotti Centre for Cryo-EM, Senior Research Fellow & Head, Advanced Cellular Imaging Laboratory using the Titan Microscope. Image courtesy of Monash University.
Who will benefit
Researchers, research organisations, government agencies (state and commonwealth) and infrastructure providers

The Challenge

Advanced microscopes underpin a huge range of critical research, from the ultra-light and strong materials of the future to life-saving treatments for cancer.

As these instruments have evolved, so have the quantities of data they produce. How can this data be stored and managed so that it’s findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) for further research?

The Response

The Australian Characterisation Commons at Scale (ACCS) project is resolving the big-data challenges faced by microscopy facilities by providing tools, best-practice guides, specialised training, and knowledge sharing.

The ACCS will deliver a rich ecosystem of computing systems, data repositories, workflows and services, connected with instruments, for researchers who use characterisation techniques or imaging collections, and facility scientists who run instruments.

The ACCS underpins techniques including:

  • electron (EM) and light microscopy
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • magnetoencephalography
  • electroencephalography
  • positron emission tomography
  • X-ray CT
  • nuclear and synchrotron techniques
  • cytometry
  • secondary-ion mass spectrometry
  • X-ray diffraction
  • scattering techniques
  • nuclear magnetic resonance (NRM).

The project will undertake three specialised programs that, combined, bridge the resolution gap from the macrostructural to the atomic level.

  • Big Data Electron and Correlative Microscopy from Instrument to Publication addresses the challenges generated by new EM and light techniques. This includes cryo-electron microscopy which is becoming broadly available across Australia, and new material techniques.
  • Biomedical Imaging Collections and Analysis addresses collections-based research being undertaken across the fleet of Australian imaging instruments, including those across the National Imaging Facility, medical research institutes and clinical sites.
  • National Tools for Scattering and Beyond integrates environments for scattering data such as that obtained at ANSTO and will be broadly applied to other techniques including NMR or drug discovery.

Who Will Benefit

The ACCS will benefit thousands of researchers who use characterisation techniques, facility scientists who run instruments, and researchers using imaging collections, and will uplift the research capability offered to industry.

Research communities will benefit by reducing the time to publication and increasing the quality and reproducibility of their research. Funders can increase the return on investment in instruments and focus their funding on research.

The Partners

Co-investment partners:

  • Monash University
  • AARNet
  • Bioplatforms Australia
  • Flinders University
  • EMBL Australia
  • Microscopy Australia
  • National Imaging Facility
  • Pawsey Supercomputing Centre
  • QCIF
  • RMIT University
  • Swinburne University
  • The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
  • The University of Melbourne
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of Queensland
  • University of South Australia
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Western Australia
  • University of Wollongong.

Target Outcomes

The ACCS will deliver a coherent and accessible informatics landscape that promotes collaboration, increases return on investment, and delivers value to researchers, while uplifting the research capability offered to industry.

The project has already developed the ImagingTools website, which helps researchers find and access digital characterisation resources, including online environments, computing facilities, data, training and events.

Key Resources

Visit the project website, ImagingTools

Contact the ARDC

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