BioSecurity Commons will be the world’s first Biosecurity Virtual Lab (VL) for use in research and decision-making. It will empower decision makers and researchers with cloud-based modelling solutions to respond to current and emerging biosecurity threats.

The BioSecurity Commons will address the shortcomings of Australia’s biosecurity modelling capability, which is a dispersed network of diagnostics, analytics and intelligence. The project will improve access to computing resources, licensing, IT expertise, and address issues such as IP (Intellectual Property) concerns, and silos between jurisdictions and sectors. This will remove barriers in the existing framework where biosecurity models are often inaccessible and frequently developed for a single purpose, based on a single pest or disease, and are rarely re-used or shared.

BioSecurity Commons will deliver tools that support planning and preparation to ensure timely and effective responses to biosecurity events, and will allow researchers and decision-makers to investigate a wide range of questions related to biosecurity risk and response. The platform will allow jurisdictions to share analytics and modelling to demonstrate that the right decisions are being made; and to improve modelling research by working collaboratively.

The BioSecurity Commons project leverages the existing EcoCommons platform architecture and components, which offers a suite of common approaches for building analytical modelling outputs, as well as integrating a vast array of geospatial data. The project will build a permissioned online environment for working securely, that will promote collaboration across state jurisdictions and disciplines of biosecurity research.

1 Virtual Lab for Biosecurity research
The BioSecurity Commons will be built on EcoCommons architecture with a specialised biosecurity front end, and deployed on the Nectar research cloud. The platform will include user authentication, API-enabled services for access and download, function catalogue for common tasks, facilities for data cleansing and transformation, and facilities for data sharing and transfer. Authorised users will be able to access and analyse restricted data securely; all users will be able to upload their own data to use privately, share with collaborators, or share globally from within the platform.
2 Workflows for Biosecurity Data and Analytics
This project will add five additional workflows to the BioSecurity Commons function catalogue. Each of these workflows will address a specific biosecurity question, such as: where should we look (surveillance design); where might an organism spread to (dispersal modelling); what impacts might it have (impact analysis); how long will it take to eradicate (resource allocation/time to eradication); when is a region free of a disease or a pest (proof of freedom)? Workflow development will be informed by an expert panel consisting of biosecurity scientists and key users.
3 Training and engagement
To empower and build capacity in the biosecurity community, video and face-to-face training material for users will be prepared and deployed on the training resources webpage of BioSecurity Commons. This aims to transform the status quo, particularly for government users, of running analyses on excel spreadsheets and agency specific models into automated user-friendly workflows in the BioSecurity Commons. A Change and Communications Manager will serve as a knowledge broker for liaising with users from all Commonwealth, state and territory agencies tackling biosecurity challenges.

Core features

Strong collaboration
BioSecurity Commons will establish a collaborative environment where jurisdictions and researchers co-develop publishable biosecurity risk analysis. The Steering Committee will be chaired by the General Manager Strategy and Legislation within Biosecurity Queensland. An Expert Panel comprising biosecurity researchers, government practitioners and key users of the platform, will provide scientific expertise from the different biosecurity sectors.
Cloud-based modeling solutions
Decision makers and researchers will have access to cloud-based modelling solutions to produce evidence-based Biosecurity analysis, to empower them to respond to current and emerging biosecurity threats.
Secure analysis environment
A secure, permissioned online analysis environment will promote collaboration across state jurisdictions and between disciplines of biosecurity research, which will support timely and effective responses to biosecurity events.

Who is this project for?

  • Research organisations
  • Researchers
  • Government policy makers (state and commonwealth)

What does this project enable?

For the first time, researchers, government and practitioners across organisations will be able to securely share biosecurity data, and reproducible models and analytics. This will build trust, transparency and confidence in model outputs, and accelerate research through the reuse and repurposing of existing models.

Handy resources

  • Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis CEBRA
  • Full title for reference: Biosecurity Commons – Intelligently Managing our Pests and Diseases
Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk AnalysisVisit
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QLD)Visit
Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (Commonwealth)Visit
EcoCommons AustraliaVisit
CSIRO - The Atlas of Living AustraliaVisit