Data custodians require a robust, accredited, regulated and functional environment for the governance, control and management of sensitive data, and research users seek simple and secure access to sensitive data and associated tools.
The Secure eResearch Platform project is a national collaboration to deliver a secure, trusted and scalable environment for data governance, control and management services for data custodians and secure remote data analysis environments for research users.
Such an environment is needed to overcome significant barriers to making sensitive data FAIR, providing assurances to other data custodians regarding confidential and secure data handling, and ensuring researchers comply with ethical and regulatory requirements.
The project will deploy and manage a proven technology called the Secure eResearch Platform (SeRP) Software Stack as a managed, nationally consistent service.
The SeRP service will build trust between data custodians, researchers and their collaborators and enable data curation, linkage, extraction, sharing with access control, de-identification and analysis.
The project involves the following elements:
- SeRP service – Deploy and manage a tested and proven technology called SeRP as a nationally consistent service via deployments and multi-tenancy arrangements to enable research collaborations across jurisdictional boundaries.
- Exemplar research projects – Onboard exemplar research projects on the SeRP service and integrate SeRP across specific research applications across the social sciences and health research domains involving population health, policy development, complex biology and development of therapeutics.
- Communities of practice – Communities of practice around SeRP will enable training, knowledge sharing, development and dissemination of best practices and principles. The membership of these groups is a combination of representative and skills-based members to ensure stakeholder buy-in, and expertise. The project will enable both institutional and national cross-jurisdictional research projects that bring together national and global sensitive data assets and collaborations.
- Project pipeline – The project will create a pipeline of projects across project partners (and their partners) that will be on-boarded onto the platform, under the current project and into the future including law and criminal justice, energy and environment, and mining research.
Who Will Benefit
Researchers dealing with sensitive data, research organisations, infrastructure providers, government (state and commonwealth) and health services will benefit from the project’s core features:
- Secure analysis environment – SeRP provides a secure online data analysis environment, making it easy for research users to comply with ethical and regulatory requirements for using sensitive data.
- Trusted service – built-in data governance processes provide assurance to data custodians, which increases confidence in sharing data for research.
- collaboration – enabling cross-jurisdictional research projects that bring together national and global data assets and collaborations.
Our partners are:
- Monash University
- Curtin University
- Sax Institute
- Swansea University
- University of New South Wales
- The University of Western Australia
- The University of Queensland
- The University of Melbourne
- La Trobe University
The SeRP service will lower barriers to making sensitive data FAIR by coalescing technology, processes and controls to build trust between data custodians, researchers and their collaborators.
SeRP was featured in the June 2023 Australian Sensitive Data Interest Group meeting, where the team discussed the aims of the project and what has been achieved so far. Some of the exemplar projects onboarded were highlighted to show the range of different projects and how they can benefit from using an SRE. Some of the challenges and the lessons learnt throughout the onboarding process were also discussed. Watch the recording:
For more information on the SeRP, visit the project website.