Veterinary and Animal Research Data Commons (VARDC)

A world-leading veterinary database.
A veterinarian is preparing to inject dairy cows
Who will benefit
Veterinary research organisations, researchers, lecturers and students, veterinary industry professionals, Industry professionals, people with companion animals, policy-makers and government

The Challenge

The Veterinary and Animal Research Data Commons (VARDC) project builds on the success of VetCompass Australia. It is a collaboration between all seven Australian vet schools, which collates electronic patient records from veterinary practices nationally and aggregates clinical data for researchers to interrogate.

The Response

The VARDC project is creating a platform that’s a single point of access to multiple, related systems and data types. 

It will collaborate with Australia’s three leading veterinary pathology providers to ingest pathology reports, linking them to the clinical histories of individual animals in the VetCompass Australia database. VARDC will integrate with the Australian Imaging Service to host images alongside clinical data.

VARDC will contain a Virtual Lab that will guide researchers in how to design studies with optimised data access and cleaning. Its central goal will be to generate reproducible epidemiological evidence data that is comparable across veterinary populations nationally and internationally.

Who Will Benefit

Veterinary researchers, lecturers and students, and industry professionals, will benefit from the project‘s core features:

  • Linked historical clinical records and pathology data from a broad cross-section of the companion animal population will provide a world-first opportunity to understand pathological processes across a highly representative animal population, bringing the many benefits of a big-data approach, whilst maintaining a highly detailed view of the individual patients.
  • Machine learning and natural language processing to improve and accelerate the searching capabilities of the clinical and pathology data.
  • A national ‘one-stop’ virtual laboratory offering data analysis pipelines for clinical epidemiological enquiry to researchers.

As there are fewer privacy concerns for animals than for humans, VARDC also has the capacity for development of geospatial disease surveillance and text mining projects that boost human health outcomes.

The Partners

Our partners are:

  • The University of Sydney
  • The University of Melbourne
  • The University of Queensland
  • The University of Adelaide
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Murdoch University
  • James Cook University

Target Outcomes

The VARDC platform will deliver a framework that shows researchers how to design sample-based and big-data studies and provide optimised access to the data. 

For the first time, pathology providers and clinical researchers will have a comprehensive data set that includes full clinical histories to assist in assessing survival data and treatment interventions.  

More accurate research outcomes will improve diagnostic efficiency (which has economic and social benefits for owners) and health outcomes for pets.

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March 2021 to June 2023

Current Phase

In progress

ARDC Co-investment


Project lead

The University of Sydney