December 2015 national eResearch newsletter


Welcome to the new national eResearch Newsletter, now managed by AeRO.

We want to start off by thanking the University of Queensland team, including Viviani and Asher, for their many years of effort in running this Newsletter up till now.

From today, AeRO will publish the Newsletter around the 16th of each month. It will include articles sent to us, and also draw on many other relevant newsletters and materials from across our sector, nationally and internationally.

If you find other articles or newsletters that you think are relevant for our eResearch community and should be shared, please send us a pointer at


National eResearch Update

Many of you will have seen the 7 December launch by the Federal Government of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA, Within that is a proposal to fund NCRIS activities with $1.5B over the ten years starting from 2017/18. There is already an existing budget commitment of $150m for 2016/17. The government is now establishing the mechanisms to decide how that money will be distributed. This would include an independent statutory board (Innovation and Science Australia) reporting through the Industry Minister to a new Innovation and Science Committee of Cabinet.

To start to inform those processes, the government ran a review of national research infrastructure led by Mr Philip Marcus Clark AM. That review reported to the Minister in September. At the AeRO National Forum 2015 Prof. Susan Pond, one of the review panel members, talked about their recommendations. They included the establishment of a body, Research Infrastructure Australia, to oversee the roadmapping of needs and help prioritise investments. They also explicitly noted that eResearch infrastructure, or ‘e-infrastructure’, was fundamental to all research. At this time the report and the government’s response have not yet been released.

At the same time, Prof. Tom Cochrane was asked to review the current status of eResearch in Australia, and his summary report and presentation is also available on the AeRO Forum page. It too highlighted the importance of the infrastructure to the community, and the significant level of success achieved.

Both reports noted the need for greater sustainability, for increased coordination, and for more workforce development.

This means we now have:

  • a large-scale National Innovation and Science Agenda, and an associated body,
  • a national Research Infrastructure Review, recommending another associated body, and
  • a report on where we are at with eResearch infrastructure.

This is the context for a new eResearch framework project being undertaken by Dr Rhys Francis ( for the Department of Education and Training. The Framework will “identify the benefits of eResearch infrastructure and describe the future pattern and scale of demand for that infrastructure.  It will also consider the options that exist for meeting potential demand and highlight how eResearch infrastructure can meet the needs of researchers across Australia.” This work is guided by a project committee and stakeholder input, with consultations to be conducted over the coming months. Dr Francis will also certainly welcome your input at the above email address.

All of these activities highlight exciting opportunities and times ahead! You are strongly encouraged to help shape the discussions to ensure we get the best possible outcomes for our sector, and AeRO will of course assist wherever it can.


Dr Markus Buchhorn

CEO, Australian eResearch Organisations (AeRO


AAF Chosen to Lead ORCID

In October, 41 Australian institutions, including the ARC and NHMRC, confirmed their intention to join the ORCID Consortium, which is due to launch in January 2016.  ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is an open, non-profit, community-driven effort to create and maintain a registry of unique researcher identifiers and a transparent method of linking research activities and outputs to these identifiers.  The Consortium will provide discounted licensing and a local support channel for Australian institutions of higher education, non-profit organisations, and government research funding agencies that become Consortium Members.  The Australian Access Federation (AAF) is pleased to announce that it has become the Consortium Lead.

For more information about the Consortium, go to the AAF website:


AARNet Launches Software Defined Networking (SDN) Innovation Platform for Researchers

AARNet announced on 14-Dec-15 the launch of the Australia Wide-Area SDN Testbed, an innovation platform for developing high-speed technologies, established in collaboration with nine universities and CSIRO Data61. The announcement was made during the “Open Networking Foundation SDN Down Under” event in Sydney, at which several world-renowned leaders in SDN spoke.

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is an emerging technology with the potential to revolutionise the way networks are provisioned and managed.  SDN offers solutions for improving network flexibility and reducing costs via software-based management and control.

The Testbed is a real-world research network environment, a simulation of the Internet that has been put in place to make it easier for researchers in the fields of computer science, engineering and mathematics to test, prototype and validate advanced networking concepts.  This will accelerate the development of high-speed networking.

For further information, see and


Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory (BCCVL) New Release

A new release of the BCCVL provides much enhanced Species Distribution Models (SDMs), introducing “canned SDMs”, taking SDMs from 3 months to 5 minutes, and now to 5 seconds. BCCVL is continually advancing the technology to enable anyone to conduct an SDM.  BCCVL also met up with its Scientific Advisory Committee experts from University of NSW, Macquarie University, James Cook University, University of Canberra, and Griffith University to continue work in refining SDM algorithms for biodiversity and climate impact research. The support from this committee helps to ensure the outputs researchers get from the BCCVL are scientifically robust.  See


Genomics Virtual Laboratory (GVL) Gains International Recognition

Recognition of the value of the Australian-made Genomics Virtual Laboratory (GVL) was boosted with its publication on 26 October in “PLOS One”.  Genomics Virtual Laboratory: A Practical Bioinformatics Workbench for the Cloud outlines how a team of Australian researchers built the GVL to take the ‘IT’ out of bioinformatics.

Adopted both locally and overseas, and rolling out to more centres over 2015/16, the GVL has already been recognised as an aid to address the severe shortage of bioinformatics expertise around the world and manage the complex, multiple-layered data analysis tasks confronting life scientists today.

The GVL workbench is an accessible cloud-based genomics analysis environment with comprehensive tutorial materials and protocols, managed services and user support.  There is a common platform for data analysis, tool development, and training, with a powerful interface for managing these services and resources.  See


eResearch Australasia Conference Content

Programme content (eg presenters’ slides or live streams) are available for all sessions at the eResearch Australasia Conference held in Brisbane at the end of October, where the session author(s) has provided permission.  See  There are also many photographs taken at the Conference available for all to see at


Dr Lesley Wyborn Wins Prestigious Award

Congratulations to Dr Lesley Wyborn, who has received the “2015 Outstanding Contributions in Geoinformatics” award from the Geological Society of America.  This prestigious award recognises Lesley’s tremendous impact across the geoscience and other scientific domains in Australia and around the world.  She has been hailed as “the most influential thought leader and practitioner in Australia in the field of cyber infrastructure”.  Lesley is an Adjunct Fellow at NCI, and is currently working with the 10 Pbytes+ NCI National Research Data Collection hosted on the NCI National Environmental Research Data Interoperability Platform.  Lesley also works with users to ensure their data collections can be programmatically accessed for next-generation interdisciplinary science.

More information about the award:


QRIScloud Making a Big Impact on Climate Change Research

QRIScloud’s fast and accessible data storage is making a positive difference to a global climate change research project involving Queensland’s James Cook University.  The Wallace Initiative, named after ecologist Alfred Russell Wallace, is investigating which areas, species and crops are likely to be the most and least affected by climate change in the future.  The project involves researchers from JCU, Sydney’s Macquarie University and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at England’s University of East Anglia.  Associate Professor Jeremy VanDerWal has taken advantage of the 1.3 petabytes of QRIScloud storage recently allocated to JCU’s Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change.  For more information, see


Intersect’s Annual Report 2014 Released

Intersect’s Annual Report for calendar 2014 is now available. This covers the work undertaken by the Intersect Australia team over the calendar year 2014 for its members and for the wider researcher community, as well as the independently audited 2013/14 financial statement.  Download a copy at

By October 2015, Intersect served its one millionth HPC job on, which was a massive milestone for our team and our members. At that stage, Intersect had 900 HPC users and 130 active projects running on Orange and Raijin. More information on its high performance computing can be obtained at or by contact Intersect at


Ruby – the Latest Member of CSIRO’s HPC Family

The successor to CSIRO’s HPC system Cherax has been named “Ruby” in recognition of Ruby Payne-Scott who was part of the Australian team, along with Joseph Pawsey, that undertook CSIR’s ground-breaking work in radio astronomy.  The new machine is an SGI UV3000 with 8TB of RAM and 640 x 2 ^GHz “Haswell” processors.  CSIRO will be one of the first customers worldwide to take delivery of this latest generation Ultraviolet machine.  The Haswell processors feature a fused add-multiply instruction not supported on the previous generation of processors, allowing a doubling of peak speed.  The system is ideal for large-memory computation, and provides a simpler platform for such applications than the Cherax system, and continues to host the CSIRO SC Data Store, currently holding 6.4 PBytes of primary data.  The system, is also well-suited to applications requiring access to large quantities of data – two of its accounts alone each have over 500 TBytes of data.  See


CAUDIT Top-10 Issues Features Research

For the third year running, research support has figured in the top 3 of CAUDIT’s annual Top-Ten Issues Survey of its members.  The issue entitled “Supporting and enabling research”, ranked #3 in 2015, is aimed at developing a sustainable research support model servicing the needs of all researchers.  CAUDIT itself has several strategic initiatives aimed at supporting eResearch, including establishing a vendor panel for storage infrastructure (in con junction with RDSI), membership of AeRO in order to promote a national, collaborative approach to eResearch, working with AeRO towards a more seamless approach to ICT support for eResearch services, and (also with AeRO) creating a framework for an eResearch services catalogue.  See


ANDS Research Vocabularies Australia Launched

Launched in September, this new service from ANDS helps you find, access, and reuse vocabularies for research.  Some vocabularies are hosted by ANDS and can be accessed directly through RVA or through a link to the vocabulary owner’s web page.  You can create and/or publish a vocabulary as well as integrate an existing vocabulary into your own system.

See Research Vocabularies Australia in action at here

Get the service information at here

Download the guide (PDF) at here

Watch the webinar recording (47 mins) at here

This Newsletter is based on contributions provided by members of the eResearch community, and also draws on the many news articles and newsletters published across our sector.  The Newsletter will be published monthly, on about the 16th of each month.  Please send any contributions (no more than 150 words, plus a link) or pointers to any other relevant articles or newsletters to