March 2016 national eResearch newsletter

AeRO Forum 16-Mar-16.
AeRO held another very successful National Forum in Canberra on 16 March. Over 70 people from around 45 organisations attended. The discussions revolved around the emerging eResearch Framework project being led by Dr Rhys Francis, with three panel sessions providing wide-ranging perspectives and much discussion.

Institutions are playing a crucial role in the long-term eResearch services ecosystem, as major investors in national and local services.
The research communities are the ultimate beneficiaries of the national eResearch services, and are keen to take much greater advantage of what is being made available.

The eResearch Service providers are looking at a transformative period over the next 2-10 years, to mature their offerings and connect into the national framework as appropriate.

All the slides, Rhys’ latest paper, as well as a summary of the day’s discussions, will be added to the AeRO forum webpage ( very shortly.

Dr Markus Buchhorn, AeRO CEO

Open Science Framework Webinar.
March 24th 12 noon AEDT.

An introduction to using the Open Science Framework (OSF) – a free, open source web application built to help researchers manage their workflows. Brought to you by Nectar and Center for Open Science. Read more

Take Part in Women in HPC Study!
Athina Frantzana is a PhD student at EPCC (Edinburgh Parallel Computer Centre) at the University of Edinburgh working on understanding the obstacles facing women in the HPC community and how to improve equality. The main objective of her research is to quantify the demographics based on gender and other data, identify the reasons of the underrepresentation of women in HPC and suggest the best practices in engaging more women in the HPC community.

Athina is currently collecting data though a survey. She looking for people of all genders and of every possible background, who are currently working in any HPC field/sector and position. If you fit this description, please help Athina by filling in the survey.

The link to the survey is:

Want to be an Early Adopter of Emu?
And no, we’e not talking about the bird. You’re invited to be an early adopter Emu, a cluster in the cloud service.

If you’re a researcher who wants to run compute-intensive software applications in the cloud (without the overhead of managing an instance) or an eRSA user who would like your own cluster, try Emu.

What are the benefits of Emu?
• Any eRSA user can use the shared Emu service, you don’t need a cloud resource allocation.
• If your research group has a cloud allocation, use it to have Emu deployed within your allocation, as a private cluster.
• Run compute jobs in the same way as you would for Tizard Compute.
• A dedicated instance using your Nectar allocation means there is no wall-time restriction for compute jobs.
• Provides extra compute resources in addition to Tizard.

Read more:

Support the #dataimpact Campaign.
The Australian National Data Service (ANDS) has just launched a new campaign to promote stories of real-life research data impact.

The aim is to show the tangible benefits of research data, and how it benefits Australia. This could be, for example, helping protect native animal species, improving education outcomes or even saving lives.

ANDS is asking the research data community to contribute their stories and help promote the campaign on social media. ANDS is particularly interested in finding research that has had a proven, measurable benefit to people, the local economy or the environment.

Find out more and submit your story at

Beacon Opens Up Human Genomic Data Sets.
Want to make information about the data in your human genomic data set more accessible whilst preserving the privacy of those who are sequenced?

Now you can thanks to the RDS Life Sciences Beacon Server Tutorial, a technically simple, open web service and tutorial powered through Nectar and developed by Research Computing Centre (RCC) Research Officer Dr Igor Makunin. See

The Life Sciences (Genomics) RDS project, QCIF and UQ’s RCC all part funded the Beacon Server. Read more at

QCIF and QFAB Join Forces for Stronger Biosciences and Health Research Impact.
Bioinformatics expertise is available through QCIF to biosciences and health researchers across Queensland and nationally thanks to QFAB (Queensland Facility for Advanced Bioinformatics) joining forces with QCIF.
The QFAB Collaboration (Griffith, QUT and UQ) formally transitions into QCIF from early April: see

This will create a one-stop shop, called QFAB@QCIF, for helping scientists apply advanced bioinformatics into their research and for accessing the tools and infrastructure to deliver computation and data.

QFAB’s staff will join the QCIF team under the leadership of Dr Dominique Gorse, the QFAB@QCIF Director. This gives QCIF an expert consulting capability that can be expanded later into other fields key to Queensland.

For more information about QFAB@QCIF, please contact Dominique Gorse:

AURIN Map Released for Spatial Data Publishing.
The Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN) has released AURIN Map, a website for researchers to publish data related to cities and urban design. See

AURIN Map is an extension of the government’s National Map initiative (, a website for map-based access to spatial data from Australian government agencies.

If you have data sets or ideas for data sets to be included in either AURIN Map or the AURIN portal, please contact AURIN directly at or discuss with Gavin Kennedy, QCIF Outreach and Engineering Manager: QCIF is AURIN’s representative in Queensland.

Case Study: Why the City of Melbourne is an AURIN eResearch Partner.
Research and evidence-based planning is the key to Melbourne’s current accolade of “world’s most livable city” and improving its livability into the future while managing the pressures of population growth, changing business mixes and weather extremes.

Now the City wants to share its success with other cities and urban planners, and learn from their experiences, too. That’s why City of Melbourne is a data partner with the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN), providing data on building stock, urban land use, thermal imaging, vegetation maps for use by researchers; and using the data from other sources to model its own planning and policy initiatives.

AURIN makes use of the best data available, curating it, organising permissions and integrating it into a one-stop-shop with analytical tools to generate the best possible understanding.
Read more:

BCCVL Online Open Course in Species Distribution Modelling.
One of the most fundamental questions in ecology is ‘why do species occur in certain places, but not in others?’ Species distribution models are designed to predict whether a species can occur in a particular place based on the environmental conditions of that place. These predictions can then be used to forecast what might happen to the distribution of a species in the future, for example as a result of climate change. The BCCVL simplifies the process of running these complex models.

This month, BCCVL released their much-anticipated online open course in species distribution modelling. The engaging course looks at the theoretical background of species distribution models, how to select data for your model, different modelling algorithms that you can use to predict species distributions, and how these distributions might be affected by future climate change scenarios.

See release information here:

Climate Ready Website.
Climate Ready (, a website designed to provide residents, businesses and holiday makers with a better understanding of the impacts and risks of climate change, was officially launched on 3 March 2016.

Federation University Australia’s Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation (CeRDI) worked with its three project partners: Mornington Peninsula Shire, Kingston City Council and Bayside City Council, and involved extensive community engagement to inform development of the comprehensive online resources and tools. A unique feature of the website is the Climate Ready Action Plan that allows users to identify their own local climate change risks and to create a personalised action plan.

The website offers a “one stop shop” for easy access of information about preparing for heatwaves, bushfire, drought, flooding, and severe storms and will assist communities prepare for risks associated with climate change.

For further information visit, or contact CeRDI’s Greg McKenzie:

Historic Urban Landscapes (HUL) Ballarat.
Federation University Australia’s Centre for eResearch and Digital innovation (CeRDI), in collaboration with the City of Ballarat, has developed the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) Ballarat web portal (

The portal offers the community an authoritative and credible information source that is designed to help stakeholders, community members, practitioners and researchers to come together and identify community values, landscape values and acceptable levels of change. Promoting awareness of the urban landscape and its cultural significance assists in empowering the community to contribute to the management of Ballarat’s unique historic urban landscape.

The portal is one of the strategies used to ensure Ballarat – as a member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Historic Urban Landscape Global project – continues to retain its character, landscape and cultural significance as it grows.

For further information visit:, or contact CeRDI’s Dr Angela Murphy:

Challenges Posed for Arts/Humanities Researchers by CC-BY Licences.
The Office of Scholarly Communication at Cambridge University recently hosted a roundtable discussion about the use of CC-BY licences and the challenges they pose for researchers in the Arts and Humanities. The write-up of this discussion has spurred a considerable online discussion of its own. See

Hackfest Success.
Around 60 coding enthusiasts attended the Melbourne Science Hackfest on 4-6 March, challenged with creating innovative new applications from science data.

The event was co-sponsored by ANDS, CSIRO, NeCTAR, TERN, ALA, AURIN, RDS, AuScope, IMOS & University of Melbourne.

Eight teams got stuck into the data to create their own projects. After strong competition, the $2,000 first prize went to the team behind the Anomaly Finder tool, which searches datasets for outliers and maps them geographically.

Some of the projects created over the weekend may now be developed further outside of the event. More information is available on the ANDS website at .

You can also check out some of the activity and photos from the event on Twitter via the hashtag #SciHackMelb.

CSIRO CSS-eResearch Conference 2016.
Approximately 350 people attended the ninth annual CSIRO Computational and Simulation Sciences and eResearch Conference, held in Melbourne on 1-4 March.

While the majority of attendees were from CSIRO, the conference also hosted participants from the US, China and Korea. Local attendees included scientists and IT professionals from Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Defence Science and Technology Group, the Bureau of Meteorology, Geoscience Australia, Australian Synchrotron, NCI and Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, as well as several Australian universities.

The following keynote speakers were featured:
• Sudip Dosanjh, Director, National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), USA
• David Abramson, Director, Research Computing Centre, University of Queensland
• Genevieve Bell, Intel Corporation, USA
• Paulo De Souza, CSIRO Data61

There were also more than 70 invited presentations spanning such fields as data analytics, bioinformatics, earth observation, geoscience, environmental sciences, astronomy, molecular and materials modelling.

For more information, see, or contact

International Expert Delivers AURIN Lecture.
Entitled “How Complex Modelling Tools And Data Can Shape Future Cities”, the lecture addressed how urban system models, smart cities and big data help shape our urban future; how big data is being used to improve a system as complex as the London Tube network; and how eResearch infrastructure approaches might help prepare for climate change and sea level rise.

In partnership with CSIRO, AURIN recently arranged a Lecture and Panel Discussion featuring world-renowned British urban planner and geographer Professor Mike Batty and a panel of Australian experts to discuss these questions.

Professor Batty, winner of geography’s equivalent of a Nobel, the Vautrin Lud Prize, discussed how we now have complex modelling tools and the data, generated by technology embedded in day-to-day urban life, to make scientific urban modelling feasible and incredibly valuable.

The AURIN Lecture featuring Mike Batty can now be viewed online:

Professor David Abramson named Education CIO of the Year.
Professor David Abramson has been named 2016’s Education CIO of the year for his work enabling genetic researchers to quickly and easily access high-powered computing resources tailored to their field of study.

Abramson, and his team at the University of Queensland, built the Genomics Virtual Lab, a pre-packaged cloud-based toolset powered by the NeCTAR federated research cloud.

Read more: