31 January 2011

The University of Queensland has been appointed lead agent for the Australian Government’s $50 million Research Data Storage Infrastructure project.

Professor Max Lu, UQ’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), said the University was delighted to be appointed as the lead agent for such a significant project.

"This is an exciting initiative for eResearch in Australia that complements several other programs,” he said.

The RDSI project aims to develop a national network of a limited number of distributed data stores where research data can be readily accessed, analysed and re-used and to support the retention and integration of nationally significant data assets.

Its three key components will:

• identify, strengthen and develop research data centres, or nodes, that can hold and process high data volumes;
• identify research data holdings of lasting value and importance and contribute funding to their development at the most appropriate nodes;
• provide the widest possible range of general data sharing and movement infrastructure suitable for data-intensive research activities.

Dr Nick Tate has been appointed full-time project director and will lead the team running the project. Previously, Dr Tate was associate director of the Australian Research Collaboration Service.

“The project’s goal is to develop a coherent and integrated national research data environment, building on the strengths of different providers,” Dr Tate said.

“It aims to ensure a co-ordinated and collaborative use of these resources. This will support enhanced research outcomes through greater access to, and sharing of, research data.”

Dr Tate said consultations with the sector would continue during the first half of 2011, as the project office is established at The University of Queensland.

“It is expected that a sector-based project board will be appointed by 1 March, to guide the project’s further development,” he said.

“After a formal consultation process, a first call for node proposals is expected to be released to the sector by end of June.”

Recommendations for approval of an initial set of nodes will be made to the Australian Government by about the end of September.

Dr Tate said the project would build on the outcomes of consultation with the sector last year.

“Feedback revealed a preference for a distributed model for the RDSI in which services would be developed on the basis of existing local strengths,” Dr Tate said.

Media: Dr Nick Tate, RDSI project director, ph +61 (0) 412 674 010
Fiona Cameron, UQ Communications, ph +61 7 3346 7086