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Intersect News #85 December 2015

20 December 2015

Welcome to our last bulletin for 2015 in the race towards the summer holiday season. It’s no secret that it has been a rollercoaster of a year for the research sector. Happily, we are finishing on a wave of optimism, especially with the reinvigorated emphasis on data and innovation in both State and Australian Governments.

First and foremost, our strike rate in grants for high performance computing continues with news of our successful 2016 ARC LIEF membership consortium application. Planning will kick off in the new year and can’t come soon enough with 2016 demand for over 56 million CPU core hours.

We’re delighted to announce that the University of Sydney has renewed its firm commitment to Intersect after a period of review, and we look forward to a more integrated partnership with both Research and IT functions as we welcome new CIO Mike Day.

I’m excited to announce further national expansion with an application for membership by Victoria’s La Trobe University, subject to final negotiations. La Trobe Executive Director and CIO Peter Nikoletatos and I will have more to say about this in 2016.

The Intersect AGM saw re-election to the Board ofProfessor Geraldine Mackenzie, DVCR of SCU and Mr. Michael Kirby-Lewis CIO of UNSW. Also, new Directors were appointed: Professor Frances Shannon, DVCR  from the University of Canberra and WSU PVCR Professor Deborah Sweeney. We bid fond farewell to Emeritus Professor Andrew Cheetham and thank him for his service and commitment.

On behalf of the new Board and everybody here at Intersect, I extend our thanks to our members, researchers and partners for supporting us during a challenging year. 

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year on behalf of all the team at Intersect.


20 December 2015

An Intersect member since 2009, University of Technology Sydney has a specialist eResearch team of ten staff, led by Dr. Peter Sefton. Former software analyst Jared Berghold started as the UTS Intersect eResearch Analyst this June to increase engagement.

Photo of Jared Berghold (second from right) with colleagues
19 December 2015

Ten Intersect-developed training packages on how to use the NeCTAR Research Cloud were officially launched at eResearch Australasia 2015. Supporting on-demand and face-to-face delivery, the training modules begin by introducing cloud computing, NeCTAR-specific services, and considerations when moving compute away from the desktop. They then cover the practical details of working effectively in the cloud before turning to more advanced topics. Over four hours of video tutorials plus PDF documents are now available from our Energy pages.

NeCTAR logo
17 December 2015

Led by Intersect Australia, a consortium of ten NSW universities coordinated by Professor Geraint Lewis from the University of Sydney was awarded an ARC LIEF Grant for funding commencing in 2016. The funding of $1.04M will be used to further improve our HPC capabilities and provide the next generation of HPC for hundreds of researchers at Intersect member universities.

16 December 2015

Contracts have been executed with NeCTAR via the University of Melbourne and RDS via the University of Queensland to extend NSW participation in these Australian Government NCRIS2015 funded projects.
Offline DeepSpace storage archival via Iron Mountain was launched in October and theUniversity of New South Wales is now the largest consumer of Space.
Interconnection between Space, OwnTime and HPC is being leveraged by our first commercial NSW Government consumer, the Department of Primary Industries as it improves the NSW Enhanced Drought Information System.

Intersect SpaceShuttle Logo
16 December 2015

As we continue refine our focus on researcher productivity, answering the question "What can Intersect do for me?" is something we're passionate about improving. We've created some new brochures explaining our Data and Energy services.

Take a look at the Data brochure to find out about how we can accelerate your research using domain-based data platforms, services and expertise. Check out the Energy brochure to learn how you can power up your eResearch capability with Intersect Australia's eResearch expertise, consulting, software engineering and training.  

Image - Intersect's Data and Energy Brochure covers
14 December 2015

Richard joined Intersect in October as the new eResearch Analyst for the University of Newcastle. Richard has a strong research background, with a PhD in Neuroscience from the Australian National University and postgraduate qualifications in IT.

Image - Dr. Richard Berry, eRA University of Newcastle
11 December 2015

Intersect delivered 148 courses covering data cleaning, exploration and visualisation, high performance computing, python programming, the command line, and version control to a record 1,330 researchers so far in 2015 at all our member universities!

Image - A course in progress
28 November 2015

TAPPAS - Tool for Assessing Pest and Pathogen Aerial Spread – is released! This new software platform developed by Intersect, CSIRO Health and Biosecurity and the Bureau of Meteorology empowers biosecurity managers and scientists to run powerful wind dispersion and weather prediction models, using data visualisation and computer modelling.

Image - TAPPAS Software in action
27 November 2015

NSW Research Data Management enthusiasts attended the ANDS/Intersect Roundtable in Sydney CBD to discuss how to move on from the ANDS Major Open Data Collection projects in order to make data openly available now and later.
Stay tuned, the next Roundtable will be held at Intersect in Sydney CBD on 26 February, on 'The Reality of Research Data Management Plans and what happens after its development'. Email:

ANDS (Australian National Data Service) logo
27 November 2015

Intersect was a primary sponsor in the Wagga Hack4Good hackathon held on 27/29 November 2015 at Charles Sturt University,Wagga Wagga.

Image - CSU Executive Dean of Science Professor Tim Wess, Family and Community Services Ms Donna Argus and Wagga Mayor Cr Rod Kendall
26 November 2015

60 research support staff and researchers from NSW universities came to the Sydney Healthy Data Workshop run by ANDS and Intersect at the University of Sydney to hear about, discuss and share experiences on the publishing and sharing of health and sensitive data. The presenters covered subjects such as ethics, managing consent, privacy, de-identifying data, licensing, data sharing and publishing. Download the presentations at:

ANDS (Australian National Data Service) logo
22 October 2015

Congratulations to Dr Mirela Tulbure and the Geospatial Analysis for Environmental Change Lab at the University of New South Wales for winning a 2015 NSW Tall Poppy Science Award for their cross-disciplinary work on space-time dynamics of surface water and the ecological implications of these dynamics.

Image - Satellite Photo: Lake Carnegie (WA)
12 October 2015

eResearch Analyst Ingrid Mason won the VALA 2014 Travel Scholarship to learn more about international linked open data practices.

Image - Metadata was definitely on the agenda at Europeana! L to R: Antoine Isaacs, Ingrid Mason, Valentine Charles, Rowan Brownlee and Hugo Manguinhas.