The Sax Institute has awarded Intersect a major tender to deliver the NSW node of the Population Health Research Network Infrastructure (PHRN-i). Contracts have been signed and work on the concept phase of the project is well advanced.
In a move to strengthen its data capability, the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water NSW (DECCW) has become an Affiliate Member of Intersect. DECCW Manager, Spatial Data Programs, Malcolm Stephens says, “Our membership of Intersect will also bring increased collaborative opportunities for data and research projects with the broader University research community”, says Mr Stephens.
The NCW Beadle Herbarium collection contains some 80,000 plant specimens, but the database that manages this collection can only be used by a single user at a time. Intersect is upgrading the existing database to a web based relational database that will provide easy access to multiple users, with defined privileges, both on and off campus.
The NSW Chief Scientist, Prof Mary O'Kane has launched Intersect’s latest Innovation project at UNSW saying, “For me this is the archetypical best form of eResearch: there is so much cross disciplinary work we’ll do as we see the computing world join research. Now it’s possible and this sort of project really makes it sensible; the fact that the data can be stored, tagged, sent around the world, bringing people from around the world into a project. We are bringing together some great researchers and research opportunities with fantastic infrastructure.”
Research into the prevention and treatment of breast cancer has stepped up with the deployment of Intersect’s latest project. The Breast Cancer Tissue Bank (BCTB) has a strong human tissue-based research focus and is building a large collection of breast cancer specimens to be used for future research.
The Australian Health News Research Collaboration project has been deployed and is now live. The project provides convenient searching, streaming and downloading of videos via the Internet for approved researchers within and outside the University of Sydney.
Intersect has formalised a partner-share in Australia’s most powerful supercomputer facility, the National Facility at National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), located at the Australian National University. This makes Intersect one of the largest partners in the National Computational Infrastructure.
A new tool to help researchers navigate their way to world-class microscopy and microanalysis capability has been launched at the Australian Conference of Microscopy and Microanalysis in Brisbane.
Developed by Intersect for the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility (AMMRF), the Technique Finder is the first of two main deliverables. The Technique Finder is a web application that enables AMMRF users to identify the techniques most suited to their research, based on a researcher-centric approach and terminology as opposed to instrument oriented jargon.
Intersect has been developing a position paper on NSW research data storage infrastructure, based on feedback received from the research community over the last few months. Version 3 has been circulated and can be found here). Consistent with previous drafts, the paper proposes a three-pronged approach towards achieving a robust infrastructure covering technical requirements, technical design and governance. Feedback continues to be useful and welcome. Version 5 of the Intersect Research Data Store paper can be found here.
Intersect recently hosted two workshops with National eResearch Architecture Taskforce (NeAT) round 2 proponents on data mining (February 27) and the HASS sector (March 5), in an attempt to identify common research needs, leading users, existing technologies, and towards developing a shared service.
The largest collection of schizophrenia research data in Australia has been given a technological boost with a commercial grade database worth $800,000, allowing high speed access to DNA, clinical records and brain scans for researchers.
NSW Minister for Science and Medical Research Hon, Jodi McKay MP launched the project saying, "This research bank allows for a greater level of collaboration among the many hard working researchers and clinicians across Australia who search for ways to deal with schizophrenia and for those who support people suffering from the condition".
Begun in November 2009, the Genomic Data Analysis Innovation Project addresses the data management needs for the next-generation sequencing community. Next-generation sequencing is a fundamental technology in research areas involving diagnosis and treatment of disease, (especially cancer and autoimmune illnesses), food production and processing and environmental remediation.
Intersect has added another project to its production cycle. Healthy.me is a communication tool operating in the health sector and is headed up by Professor Enrico Coiera, Director of Centre for Health Informatics at the University of UNSW.
Substantial increases in research infrastructure funding were announced as part of the recent Federal budget. An additional $312M has been allocated to Platforms for Collaboration, PfC, related activities.
Staff from Intersect and ANDS are collaborating on projects including developing guidelines for harvesting repositories towards the Registry of Collections. Staff from both agencies met on April 30 to discuss NeAT bids, joint approaches to those researchers, and to clarify areas of responsibility. ANDS business analyst Katie Blake has been based at Intersect since January.
In the course of engagements with its members and other NSW-based institutions, Intersect identified that the research community of NSW has a strong and growing need for large scale infrastructure for storing, managing and sharing its research data, in particular where inter-institutional collaboration occurs.
DataMINX is a NeAT supported project aiming to provide eResearch services and resources for the NCRIS 5.3 characterisation community of users of microscopy, neutron and x-ray instruments for probing molecular and materials structure.
The first round of our eResearch Survey ran at the University of Sydney, the University of Newcastle, University of New England and UNSW, and the findings were presented at the recent eResearch Australasia conference (presentation).