Intersect News #28 January 2011

1 Feb 2011

Bioplatforms Australia project kicks off

Intersect has been engaged to support Bioplatforms Australia (BPA), and specifically the Bioinformatics Network on the Skills and Tools Registry project. BPA is responsible for building scientific infrastructure in the specialist fields of genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and bioinformatics, supporting Australian life science research via investments in technologies and expertise.

The Skills and Tools Registry project will build a web-based database of researcher skills and tools within the bioinformatics network. The work involves surveying BPA staff to discover the existing skills and tools available within the network, followed by engineering a web-based database making the contents of the audit available, and keeping those details up-to-date. This database will assist Australian researchers in gaining access to the expertise available to them from Bioplatforms Australia.

University of Queensland to lead Research Data Storage Infrastructure project

The Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research has announced the University of Queensland will lead the $50 million Research Data Storage Infrastructure (RDSI) Project. Dr Nick Tate has been appointed as the Project Director. The RDSI project aims to develop a national network of data stores, or ‘Nodes’, where data is allocated storage through a merit process and can be accessed, analysed and re-used in a governed environment.

Work begins on Environmental Metabolomics Information System

The Environmental Metabolomics Information System (EMIS) will provide an online capability for recording and sharing information about metabolites discovered in samples of plants and soil via the Shimadzu GC-MS instrument. The EMIS will assist in moving from a largely paper-based and manual system to a more up-to-date, computerised approach for the recording, summation, enquiry, and management of the plant and soil metabolome data collected. This will enable handling greater data volumes, centralising all experiment data in one place, and greatly improving the ability to search the entire set of historical data and perform detailed analysis.

Collection descriptions will be fed to Research Data Australia as part of the University of Sydney’s ANDS-funded “Seeding the Commons” activities scheduled for 2011.

The EMIS will increase the productivity of researchers through less manual effort, and enable access to the public and other researchers, consequently improving collaboration.

The system is being developed by Intersect for the University of Sydney as part of the eResearch program, funded through the ICT Tools and Frameworks for Research Collaboration.

HPC Resource Allocation round opens 11 February

Intersect is about to start the next round of resource allocations for HPC resources. The call will open Friday 11th February and remain open until Friday 25th February. Allocations will be for access to both McLaren and NCI facilities for the period from 1st April to 30th September 2011.  Applications are made online at New users, including from smaller institutions, non-traditional HPC disciplines as well as research students, are encouraged to use the HPC facilities.

NeCTAR Director appointed

The University of Melbourne has appointed A/Prof Glenn Moloney as Director of the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (NeCTAR) project. The four-year $47 million NeCTAR initiative aims to increase research collaboration and improve research infrastructure to enhance research outcomes. More at

NeCTAR proposals: get ready

Researchers and IT managers may be aware that NeCTAR will soon publicly call for project proposals. Two programs of particular interest to members support disciplinary needs: Research Tools and Virtual Laboratories. The NeCTAR funding priorities in these programs are closely aligned to Intersect’s overall focus including prioritising research impact, community need, collaborative reach, scalability, reusability etc. For more information see

Intersect Board

Two new Board members were appointed at the recent Intersect AGM: Prof Neal Ryan, Pro Vice Chancellor (Research), Southern Cross University and Mr Bruce Meikle, Chief Information Officer, University of Sydney. Thanks go to retiring directors Prof Mike Calford, DVC(R), University of Newcastle, and James Dalziel, Director, Macquarie ELearning Centre of Excellence.

New staff

Intersect welcomes the following new staff:  Ingrid Mason is our eResearch Analyst focusing on ANDS projects; University of Sydney graduate and former casual tester Raul Carrizo has joined us permanently as a software developer; University of Wollongong graduate David Pollum has begun working at UoW as a software engineer; and Luke Harrison, who starts at UNSW this year, is a casual tester.


We currently have a vacancy for an eResearch Analyst in Armidale. We’re also seeking software engineers with strong Perl experience. For further information, see

Kind regards
Leonie Hellmers

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