Intersect News #76 November 2014

4 Nov 2014

David Toll joins Intersect

David Toll this week joins Intersect as our new Member Services Manager.

A recognised leader in Australian eResearch, David’s career straddles the junction of information, technology and research.  Since 2007 David has worked as head of the Information Management and Technology group at CSIRO responsible for IT, eResearch services and libraries.  He has been closely involved with the national eResearch agenda in areas such as supercomputing and research data management.

Prior to that David was general manager for finance at CSIRO, Deputy Director-General at the National Library of Australia, and has also worked in other Commonwealth Government agencies.

Intersect CEO Dr Ian Gibson said, “Intersect is thrilled to welcome David into the team. We’re looking forward to working with him to take Intersect to new heights”.

“Intersect is a very successful model of collaboration” commented Toll, “and I’m looking forward to working with the university members and the Intersect team to progress the collaboration agenda.”

AURIN – harnessing big data and analytics for planning

The new national urban intelligence initiative AURIN has been launched. AURIN, the Australia Urban Research Infrastructure Network, gives access to thousands of data sets—from Australian Property Monitors to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, from Geoscience Australia to city councils. Intersect was involved as one of the technology provoiders on the project.

It allows researchers, planners and policy-makers to answer many questions – what makes Melbourne the world’s most liveable city? What makes a walkable neighbourhood? Where are the hotspots for mortgage stress and affordable housing in Sydney?

AURIN is funded through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and associated programs. The near $50M project received $24m from government and $24M from the private sector. For further information: Follow @aurin_org_au or download AURIN backgrounder

ACT Data Hub work begins

This screenshot from AURIN shows the number of people with PhDs across the ACT.

Intersect has begun work on the ACT Data Hub project. The project will upload ACT regional data to the AURIN portal recently launched, see story above.

The ACT Region data portal is funded through the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN). The project will arrange agreements for the ACT Government and councils in the ACT region to deliver datasets into the AURIN portal. Together with the datasets already available on the AURIN portal from Census data and spatial microsimulation, this will provide a powerful tool to analyse and map characteristics in the ACT and surrounds.

Intersect has previously developed a data hub for NSW housing data, through a project sponsored by Professor Bill Randolph of UNSW.  Intersect will be utilising the technology and the knowledge built on that project to produce this solution.

Moves towards opening NSW Data

The NSW Government is looking for developers to code new apps. $45,000 in prize money is offered as part of its apps4nsw competition for the most innovative ideas which transform how it delivers services. “We are looking for talented techies and developers to produce and deliver apps for education and communities, state records, and family and community services,” NSW Minister for Finance and Services, Dominic Perrottet said.

Minister Perottet launched the competition at the NSW Open data Summit on 16 October, where speakers included Intersect CEO Dr Ian Gibson, (pictured above).

The closing date for submissions is Thursday, November 13, 2014. More at

Infrastructure Progress Report

Our RDSI node is in full production.

The latest statistics:

  • Total number of approved collections: 69
  • TBs approved: 5750
  • TBs ingested: 1120

Data Story: Alveo – linguistics and cognitive sciences

The Alveo collection currently has 70 TBs of cross-disciplinary datasets housed on Intersect’s storage facility. Integrated with analysis tools they form the NeCTAR virtual laboratory, known as AlveoAlveo serves up human communications data, consisting of language and music data, in their three most common modes – audio, auditory-visual and text.

The purpose of Alveo is to enhance cross-disciplinary research across the human communication science community. Alveo will support research in automatic speech recognition (taxi ordering, directory assistance, etc.), hearing aids and cochlear implants, interactive learning programs for children with learning disabilities, forensic determination of origin and background of particular accents, psycholinguistic studies of second language learning and pedagogy, socio-linguistic studies, anthropological research, and more.

The datasets are the result of researchers at the 15 collaborating institutions winning competitive grants, mostly ARC Discovery and LIEF grants, over the past 5-15 years.

Digital Humanities 2015

The University of Western Sydney is playing a major role in Australasian digital humanities by hosting DH2015, the international Digital Humanities conference in 2015. The Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations has held the annual conference for 26 years, and for the 2015 conference is a partnership with UWS, the State Library of New South Wales, and the Linked Open Data: Libraries, Archives, Museums community.

This is the first time it is being held outside of the EU/US and demonstrates Australia’s growing maturity in the digital humanities, and the leading role UWS is taking in this discipline.

Where the talk turns to data and tools Intersect Australia has a keen interest in making a difference to research across disciplines. Intersect has been more recently involved in large digital humanities infrastructure developments – Alveo a human communication science virtual lab and FAIMS a comprehensive information system for archaeology. We’re working on Omeka — a tool widely used by digital humanities researchers — with colleagues from UTS and UWS so it can be launched into the cloud using Intersect Snapdeploy porting tool.

Also, look out for a hack day on 20 November at UTS.

Grant news

A new $100 million grants programme aims to boost the productivity and profitability of primary producers in the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors.

The Rural Research and Development for Profit programme is open to applications from the 15 rural research and development corporations (RDCs) and their partners.  Funding is available over four financial years  (2014-15 to 2017 – 18).

To be eligible for funding RDCs must collaborate with one or more researchers, research agencies, RDCs, funding bodies, businesses, producer groups or not-for-profit agencies. The partnership must provide a cash or cash plus in-kind contribution at least equal to the requested Australian Government grant funding.

Research priorities in round one include increasing profitability and productivity of primary industries, strengthening on-farm adoption and improving information flow. More at


The following sessions are scheduled to take place in the near future:

For more information, see


Intersect is looking for casual L&D Trainers and a Manager, Medical Research Services.

Positions are also coming up for an eResearch Analyst at Southern Cross University, located in northern NSW, and an eResearch Analyst at the Australian Catholic University, located in Melbourne. Stay tuned to


Intersect is pleased to welcome David Toll as Member Services manager and Katharina Siebert as User Interface/User Experience Designer.

Congratulations to Andrew Wells

Photo: Grant Turner/ Mediakoo

Congratulations to Andrew Wells, UNSW University Librarian (& former ‪Intersect Board member) on being awarded the Ifould Medal.

The Ifould Medal
 was established in 2013, and is awarded for distinguished and sustained achievement as a professional librarian, archivist or curator consistent with the mission and values, vision and strategic priorities of the State Library of New South Wales.

Andrew has overseen major changes to the University Library‘s services, organisation and buildings since his appointment in 2001. Prior to joining UNSW, Andrew was the Assistant Director General, Resource Sharing Division at the National Library of Australia. At the SLNSW, he occupied senior positions in a variety of roles.

Andrew has been active in the library profession through a wide range of activities: as President of the Council of Australian University Librarians; as Chairperson of CEIRC (CAUL Electronic Information Resources Committee); as a mentor for the Aurora Leadership Institute; as a member of the boards of Intersect and CAVAL. 
In 2011, Andrew was awarded the Fellowship of the Australian Library and Information Association.

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