Towards an Australian Bioinformatics Commons: Announcing the Bioinformatics Commons Pathfinder

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Scientists using gene sequencer

Environmental, agricultural and biomedical research will all be enhanced by the Australian Bioinformatics Commons Pathfinder project. This investment will ensure Australia remains globally competitive and that Australian life science researchers have access to the digital infrastructure they require to respond to national challenges such as food security, environmental conservation and disease treatments.

The Pathfinder is an ambitious new digital capability that aims to accelerate Australian research through the establishment of the Australian Bioinformatics Commons (BioCommons).

Bioplatforms Australia, the Australian Research Data Commons and Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet) have agreed to co-invest in this comprehensive forward-looking Pathfinder.

The Pathfinder project will inform the development of a new capability for the estimated 30,000 publicly funded bioscience researchers in Australia. It will also investigate and provide recommendations for the services and tools that are needed to make sense of data on subjects such as DNA sequencing, protein chemistry and metabolic analysis at scale.

The Pathfinder will actively engage the Australian bioscience community to deliver:

  • An operating infrastructure providing a core set of bioinformatics services
  • A set of research activities and associated communities providing exemplars for others to follow
  • A consortium of participants providing guidance and implementation support
  • A strategic plan for the Bioinformatics Commons
  • A five -year operational plan for the delivery of the Commons (through to 2023)

“We are pleased to be part of this project because it enables us to explore approaches and technologies that are immediately relevant to the broader research communities and allows us to develop a national skills framework around the integration of data,” Ian Duncan, Acting Executive Director, ARDC said.

“The Pathfinder collaboration is the culmination of 18 months of joint consultation and learning and whilst there is significant work to be done we are excited by the opportunity and look forward to a constructive and enjoyable initiative.” – Andrew Gilbert, CEO, Bioplatforms Australia

“The Pathfinder is a great step forward for life science research in Australia. AARNet is excited to be a partner in this initiative and to be contributing sustainable infrastructure that will underpin life science research and discoveries, and support data growth into the future” – Dr Carina Kemp, Director eResearch, AARNet.

This is a collaborative initiative for Australia’s research community and we welcome additional partners, if you are interested in participating please contact the team below.

Pathfinder Contacts:

Bioplatforms Australia and the Australian Research Data Commons are supported by the Commonwealth Government National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).

Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet) is a not-for-profit National Research and Education Network (NREN) – a national resource owned by the Australian universities and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) for the greater good.

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