Sensitive Data Combined BoF

Dr Steven McEachern1, Dr. Frankie Stevens2, Dr.  Nichola Burton3, Dr. Kristan Kang4

1Australian Data Archive, Acton, Australia
2AARNet, Gold Coast, Australia
3ARDC, Perth, Australia
4ARDC, Canberra, Australia


Combining: Recent developments in platforms and services for sensitive data access in Australia

(“unit record data”) to address major research and policy questions in Australia in recent years. This interest spans a variety of research domains – including linked administrative data for social policy analysis; integration of patient, health service and biomedical data to study health outcomes; and integration of long-term population data with longitudinal cohort data to study gender role attitudes.

This growth in demand however has resulted in an identified need for platforms and facilities capable of supporting such data in a secure and transparent way. There is a need for such facilities to enable research with sensitive data to be completed effectively and efficiently while meeting the privacy and confidentiality expectations of both subjects (i.e. people) and data custodians (across academic, government and elsewhere).

This need has not been well-represented within the eResearch community in general. The Population Health Research Network providing relevant support within the health domain, but in general the problem has been neglected. Recent efforts however have begun to address this. The purpose of this BoF is to present an overview of a number of new projects and activities intended to support and enable increased use of sensitive data in the Australian research community. Projects and activities to be presented include CADRE  (Australian Data Archive), Sensitive Data Support Proof of Concept (AARNet) and the forthcoming Commonwealth Data Access and Transparency Bill.

The BoF will then open up discussion to consider establishment of a national framework for sensitive data support and future support requirements.

With: The Sensitive Data Access Community of Practice – recent activities and future directions

The Sensitive Data Community of Practice (CoP) was established in 2018, following on from the 2018 eResearch conference BoF “Sensitive Data – How do you do yours?” ( In the two years since it’s establishment, the CoP has built a growing community of eResearch practitioners with a common interest in sharing approaches, practices and experiences in managing sensitive data. The community includes technical, governance and domain specialists across academia, government, health and medical facilities and private sector providers.

This BoF is intended to introduce the Sensitive Data CoP to the broader eResearch community. The CoP facilitators (from AARNet, ADA and ARDC) will present an introduction to the purpose and scope of the CoP. The team will review the activities of the CoP, and the breadth and coverage of the CoP membership. They will then lead a facilited discussion among participants on potential future directions for the CoP, future topics and speakers for CoP events, and interest in collaborative projects and investments to enable research using sensitive data.

Life, Death and Data: data collection, use and interpretation in 2020

Ellen Broad

Australian National University

2020 has been a year of bushfires and floods, sickness and lockdown, and economic, social and political upheaval. Through it all, how data is collected, how it is curated and analysed, and how decision makers and the public use it have been themes never far from the surface of these changes in society. We explore key moments in 2020 and what they reveal to us about future data trends shaping our roles as data custodians, architects, analysts and re-users.

Ellen is a writer, researcher and Senior Fellow with the 3A Institute, founded by Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell within the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Australian National University. Ellen has spent more than a decade working in the technology sector in Australia, the UK and Europe, in roles spanning policy, standards and engineering for organisations including CSIRO’s Data61, the Open Data Institute in the UK and as an adviser to UK Cabinet Minister Elizabeth Truss. She is a frequent keynote speaker and writer on AI and governance issues and has written for publications including The Guardian, New Scientist and Griffith Review. She is the author of Made by Humans: the AI Condition (Melbourne University Publishing, 2018) and co-designer of a board game about open data, alongside ODI Vice President Jeni Tennison, that is being played in 19 countries.

The use of modelling and analytics in a data poor environment to sustainably deal with COVID-19 and beyond in Indonesia

Mahesh Prakash

CSIRO, Data61, Docklands GS



Indonesia like many other large developing nation complex democracies has had to face many challenges associated with COVID-19 including ones that are significantly related to humanitarian and economic challenges. The relative lack of good quality and open data and a robust testing regime also leads to significant challenges associated with predicting the spread of the virus and containment strategies. These issues as well as Indonesia’s longer term aims of becoming a more data driven society has led CSIRO’s Data61 to take a multi-pronged and non-traditional approach to modelling and analytics. Our aim is to provide support to organisations in Indonesia such as the UN Pulse Labs Jakarta in dealing with the immediate needs of various provinces in Indonesia as well as to work in close collaboration with them to help facilitate bringing the country back on the path to recovery through multi-disciplinary data driven insights. This talk will provide an overview of the work being carried out by CSIRO’s Data61 in collaboration with partners in Indonesia using social media based insights focussed on early warning and mobility, agent based mobility modelling and going forward possible integration with a range of non-traditional dynamic economic indicator related metrics derived from Earth Observation sources.


I am the Project Leader for the collaborative project being carried out by CSIRO’s Data61 in Indonesia in partnership with various agencies including the UN Pulse Labs Jakarta. The team in Data61 is heavily multi-disciplinary in nature and includes experts in Natural Language Processing, Epidemiological Modelling, Agent Based Mobility (transportation) Modelling, Earth Observation Modelling and Analytics and Software Engineering and Visualisation. Our aim is to leverage the crisis situation currently facing Indonesia and use it to capacity build agencies in Indonesia with advanced methods in Data Analytics and Modelling that can be utilised well beyond the immediate needs of this pandemic. We are doing this via building trusted partnerships and developing open source scalable tools on the cloud. I am also a Group Leader and Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO’s Data61.

Tsunamis in Australia: HPC for Hazard Assessment

Gareth Davies1

1Geoscience Australia, Cnr Jerrabomberra Ave and Hindmarsh Drive, Symonston ACT 2609

Dozens of tsunamis have been observed in Australia. Most were small, but the larger events generated hazardous waves and currents at the coast, as well as locally significant land inundation. To inform risk mitigation for this relatively rare hazard, we would like to know: Where are tsunamis likely to occur? How big? How often? How confident can we be? Probabilistic Tsunami Hazard Assessment (PTHA) provides an approach to answering these questions. It involves numerically simulating a large number of hypothetical tsunami scenarios from generation (typically by earthquakes) through to land inundation around the site of interest, as well as modelling of scenario frequencies based on historical data, physical theory and statistics. Advancements in HPC, and in the accurate measurement of coastal elevation over large spatial scales, are making it increasingly practical to conduct PTHA over large areas at high spatial resolutions. However, PTHA methodologies are not yet standardized and core scientific questions still need to be resolved: How should hypothetical earthquake-tsunamis be modelled to minimise biases in comparison to real tsunamis? How well do random tsunami scenarios represent historical events? How should uncertainties in the rates of large earthquakes be represented? This presentation will cover recent work on these questions by Geoscience Australia, focussed on better understanding Australia’s earthquake-tsunami hazard.


Gareth Davies works for Geoscience Australia on a range of coastal hazards projects, with a particular focus on tsunami hazards.  He supports tsunami risk management in Australia via advice to cross-jurisdictional groups with emergency management responsibilities; is co-chair of the science working group of the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre (in collaboration with the Bureau of Meteorology); and contributes to the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System.

Power secure collaboration – a perspective from University of Auckland

Miaad Hussain1, Yvette Wharton2

2University of Auckland

Miaad is a Solutions Architect based in Sydney. He is passionate about helping customers understand how they can solve their workflow pains by transforming the way in which their people work.
Miaad studied Computer Science at UNSW and comes from a background in technology consulting, solution design and architecture having previously worked at various companies including Appian, Thomson Reuters and Ariba SAP.

Yvette is the eResearch Solutions Lead at the Centre for eResearch, University of Auckland, working on research data services and researcher enablement projects. She has extensive experience in University teaching, research and T environments and is passionate about using her broad knowledge to facilitate people to achieve their aspirations.

If we knew then what we know now, will we do it differently?

Hilary Hanahoe
Secretary General, Research Data Alliance

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but as history shows us, we rarely learn from the past or do things differently when it repeats itself. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a massive, fast track experiment for researchers, scientists and information management professionals across the globe. Never before have we witnessed such intense research, such investment of resources, availability of dedicated funding, such accessibility to relevant publications and data. It has demonstrated that science has no geographical boundaries, that cross disciplinary collaboration and cooperation is possible, that silos can be broken. At the same time, many stakeholders involved impress upon the urgency but the unsustainability of the current work. So what can we learn from this period? How can science, research and innovation reap the benefits of this learning curve? A reflection on global open science, the progress and the challenges ahead.


Hilary Hanahoe was appointed Secretary General of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) in February 2018. Her responsibilities include leadership of RDA’s membership, effective management of the RDA organization and its legal entity (RDA Foundation), engagement with RDA funders, stakeholders and organisations, and sustainable stewardship of the dynamic, active, and high-impact community of over of over 11,000 individual members from 145 countries worldwide, together with over 60 organisational members. Hilary is responsible for the financial and organisational sustainability of RDA on an international level and is the CEO of the RDA Foundation offices (Global and Europe). She works closely with the RDA Council and all governance boards and members of the RDA community. She is passionate about the work of the Research Data Alliance and its vibrant, volunteer community working to enable the open sharing and reuse of data

raPID fire persistent identifiers BoF

BoF session chairs:

Natasha Simons (ARDC), Melroy Almeida (AAF), Siobhann McCafferty (ARDC)

Presenters: Adrian Burton (ARDC), Jens Klump (CSIRO)


Persistent Identifiers (PIDs) such as ORCIDs and DOIs are critical to enabling FAIR research and lay the foundation for improved citation and tracking of research impact. The PID landscape nationally and internationally is varied, dynamic and evolving which can make it both exciting and challenging for researchers and research institutions to navigate.

  • The goals of this raPID fire BoF session are to enable you to dip into this dynamic topic and:
  • Broaden your understanding of the value proposition of PIDs
  • Hear about a range of PID types and initiatives in use in research
  • Create a space where you can raise challenges you may be having in adopting, integrating or using PIDs in your research and/or institutional research systems
  • Provide an opportunity for you to hear about new developments in the PID landscape from the perspective of the organisation’s who enable and support PID adoption in Australia

In this session, you will hear a number of short raPID fire presentations from Australian “PIDs nerds” involved in a range of PID initiatives including but not limited to ORCIDs, DOIs, PIDs for research instruments, IGSN and RAID. Each raPID presentation will be followed by a short discussion and question time on the ideas presented.

Agenda for session

PID power – Adrian Burton (ARDC)
Focussing on the value proposition of PIDs, highlighting PID developments and opportunities

Topics for discussion:

  • What PIDs are in use at your institution?
  • What do you see as the main barriers for PID adoption at your institution?

ORCID – Melroy Almeida (AAF)
Update from the Australian ORCID consortium lead

Topics for discussion:

  • What would improve the value of ORCID for your institution and/or your researchers?
  • If you could make one improvement to ORCID what would it be?

PIDs for research instruments – Siobhann McCafferty (ARDC)
Sharing the work of the Identifiers for Instruments in Australia (i4iOZ) Interest Group

Topics for discussion:

  • Why do instruments need identifiers?
  • What identifiers are you using or considering using for your instruments?

IGSN – Jens Klump (CSIRO)
Overview of the IGSN for physical samples 2040 project and future outlook

Topics for discussion:

  • What is the key value of the IGSN?

RAID – Natasha Simons (ARDC)
Spotlight on the relative newcomer, the Research Activity Identifier

Topics for discussion:

  • How can RAID add value to your research institution?

Summary and session close

Note to participants

In this session, we will be making use of Menti to enhance discussion. Please have your mobile phone handy so that you can participate in the questions asked via (additional software not required).

We are also inviting you to participate in an optional “PIDs nerds” challenge. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to:

  • Create a PID Pun – post your best PID Pun in the discussion forum during the BoF

The winner will be crowned chief PIDs Nerd for the day and receive an ARDC mug in the post.

Nailed it: Moving digital skills training online

Ann Backhaus1, Dr Marco De La Pierre1, Dr Alexis Espinosa1, Dr Mehaboob Basha1, Dr Sarah Beecroft1, Cristian  Di Pietrantonio1, Dr Pascal Elahi1, Audrey Scott1, Ali Zamani1, Dr Christina Hall2, Dr Sara King3, Dr Mark Crowe4, Dr Darya Vanichkina5, Dr Liz Stokes6, Dr Rebecca Lange7, Dr Anastasios Papaioannou8

1Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, Kensington, Australia
2Australian BioCommons, Melbourne, Australia
3AARNet, Adelaide, Australia
4QCIF, Brisbane, Australia
5University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
6ARDC, Sydney, Australia
7Curtin University, Perth, Australia
8Intersect, Sydney, Australia


Digital skills training across AUNZ has moved online. While not necessarily ‘new’, the transition was abrupt and impacted by the social complexities of responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Working from home infrastructure meant training could continue in theory, but represented previously unexplored avenues for many of us.

Over the last several months, there have been endless discussions about successes, challenges, achievements, and recommendations about the best ways to deliver online training. In the ENRICH Community of Practice alone, there have been well over 3,000 messages exchanged this year, and this represents just one of many ways in which the eResearch skills trainer community in AUNZ has come together (virtually) to share emerging best practices for distributed and virtual skills instruction.

We’ll kickstart with a short lightning talk on “the journey of a container”, illustrating a repeatable approach to designing and delivering training, through selective content building, i.e. reusing some and creating afresh other. Social-learning and community-building are also purposefully and uniquely built into the design and delivery of each training conduct.

We’ll then flip this conversation and draw from the breadth of experiences across the community to share our successes, near-misses, embarrassments, and utter disasters with online training – and how we learned from them. We will use padlet – a tool for flipped learning – to enable attendees to share stories anonymously, and upvote the most common/egregious/relatable ones for focussed discussion.

Our target audience is the trainer seeking a community of practice offering a candid assessment of the challenges of pivoting training to online delivery, a support network, mentorships and partnerships. We will provide a platform for those, and others in the broader community, to share their stories and work together to continue to create positive and productive training experiences for our research community.


Ann is the Education and Training Manager at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre. Ann has significant experience in adult teaching and learning, as well as training project and program design, development and management. She has led distributed, global training teams strategically and operationally. She has worked in and experimented with a variety of modalities and approaches for training and documentation in technical and technology areas. She has deep and broad experience in online and blended learning. Her experience spans numerous industries and sectors, including government, academia, and private enterprise.

Dr Sara King is the Training and Engagement Lead for AARNet. She is focused on outreach within the research sector, developing communities of interest around training, outreach and skills development in eResearch. She is currently working on creating reusable guidance information for Jupyter Notebooks and other AARNet services to be adapted for Carpentry training workshops. She is passionate about helping others develop the infrastructure and digital literacies required for working in a data-driven world, translating technology so it is accessible to everyone.

Solving the e-Research Data Challenge with Hybrid Cloud Technologies

John Martin

Office of the CTO, NetApp APAC


When exponentially increasing data needs meets linear unit cost reductions, the resulting technical optimisations are often at odds with leveraging FAIR datasets across research projects. This presentation outlines the current state of the dilemma and proposes a way forward that focuses on accelerating research outcomes, and creating self-funding citable datasets.


John Martin, Director of Strategy and Technology, Office of the CTO, NetApp APAC

Based in Sydney, John is responsible for developing and advocating NetApp’s solutions for Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, and large scale Data Lakes across the APAC region. He is one of the driving forces behind NetApp’s continued expansion into hybrid cloud architectures and machine and deep learning and works closely with field sales, the channel, and alliance technology partners to provide innovative solutions that solve customer business challenges.

While John is NetApp’s Hybrid Cloud and AI champion, he continues to provide technology insights and market intelligence to trends that impact both NetApp and its customers. Prior to his current role, John was NetApp’s ANZ’s principal technologist for over six years and has over 20 years’ experience working in the IT industry.

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    About the conference

    eResearch Australasia provides opportunities for delegates to engage, connect, and share their ideas and exemplars concerning new information centric research capabilities, and how information and communication technologies help researchers to collaborate, collect, manage, share, process, analyse, store, find, understand and re-use information.

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