Supporting REDCap at scale at Monash University

Mr John Liman1, Mr Chris Mac Manus1

1Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Research platforms that are easy-to-use, self-governed and available from little-to-no-cost mean that research can be undertaken without the traditional barriers of high-cost, complex-workflows and a dependency on experts to operate. REDCap is a great example in this space, and we describe the niche that REDCap is carving out that is fast becoming the first option for any small to medium size research projects.

With a fast growth of user base and projects within Monash University, a sustainable method is needed to support them.  By partnering with various groups within Monash University, Helix is able to support 600 projects and 3000+ users which are growing daily.  The activities that Helix lead and support includes an Introduction to REDCap hands-on workshop, users and projects creation, technical consultation, and project customisations, as well as building a local REDCap community within Monash which meet regularly.

A recent audit of REDCap found that whilst Medicine was a major user of the platform, Helix found that other Faculties were increasingly using the platform, and one of the largest non-Medicine groups is Pharmacy.  Helix is now looking to provide REDCap and other platforms for use by all Faculties within the University that require access to platforms for sensitive data capture, storage and processing. Establishing a strong Community of Practice that will foster the need to provide support at scale, and by developing formal training will help to educate a future generation of researchers that see REDCap on the critical path to high quality research.


John Liman is the Senior Software Engineer at Helix, Monash University.  John is the Monash REDCap administrator supporting researchers with REDCap design, training, project consultation and customisations.

Governance Models for Research Compute

Ms Jo Dalvean1,Dr Ian Thomas1, Mr Nick May1, Dr Steve Quenette2, Dr Christopher Adda3, Dr Bernard Meade4, Luc Betbeder-Matibet5

1RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
2Monash University, Clayton, Australia
3La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia
4The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia
5University of New South Wales


With the current challenges of increasing demand and reduced budgets, research institutions need careful accounting and optimisation of policies and processes.  As new compute capabilities are implemented, allocating research compute to researchers has become more complex and urgent.  These enabling technologies are key for research impact, but also require significant investment.  This mandates a need for responsive and equitable approaches to managing  resources.

The purpose of this BOF to enable experts to discuss challenges and strategies for handling governance of research computing allocations (such as HPC or cloud) to researchers, focussing primarily on policy, procedures and politics.  Are there models that would allow this process to be more fair, efficient and transparent for both users, institutions and the providers?  Is there any consensus on the best practice on allocating scarce resources?  Does this practice change for different classes of researchers and compute?


We start with introduction to the topic followed by some short talks by community leaders on this topic to help stimulate discussion.  Most of the session will be devoted to group discussion on specific questions.


We hope to uncover key principles for successful governance of research compute from the experiences of the participants and then organise suitable follow-on activities.


Now that advanced research compute has moved from a niche requirement to a key enabler of impact, best practice models for handling these expensive resources becomes crucial.  We must move from ad-hoc heuristics and adaptations of existing processes to a more efficient and effective approach.


Ms Jo Dalvean (0000-0002-7502-3202) is Implementation Lead for a project delivering improved research data and computing services at RMIT University. The role includes development of allocation, usage and reporting models for research compute services.

Dr Ian Thomas (

Mr Nick May (

Dr Steve Quenette (

Dr Christopher Adda (

Dr Bernard Meade (

Luc Betbeder-Matibet (

Research data management services and COVID-19. Is this our new normal?

Ms Julie Toohey1, Brett Parker2, Liz Stokes3, Andrew White4

1Griffith University, Meadowbrook, Logan City, Australia
2eResearch Services, Griffith University
3Australian Research Data Commons
4Australian Research Data Common

This BoF session is targeted at Library, IT professionals and Research Offices who are keen to learn how other institutions experienced and adapted to unexpected data management activities throughout 2020.

Situation: Australian academic libraries and IT services have taken an increasingly larger role in research data management activities including education, awareness, skills development and technical support including device encryption or safe storage and transfer solutions. Prior to COVID-19, Griffith University Library and eResearch Services delivered generic research data management seminars in classroom settings however 2020 has been a game changer as we rapidly pivot services to adapt to these changing circumstances.

Task: Once COVID-19 hit, all assumptions about community research data required adjustment.   All content was urgently reviewed and streamlined according to researchers needs given they were now conducting research from home. Griffith now delivers seminars online with attendance numbers surging and increased enquiries regarding safe devices, apps, software and data storage solutions.

Action: In this BoF session we will involve other institutions to share their experiences adapting to the current situation. COVID-19 has thrown many challenges with some organisations accepting that quick thinking, adaptability and agility helps in meeting these challenges. We assume similar activities happened at other institutions. Or do we have that wrong? No judgement from us.

Result: Members of our research community working from home were presented with new challenges in delivering training and were keenly aware of real life implications of not managing research data safely. This impacted how and what kind of training we delivered.


Julie Toohey is a Library Research Specialist (Research Data Management), Researcher Services Team, Griffith University Library.  Julie has an extensive career in academic libraries and is passionate about research data management practices.   Previously, Julie co-facilitated the Australian National Data Services 23 Things Health and Medical Data series and is currently a member of Queensland University Libraries Office of Cooperation (QULOC) Research Support Working Party.  Julie works closely with Griffith eResearch Services delivering education programs around managing research data, reproducible research and working with sensitive data.  Julie has co-authored several research data publications with Griffith researchers and eResearch Services partners.

Brett Parker:

Liz Stokes:

Making the case: An NCRIS Trust and Identity Capability – Enabling a more interconnected, efficient and secure NCRIS system

Ms Elleina Filippi1, Mr Heath Marks1, Mr Richard Northam1

1AAF, Brisbane, Australia

Since 2006, successive NCRIS Roadmaps have recognised Access and Authentication as crucial national research infrastructure. In 2009 the first steps were taken to establish a Trust and Identity (T&I) federation for Australia’s research and education system. The efficiency and effectiveness of the research system continues to require a systemic approach for T&I beyond AAF’s current offering as requirements emerge.

There is an opportunity for Australia to leverage the work of the European Union and other international approaches to T&I. A systemic program that enables the Australian Access Federation (AAF) to deliver a system-wide T&I capability beyond its current offering will significantly benefit the research sector. AAF envisages a NCRIS T&I program that will:

  • ensure key skills and expertise in T&I are nurtured
  • provide access to a world leading framework and blueprint architectures
  • enhance national capabilities that enable researchers to collaborate globally
  • create a more connected, efficient and integrated research system
  • ensure a cyber safe and secure research infrastructure.

Australia’s research infrastructure would be more secure, interconnected and easier to use.  It would accelerate research, providing greater flexibility for researchers that produce and/or use data to collaborate domestically and internationally, making it easier to move data and workloads across Australia’s research infrastructure system and help to protect Australia’s valuable infrastructure and data from cyberattacks and foreign interference.

Australia is well positioned to fast-track an initiative to build the necessary framework, blueprint building blocks and expertise to achieve a system-wide approach to T&I for research. See:


Elleina joined the AAF in November 2014 as the Service Delivery Manager and was recently appointed as the Chief Operating Officer (COO).  Elleina is responsible for the AAF business operations the ORCID Portfolio and overseeing the delivery of services, communication and subscriber engagement activities. Elleina has over 15 years’ experience in communication, change and digital media and previously worked at QUT in the Division of Technology, Information and Learning Support as their Communication Team Leader and implemented a number of communications, engagement and service delivery activities.

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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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