A profession for eResearch

Dr Nick Tate1

1University Of Queensland

There has been significant discussion around the benefits of formalising eResearch ICT support roles with reference to the SFIA (Skills Framework for the Information Age) Framework. To date, there are few, if any, published eResearch roles which decompose into a combination of SFIA skills and Levels of Responsibility.

The benefits of adopting a standardised approach to these role definitions are substantial. Standardised roles will facilitate an equivalence not only between eResearch roles within the “not for profit” research sector but also with other research organisations and with the wider body of ICT/digital skills and roles.

This will improve the career prospects of eResearch ICT staff by improving the portability and recognition of their skills and experience. And, in turn, this will make the role of eResearch ICT support person more attractive at a time when ICT skills are in considerable demand leading to shortages.

To address this issue, it is proposed to run a Birds of a Feather (BoF) session which presents attendees with a range of potential eResearch ICT roles together with options for possible breakdown into SFIA skills and Levels of Responsibility.

After the session, it is proposed that the results should be collated and summarised before being shared with each participant. The summarised results would then be shared with the SFIA Foundation, who are currently seeking input for the development of SFIA V8 and with the Commonwealth Government’s project on the definition of ICT roles in the Australian Public Service.


Nick has 45 years’ IT experience and 20 years in Cybersecurity. He headed up ICT at two London banks and was IT Director and head of AusCERT at UQ.  He is co-founder of the eResearch Australasia Conference and was Director of the Commonwealth funded Research Data Storage Infrastructure project (RDSI). Nick is Vice-President of the Australian Computer Society with responsibility for professional standards, degree certification and certification. As President of the South East Asia Computer Confederation (SEARCC), he leads an APEC project on ICT Skills Frameworks. He is a member of the SFIA Council and an Adjunct Professor at UQ.

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