The Australian BioCommons Bring-Your-Own-Data Platform: Integrating instruments, analysis tools and compute platforms for leadership bioinformatics

Dr Nigel Ward1

1Australian BioCommons,

The Australian BioCommons Bring-Your-Own-Data Platform (BYOD platform) project is a multi-million dollar collaboration between the ARDC, Australian BioCommons, Bioplatforms Australia (BPA) and seven research infrastructure partners: AAF, AARNet, NCI, Pawsey, QCIF, University of Melbourne and University of Sydney. It aims to provide enduring access to digital techniques, reference data, and tools that will enhance Australian environmental, agricultural and biomedical researcher’s ability to understand the molecular basis of life.

From July 2020 – June 2023, the project will deliver via three interrelated work packages:

(1) Improvement of highly accessible Graphical User Interface (GUI) platforms that provide easy access to well-structured, world’s best-practice bioinformatics workbenches for research and training. This will add new tools and workflows to the existing Galaxy Australia service, and establish new GUI platforms such as the Apollo genome annotation curation platform, and Jupyter Notebooks and R Studio “integrative environments”.

(2) Development of a complementary Command Line Interface (CLI)-focussed platform, providing open programmatic resources to create, access and exchange workflows and tools across national and institutional compute infrastructures. The CLI platform will initially be established on co-investing partner sites, but will be designed to allow easy deployment on other infrastructures.

(3) Development of a data infrastructure connecting BPA -omics instruments, BPA Framework datasets, and international reference datasets to the analysis infrastructure, underpinned by national and international data transport.

This presentation will provide background on the challenges that motivated the project and detail on the work plan that aims to address those challenges.


Nigel Ward is Associate Director of Platforms within the Australian BioCommons. He works with BioCommons partners to define the shape of and direct the establishment and operation of key national bioinformatics analysis and data platforms. Prior to joining BioCommons, Nigel was eResearch Manager at QCIF where he coordinated application of cloud-based Software Services to support Queensland researchers through projects like EcoCloud, Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory, Characterisation Virtual Laboratory, Humanities & Social Science Virtual Laboratory and Galaxy Australia. Nigel has a background in applied IT research, software engineering, interoperability of distributed systems, web technologies, service and data standardisation.

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