NCRIS - Whistle stop lightning talk transcript [extended version] For this micro-talk I’ve borrowed quite heavily from Professor Andrew Lowe’s (Plant Conservation Biology at University of Adelaide) explainer published in the Conversation back in March 20151. So here’s yet another acronym: NCRIS which stands for the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy. Andrew Lowe refers to NCRIS quite aptly as the “other kind of infrastructure”, not rail or road networks, or telecommunications networks such as our bemoaned NBN, not hospitals or schools, but national research infrastructure - funded at A$150 million per year. So what is NCRIS and what does it fund? The NCRIS network currently supports national research capability through 26 active projects and facilities that employ approximately 1700 highly skilled technical experts and researchers in 222 institutions. The “network” supports over 35 000 researchers both domestically and internationally. These 26 facilities encompass a diverse range of research areas and disciplines. I’ve stuck with Andrew’s groupings of seven key areas: On “Platform” 1 and ready to depart are the Physical Sciences transporting us through how matter, from the subatomic to the astronomical, behave and interact. Facilities such as ANSTO’s (the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation) - Australian Synchrotron, Bragg Institute, and National Deuteration Facility, and ANU’s Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility. There’s the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF), which manipulates hard (i.e. metal, semiconductor and ceramic) and soft (i.e. polymers) materials And Astronomy Australia Ltd (AAL), helps with understanding galaxies through optical and radio telescopes. These facilities “fast-track” future developments in: sensor, pharmaceutical, medical device, metallurgy, engineering, immunology, energy and electronic industries. Now departing from “Platform” 2 - is the Molecular Biosciences, projects like the human genome project. This type of research requires an ability to view and analyse whole genomes, individual genes, biomolecules such as proteins, cells and tissues. We are seeing exciting breakthroughs in the health, personal medicine, pharmaceutical, immunology, disease control and detection, agriculture, plant and animal breeding and sensing industries as a result of research using NCRIS facilities such as: Bioplatforms Australia (BPA), where biomolecules are analysed from genes through to genomes and the metabolome European Molecular Biology Laboratory Australia, links Australian researchers with international leaders in molecular biology The Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility (AMMRF), analyses materials through optical, electron and X-ray microscopes The National Imaging Facility, helping to understand the form and function by electromagnetic imaging of animals, plants and materials. On “Platform 3” stopping all stations to Moving, Storing, Managing with final disembarkation at Publishing Data. The Infrastructure on these lines supports the “big end of town” data, for example, the type generated by large physical and bioscience infrastructure, such as the geosciences, radio astronomy and genomics, but can often also be used by the not so big data producers, supporting our forecasting, management and mitigation of the weather, climate change impacts, disease outbreaks, pest and weed incursions, wild fire and the sustainable use of our natural resources. And includes NCRIS infrastructure: National Computational Infrastructure and Pawsey Supercomputing Centre (Pawsey), providing high end supercomputer services to researchers Research Data Services, enabling researchers to easily store, discover, access and share their data for better research outcomes The National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources, develops data analysis and modelling tools for researchers to use at their own desktop The Australian National Data Service, ensures Australia’s research data assets are FAIR and as a consequence more valuable for researchers, research institutions and the nation Not NCRIS facilities but nevertheless necessary to the research ecosystem are Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet) and Australian Access Federation, which help build better electronic communication, connectivity and collaboration networks between research institutions in Australia and overseas. The interchange to Environment and Biosphere is on “Platform 4” linking travellers up with an understanding of the natural processes of our planet and the species we share it with. Through this knowledge we track ways to mitigate and adapt our impact on natural systems to sustain long-term ecosystem and planetary health. The following infrastructure directly supports the mining, farming, pastoral, forestry, fisheries, aquaculture and environmental impact assessment industries and provides the fundamental data for developing our biodiversity conservation and climate adaptation strategies: AuScope, helps analyse and understand geological and earth systems Integrated Marine Observing System and National Sea Simulator, model and monitor the oceans by mapping the sea floor, measuring ocean currents and tracking sea life The Groundwater Infrastructure program monitors use of and impact on groundwater resources Atlas of Living Australia shares an inventory of Australia’s plants and animals and knowledge of their natural history The Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN), helps understanding the state and trajectory of our ecosystems through ecological monitoring and remote sensing. Passengers for the Agriculture and Biosecurity lines should now go to “Platform 5”. Given Australia’s climatic extremes and unpredictability, floods and droughts, coupled with nutrient limitation and salinity, much needs to be done in developing crops that are hardy enough to thrive under Australian conditions. Food security as the ultimate aim. Our isolation also makes Australia susceptible to disease, pest and weed invasions. Developing knowledge in these areas will improve agricultural productivity and lessen the human and economic impacts of disease, pests and weeds. Helping researchers achieve successful outcomes are: The Australian Plant Phenomics Facility develops improved crops, healthier food, more sustainable practices and bio-pharmaceuticals The Australian Animal Health Laboratory controls the risk of animal diseases Signal issues on “Platform 6” have now been rectified. Human Health commuters please be advised services will commence shortly. Without appropriate infrastructure medical and health research could not develop new disease cures, analyse epidemiological trends, securely share health data and increase the translation of health science into praxis and clinical applications. Additionally, there are many health industries that through new knowledge drive new pharmaceutical, immunology and health products and services. The Australian Phenomics Network, studies diseases, including cancer and blood disorders, in mice to provide a way forward for humans The Population Health Research Network safely shares and analyses population health information to improve wellbeing and enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of health services Therapeutic Innovation Australia improves translation of therapeutic discoveries into clinical applications.
The express to Empowered Societies of the Future is leaving on “Platform 7” now. Understanding the social and urban dynamics of human populations helps us manage and plan future societal developments. Moving towards cheaper, less carbon intensive energy production is also necessary for a sustainable future. Helping to achieve this is: The Australian Data Archive collate and analyse social, political and economic trends in society The Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network helps improve the built environment by sharing knowledge and solutions The Australian Plasma Fusion Research Facility is developing fusion energy; a clean, virtually inexhaustible energy source that powers the sun and stars. The Biofuels Research Pilot Plant program is developing a renewable biocommodities pilot plant and a photobioreactor facility.
Wow! Did you get all that? Hope so, because the pop quiz is coming up next - only joking! Thank you! Reference: Lowe, Andrew. (March 17, 2015). Explainer: the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/explainer-the-national-collaborative-research-infrastructure-strategy-ncris-38837
Kathryn Unsworth whistlestop tour of NCRIS RSCD2018
Whistle Stop tour of NCRIS is now
departing on Platform 1
Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility