Enhancing online data tools for characterisation researchers

June 13, 2018

Characterisation researchers will gain better access to data processing, analysis and visualisation tools thanks to a new project part-funded by ANDS, Nectar and RDS.


‘Characterisation’ is a term used to refer to the process by which a material's structure and properties are probed and measured.


The Characterisation Data Enhanced Virtual Lab (Characterisation DEVL) project will help researchers get to grips with the increasingly large data sets acquired using characterisation instruments, support new discoveries by Australian scientists.

Among its outcomes, the project will

  • Expand an  enhanced, cutting edge online Virtual Laboratory (VL) environment for researchers to analyse, use and share their research data. The project will federate the existing Characterisation Virtual Laboratory across Australia, to make it more accessible to a wider range of researchers.

  • Make the data coming from a range of instruments more Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR) through a training and community program, and through instrument-specific initiatives.

  • Undertake community driven instrument integration and data management initiatives to capture data at the point of generation, including a range of electron microscopes, cryo-electron microscopes, and neutron beamlines.

  • Lead programs for both specialised and large data-producing characterisation instruments across Australia.


The project is funded by $425,000 of investment by ANDS, Nectar and RDS through their joint 2017/28 Data Enhanced Virtual Lab (DEVL) program, plus an additional $705,000 of cash and in-kind investment by partners. The total value of the project is $1.13 million.


Partners include:


  • Monash University [lead agent]

  • Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)

  • Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility (AMMRF)

  • National Imaging Facility (NIF)

  • University of Queensland

  • University of Sydney

  • University of Western Australia

  • University of Wollongong


The ability for Australian researchers to effectively use a range of new-generation characterisation techniques is dependent on access to effective data management, data storage and data informatics techniques. This is because the latest instrument technologies generate prodigious amounts of data each time they are used.


The Characterisation DEVL is a critical stepping stone toward addressing the challenges identified in A Collaborative Australian Characterisation Informatics Strategy, a blueprint for investments in characterisation informatics that has been developed by Universities and NCRIS capabilities.


It also builds on existing investments funded by Nectar (Characterisation Virtual

Laboratory), RDS (Image Publication instrument integration project) and ANDS

(Trusted Research Outputs project with Lattice Lightsheet Microscope, Trusted Data

Repository project with NIF).


About ANDS, Nectar and RDS


The Australian National Data Service (ANDS) makes Australia’s research data assets more valuable for researchers, research institutions and the nation.


The National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources project (Nectar) provides online infrastructure that supports researchers to connect with colleagues in Australia and around the world, using and sharing data, models, analysis tools and workflows.


The Research Data Services project (RDS) enables researchers to easily store, discover, access and share their data in a nationally supported environment, resulting in better research outcomes. 


Find out more about ANDS, Nectar, RDS at www.ands-nectar-rds.org.au


ANDS, Nectar, RDS, AMMRF and NIF are projects of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) program, an initiative of the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training.


For any enquiries about this project, please contact the ANDS/Nectar/RDS project coordinator Andrew Treloar (andrew.treloar@ands.org.au).


Image: Nanoscale imaging at the Remaciotti Centre for Cryo Electron Microscopy and environments developed by the Characterisation Data Enhanced Virtual Laboratory is set to produce incredibly detailed images of the nanomachines of life such as this image by Dr Matthew Belousoff, Dr Mazdak Radjainia, and Prof Trevor Lithgow, Monash University


Share on Twitter
Please reload

Recent Posts

April 17, 2018

Please reload

Search By Tags
Please reload

This website relates to activity between July 2017 and June 2018.


Please visit the ARDC website for all activity post June 2018.

Monash University is the lead agent of ANDS.

The University of Melbourne is the lead agent of Nectar.

The University of Queensland is the lead agent of RDS.

This activity received grant funding from the Australian Government through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy.

  • Twitter Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon