Learned Academies and ARDC join forces to strengthen data-enabled research

24 June 2022

Australia’s five Learned Academies, the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) and the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) have today launched a report series: Australia’s Data-Enabled Research Future

Action to mitigate the effects of global warming is essential to reduce threats to our biodiversity, ecosystem, human health, water resources, and food security, and to limit effects on the entire Australian economy.

Answering critical questions about food security, water resources, biodiversity, and other socio-economic issues is an essential part of helping Australians better respond to changing climate conditions. These answers begin with data-enabled research.

The project aims to help build more coherent data policy and strategic data planning environment to uplift national data infrastructure.

Five domain reports were developed, and a synthesis report focused on common themes and multidisciplinary opportunities and needs.


Harnessing the potential

 ATSE produced the report Australia’s Data-Enabled Research Future: Technology and Engineering which focuses the role of data in the climate challenge.

Evidence based research is the bedrock of all such activities and data plays a critical role in helping to solve these major issues. Data is the lifeblood of decision-making and the raw material for accountability in the modern world. ATSE CEO Kylie Walker said, “The volume of data being generated across all sectors is momentous. We don’t yet have a consistent and connected approach to data storage, management, and processing; without these, we risk losing much of its value and its future potential to inform urgent and complex planning and decision-making.

“For Australia to be prepared to properly meet complex and growing challenges such as climate change and water availability, we need to start our data revolution. We need to make sure that we are not only collecting the right data, but that it’s being stored and accessed in a way that supports growing resilience and appropriate planning for the future.”

Through scenarios studying security and sustainability of water resources, data from earth observation systems and data required to create infrastructure resilience, we identified the capabilities and current gaps that need to be addressed.

There are three key focus areas required to optimise climate data:

  1. Creation of a framework that allows for interoperability – collecting, storing and creating a uniform format of accessible metadata
  2. Ensuring the data collected is fit for purpose.
  3. Enhancing the lifecycle management of data – creating optimised storage, management, processing, security and analytics processes for the increasing volumes of data.