NZ digital infrastructures collaborate for big data outcomes

“New Zealand can be at the cutting edge of applying an integrated approach to data and computational infrastructure."

New Zealand research infrastructure providers, REANNZ, NeSI and NZGL, are collaborating to drive capability development in research data at a national level for the benefit of researchers and the economy.

Through their joint ‘eResearch 2020’ initiative, the partners initiated the National Research Data Programme (NDRP) - a sector-wide initiative focused on lifting New Zealand’s capability in data intensive discovery, research data management, and digital research methods.

The NDRP launched at The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa last month with a major strategy workshop attended by key academics, technologists, and research data experts from around the country.

The workshop, co-hosted by Professor Shaun Hendy, Director of Te Pūnaha Matatini (the Centre of Research Excellence for Complex Systems and Networks), mapped out a comprehensive approach to growing New Zealand research data capabilities and expertise across our research sector over the next five years.

“New Zealand can be at the cutting edge of applying an integrated approach to data and computational infrastructure from which all sectors of society can benefit,” says Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor and keynote speaker.

Sir Peter outlined his views on the significant opportunities and challenges ahead, as researchers come to work with data of unprecedented scale and sophistication, along with powerful means for integrated data analysis.

Also, he highlighted several topics for consideration ranging from privacy, through to data management and analytical expertise, to social license for new data applications such as artificial intelligence.

Meanwhile, international speaker, Dr Rhys Francis shared his experiences as Executive Director of the Australian eResearch Infrastructure Council, where his responsibilities spread across the digital research infrastructure investments made in Australia between 2005 and 2013.

Dr Francis noted that successful research data investment needs to go beyond computational systems, networks and storage, to include investment into data assets, methods and expertise for using, sharing and managing data at a national level.

A key observation from the Australian experience was the need for a lead organisation that can sponsor capability enhancement and coordinate policy development in the research data area.

Over the coming months, REANNZ, NeSI and NZGL will be working together to develop an underpinning strategy for building research data capacity in New Zealand.

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