Reflections from reconnecting with research communities across Australasia

From 17-20 October, members of the NeSI team attended the 2022 eResearch Australasia Conference, bringing perspectives and use cases from Aotearoa New Zealand projects and collaborations to the event's conversations and exchange of ideas.

It also provided a valuable opportunity to learn from our Australian counterparts' experiences and approaches across a range of topics, allowing us to bring back insights around:

  • user-centred design, product management, and ways of working 

  • co-designing tools and infrastructure with researchers and research communities

  • tools supporting flexible, cloud-driven, and simplified ways of accessing compute environments

  • data management plans: how implementation varies across different institutions, best practices, FAIR & CARE principles 

  • digital skills: tools and approaches for scaling efforts and building community

  • supporting and sustaining research software as an output of research


Sharing experience and insights from Aotearoa New Zealand

NeSI team members contributed to the eResearch Australasia conference programme across a range of streams during the week.

Links to their presentations or BoF recaps can be found below.

Programme Stream: People, Workforce, Communities

What can we learn about our RSE communities in Australia and New Zealand from the International RSE survey?

Hosted by Nooriyah Lohani, NeSI Research Communities Advisor and Dr. Paula Martinez Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) Project Coordinator, Software Program -- who are also both members of the Research Software Engineering Association of Australia and New Zealand (RSE-AUNZ) -- this session shared a brief overview of the Australasia results of the 2022 International RSE Survey. Highlights included strong domain representation from both biological science and physical science, insights into preferences around roles and responsibilities, and a view of overall job satisfaction. You can view their eResAU presentation slides here and dive into the full International Survey results here.

Dr Paula Martinez (left) and Nooriyah Lohani (right) presenting Australasian insights from the 2022 International RSE Survey.
Dr Paula Martinez (left) and Nooriyah Lohani (right) presenting Australasian insights from the 2022 International RSE Survey.


How to be an ally for diversity, equity and inclusion within your organisation

The Australasia Chapter of Women in High Performance Computing (WHPC+ AusNZ) brought in guest speaker Brenda Gaddi, co-founder of Women of Colour Australia, for a facilitated Birds-of-a-Feather discussion focused on practical advice and actions around diversity and inclusion allyship. The session defined what allyship can look like, how to bring equity perspectives to ways of working, and practical day-to-day actions we can implement -- from calling out instances and owning up to mistakes, to creating safe environments for conversations and building awareness within our organisations. You can read a recap of the session here.

Communicating across research ecosystems

NeSI Communications Manager Jana Makar co-chaired this Birds-of-a-Feather with Aditi Subramanya from Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre. Using a central question of "how do we better support researchers to address pressing national challenges?, the session explored the unique challenges, opportunities and best practices faced in maximising engagement, collaboration and effective communications in the eResearch sector. You can read a recap of the session here, written by an attendee from AuScope.  

Programme Stream: Infrastructure, Software, Capabilities

Partnering to build national capability in eResearch

Georgina Rae, NeSI Science Engagement Manager, and Nauman Maqbool, Group Leader Knowledge & Analytics, AgResearch, shared a look at some of the early learnings from collaboratively building a future-focused eResearch platform. Key aspects include prioritising a user-driven approach, leveraging mutual support networks, building and blending organisational cultures, and supporting capability growth. You can view the slides from this talk here.


NeSI’s flexible HPC – A programmable infrastructure for science data collaboration

Jun Huh, NeSI Product Manager, and Natalie Giraudon, NeSI Product Engineering Lead, shared an overview of NeSI's new Flexi HPC Platform which is enabling new styles of access and use of advanced research computing, including increased user interactivity and the ability to provide complete data and compute isolation (to meet security needs or support a multi-tenant infrastructure). Current usage includes an all-in-one eResearch environment with AgResearch, advanced graphics processing unit (GPU) capabilities for the Strong AI Lab at the University of Auckland, and hosting of the Aotearoa Genomic Data Repository and eventually the Rakeiora Pathfinder interactive data analysis environment, both of which have Māori Data Sovereignty requirements at their core. You can view the slides from this talk here.

Jun and Natalie speaking at eResAU
Jun Huh and Natalie Giraudon explaining how NeSI's new Flexible HPC platform is a programmable infrastructure for science data colllaboration.


Building research capabilities & mapping future challenges in the New Zealand research landscape

This lightning talk was hosted by Nisha Ghatak, NeSI Research Communities Advisor - Training, and shared a brief glimpse into NeSI's national training strategy and its partnership approach to building digital skills capabilities across Aotearoa New Zealand. Highlights include incorporating Jupyter notebooks as a training tool, cultivating a national training network of instructors, and targeting training efforts to meet researcher needs. You can view the slides from this talk here.

Programme Stream: Data

Addressing the data movement issue across AU and NZ

This talk was a joint effort between Claire Rye, NeSI Product Manager - Data, Richard Tumaliuan, REANNZ Senior Network Engineer, and AARNet's Ryan Fraser & Chris Myers. The talk explored the implementations of Globus across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand and showcased some of the research communities leveraging these national data transfer netowork capabilities for moving and sharing large datasets. In NZ, the use cases include projects supporting international collaborations in climate research, sharing Aotearoa Genomic Data Repository data with researchers, and transferring large-scale data from instruments to compute facilities for analysis. You can view the slides from this talk here.

Claire Rye presenting at eResAU
Claire Rye, NeSI Product Manager - Data, sharing how the Aotearoa Genomic Data Repository relies on Globus to share datasets with researchers.


Let's keep the conversations going at eResearch NZ 2023

We look forward to continuing many of these discussions in a few months at eResearch NZ 2023, happening in Hamilton, NZ and online from 15-17 February 2023. Registration is now open and a preliminary programme is expected to be released before the Christmas break.

It will be a great chance to reconnect with colleagues from eResearch Australasia as well as bring together research communities across Aotearoa New Zealand to share new developments or updates on projects and strategies that are driving new capabilities in our eResearch ecosystem.

For more information on eResearch NZ, visit the conference website