Reflecting on another successful eResearch NZ 2024

The eResearch NZ | eRangahau Aotearoa 2024 conference ran from 7-9 February in Wellington and brought together hundreds of brilliant minds working to make a difference to our world. Together we learned about the latest innovations, shared our successes and challenges, and celebrated our achievements.

The conference, co-hosted by REANNZ, NeSI, and Genomics Aotearoa, and with support from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, marked its 15th year as an annual national forum and community-gathering event.

Highlights from the programme

We heard from a range of perspectives and pioneers across the eResearch space speaking to our 2024 strategic theme: He Moana Pukepuke e Ekengia e te Waka | Navigating an evolving eResearch landscape. Highlights from the keynote and plenary sessions included:

  • CEO Amber McEwen opened the eResearch conference with a call to the sector to keeping working together, connecting and collaborating: “New Zealand is a small economy, working hard to create impact nationally and globally.  To be successful we can’t work alone, we must collaborate. I truly believe that bringing people together to collaborate is key to the continued success and growth of our sector.”
  • Research and Innovation Minister Judith Collins, echoed this sentiment in her video address to attendees: “We’re a small, advanced nation and we need to grow our economy. We need people like yourselves involved in eResearch to think about how we grow our economy. This government is putting science and innovation at the top where it needs to be.”
  • Rod Wilson, Chief Technologist, External Research Networks, Ciena, discussed the new era of super-computers. Use your influence strategically, he said: “Your community of researchers have a tremendous amount of power and clout. You have to create people gravitational pull…for cool kids to want to come.”
  • Ian Foster, Director, the Data Science and Learning Division at Argonne National Laboratory discussed his team’s research on the use of Large Language Models (LLMs) as tools for processing and synthesizing scientific literature, painting a vision for a potential future where researchers work with LLM-powered intelligent agents to accelerate scientific discovery.
  • Carole Goble, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Manchester, talked about how “health data is highly sensitive and personal and confidential” and “we need code that touches the data, not eyes that touch the data.”
  • Māori technology ethicist Dr Karaitiana Taiuru (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Toa) told us that “Māori data is a collective property right rather than an individual property right,” and “We need to be prepared that, at some stage in the future, legal personhood might be given to Māori data.”
  • Australian Research Data Commons CEO Rosie Hicks shared her thoughts on research data commons: “We’re building world-leading environmental and climate digital infrastructure” using fair and care principles, but “we can’t be everything to everyone; we need to think about how we meet the needs of the greatest number of researchers with finite resources.”
  • Jan Sheppard, Chief Data and Analytics Officer at ESR, gave an eye-opening and insightful keynote about how we need to be ahead of the game by creating new futures with data. She covered new diseases, climate change and access to water – which are three major challenges for our future.

Thank you to everyone who attended and supported the event, particularly our sponsors: One New Zealand, Ciena, Catalyst Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Digital Science, CDC, Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC), Dell Technologies, Sempre Technologies, Xenon, and T4 Group.

View a highlights video from the event below or on Youtube.

Highlights from the NeSI team

Across the three days, members of the NeSI team delivered talks and co-hosted community discussions across a range of topics, including:

  • Building custom web portals for HPC and mid-tier computing -- Thomas Berger, Product Manager
  • NeSI's Flexible HPC - A journey through collaboration -- Jun Huh, Product Manager - Innovation
  • What happens after you turn on the flashlight? Building Security Capability -- Michael Karich, Chief Information Security Officer
  • Flooding an HPC: parallelism optimisation in the STRAND project -- Maxime Rio, Data Science Engineer
  • Hard Questions for Soft Skills: Carpentries Community Collaboration in Aotearoa & Australia (BoF) -- Nisha Ghatak, Research Communities Advisor
  • NeSI - infrastructure for growth of research talent and skills -- Nick Jones, Director
  • The Research Software Alliance (ReSA) and NeSI -- Georgina Rae, Science Engagement Manager
  • Our research data landscape -- Nick Jones, Director
  • Unravelling the data lifecycle (BoF) -- Claire Rye, Product Manager - Data
  • Women in HPC Australasia, 3 years on -- Jana Makar, Communications Manager
  • Fishing for parallelisation strategies -- Alexander Pletzer, Research Software Engineer
  • Bridging the Digital Divide: Supporting Aotearoa's Journey to Digital Literacy Excellence (BoF) -- Nisha Ghatak, Research Communities Advisor
  • NeSI’s Research Developer Cloud: A cloud native platform enabling challenging solutions -- Jun Huh, Product Manager - Innovation
  • Making research data count (BoF) -- Claire Rye, Product Manager - Data
  • "Is this community for me?" Managing & resolving imposter syndrome (BoF) -- Jana Makar, Communications Manager

Copies of these slides and others from the conference can be viewed at the eResearch NZ Figshare portal.

Claire Rye and Jun Huh from NeSI presenting on the Rakeiora pathfinder project.
Claire Rye and Jun Huh from NeSI presenting at eResearch NZ 2024.


Looking ahead to next year

Save the date for eResearch NZ 2025! We're still working out the details around location and exact date, but the timing will be similar to years past, aiming for mid-February (the week after Waitangi Day).

To get event updates direct to your inbox, join our eResearch NZ event mailing list.

If you have any questions about sponsorship, speaking, or other ways to partner around this event, get in touch