Australia’s relationship with the European Union on research infrastructure

Australia and the European Union (EU) share a common approach to investing and prioritising research infrastructure and since 2010 have developed a strong collaborative relationship at both the policy and facility management level.

European delegation for research infrastructure visit to Australia 4–8 November 2013

In November 2013 the Australian Government Department of Education hosted a visit by a delegation of 17 members from the EU that included the managers and operators of research infrastructure facilities and European Commission officials. The delegation was led by Dr Octavi Quintana Trias, Director of Directorate B: European Research Area, Directorate General Research and Innovation, European Commission.

The visit also served as a regional preparatory event ahead of the International Conference for Research Infrastructure 2014. This conference will be held in Athens on 2–4 April 2014 and is co-organised by the European Commission and Greece under the Presidency of the EU. The conference will provide a further opportunity to broaden the international discussion of important issues in research infrastructure.

The Third EU–Australia Workshop on Research Infrastructure was held at the Australian Academy of Science, Shine Dome, Canberra, 5–6 November 2013 and focused on the themes of healthy ageing, sustainable cities, clean energy and industry-research linkages.

The workshop included presentations by Dr Quintana Trias on Horizon 2020 and Mr David de Carvalho, Department of Education, on Research Infrastructure Policies and Priorities in Australia.

A New Partnerships for Big and Complex Research Data workshop was held in Melbourne on 7 November and considered the opportunities and challenges presented by the growing volume of research data holdings and the challenges this represents for data sharing and inter-operability.

Broadening the focus of discussions, both events also welcomed representatives from New Zealand and Singapore.

Other meetings were held with Australian Government officials and with the Australian High Performance Computing community. The delegation also visited a variety of Australia’s cutting-edge facilities funded under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) program.

The delegation visit achieved positive outcomes relating to access arrangements for facilities, sharing of technical expertise and skills development. As a result of the visit, Australia and the European Union:

  • confirmed the value of a continued dialog on large-scale research infrastructures including the management, access and preservation of large and complex data and agreed to work towards increased levels of cooperation, and
  • agreed to review progress on initiatives at the upcoming Australia–EU Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee meeting to be held in the last half of 2014.

Details of the visit and the outcomes are in the Visit by a European Union Delegation on Research Infrastructure to Australia 4–8 November 2013 Communiqué.