National Research Infrastructure Scoping Studies

As part of the 2018 Research Infrastructure Investment Plan, funding was committed for eight scoping studies to be undertaken on potential research infrastructure.

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The studies were to be undertaken in collaboration with key stakeholders to explore implementation approaches, technical requirements, leveraging existing activity, and co-investment opportunities for potential new research infrastructure capabilities.

Outcomes of the scoping studies will be considered in NRI Investment Plan and Roadmap processes, which the Government has committed to undertake every two years and five years respectively.

The topics and status of the eight scoping studies are outlined below.

Scoping study


Enhanced ACCESS (the Australian Community Climate and Earth-System Simulator) weather model Completed

Synthetic biology


National Environmental Prediction System


HASS and Indigenous research platforms



In planning


In planning

Precision measurement

In planning

High Performance Compute In planning

The main findings from the completed scoping studies are:

  • Enhanced ACCESS: The implementation plan proposed a facility of climate model software specialists who can drive the complex ACCESS model to increase the number of researchers able to apply and use the model to undertake research and enhance Australia’s weather, climate and Earth system modelling capability.
  • Synthetic Biology: The implementation plan proposed an integrated model for establishing a national synthetic biology research infrastructure capability (BioFoundry). It argued investment in high throughput biological growth infrastructure, and the expertise to operate, integrate, analyse and improve outputs, would accelerate research efforts from weeks and months down to days.
  • HASS and Indigenous platforms: The report proposed a suite of activities to form the core of a HASS Research Data Commons. It proposed infrastructure that enables skilled digital researchers, working in multidisciplinary teams, to use and contribute to the development of the best digital methods to generate new insights into society and culture while providing reliable and effective forecasting on key future social issues. The investment in a HASS Research Data Commons included improving access to and management of data from and about Indigenous communities.

The department is exploring next steps for scoping work for biobanks, biosecurity, precision measurement and high performance computing and is in discussions with the sector to ascertain how best to incorporate these areas into the development of the 2021 Roadmap.

For matters relating to the scoping studies, contact the department on