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Shared approach to building national capability in computational science

20 August 2021
Shared approach to building national capability in computational science

                         

New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI) and AgResearch today announced a new partnership that will design and deliver a future-focused eResearch Platform.

Through this partnership, AgResearch will meet its needs to innovate in advanced computing and data methods for its research while participating in the growth and development of national research infrastructure.

AgResearch is the first to leverage the full power of NeSI’s soon-to-be-launched multi-tenant cloud-native high performance computing platform. This all-in-one environment brings together expertise, computing and data, research networks, instruments at the institutional edge, and scientific pipelines and workflows to harness the power of the platform as a super-facility for research.

The collaboration model behind this platform shares and fosters expertise across both organisations. It forms mutual support networks for platform operations, user support, and in establishing critical mass through training and community-building.

The infrastructure platform is also being co-designed with Research & Education Network New Zealand (REANNZ) as a flexible, scalable environment that will support new communities and other current and future partners looking to leverage and contribute to lifting national capabilities.

"It's a new model for partnership and service delivery that we hope offers an exemplar to the research sector of the opportunities created through shared investment and collaboration around advanced technologies," said Nick Jones, Director of NeSI.

"Both organisations are discovering and learning about how best to support and develop a rich national eResearch ecosystem. In considering how our national science system supports our collective ambition as a nation, the foundations we’re laying down now equip us to achieve higher degrees of collaboration while growing the scale and diversity essential to enable our future pathways."

The partnership addresses a challenge commonly faced by institutions, where their research ambitions grow beyond what's possible to support through local investment. This partnership sees AgResearch tapping into NeSI's depth and breadth of eResearch capability, growing critical mass in computationally and data-intensive science platforms. This builds on NeSI’s own investment into an open system aimed at enabling greater degrees of collaboration and sharing of research infrastructure for the future.

“This partnership will significantly bolster AgResearch’s eResearch capability and strengthen our commitment to collaboration across the New Zealand science sector," said Greg Rossiter, AgResearch Director of Technology and Digital Services.

"AgResearch scientists are increasingly collecting, sharing and processing huge amounts of data during their research both on-farm and in the lab. Having access to the eResearch expertise, networks of researchers, and the necessary computing power and storage will greatly enhance the scale and impact of our research. We’re really excited about this new partnership.”

Early goals include capability development and support of tools to drive data capture, transfer, and deeper data analysis to inform the production of better quality agri-food products, increased yields, and improved animal health. New opportunities will also emerge for developing computational capabilities across a range of research programmes, from refining data management processes to applications of data science approaches.

This partnership complements the recently announced collaborative investment by NeSI Collaborators -- University of Auckland, University of Otago, and Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research -- to work together in the national interest to keep pace with today's increasing diversity of research drivers. These drivers include growth in data, complexity of models, and a spread of computational maturity across research communities.

"This partnership and the investments we’re planning to make together in the very near term are potentially transformative to collaboration across our science system," said Jones. "It's an exciting realm to enter and we're very pleased to have strong partners alongside us for the journey."

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