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Australian Science Clouds

Six of Australia’s national research infrastructure investments have come together to create a new, exciting e-research platform to support Australian research: The Australian Science Clouds.

Federal Government funding via the Department of Education and Training’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) is establishing three new Australian science clouds:

Establishment of the Science Community Clouds will ensure that research communities have improved access to shared data, tools, platforms and computing resources according to each community’s domain-specific needs.

The science clouds will benefit from the efficiencies of leveraging a common underlying eResearch cloud platform, while also supporting shared access across the domain cloud boundaries. It is also expected that the proposed science clouds will provide widely-accessible knowledge sharing platforms for supporting research-industry collaboration.


On this page, you will find regularly updated information on the development of the Australian Science Clouds and, in particular, the Ecosystems Science Cloud (ecocloud), which TERN co-led the development of. 

Follow the link for more information on:

 National NCRIS Infrastructure Partners

The national NCRIS infrastructure partners include:

  • BioPlatforms Australian (BPA) – bioplatforms.com
  • Terrestrial Ecosystems Research Network (TERN) – tern.org.au
  • Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) – imos.org.au
  • National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (NeCTAR) – nectar.org.au
  • National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) – nci.org.au
  • Research Data Services (RDS) – rds.edu.au

Research Infrastructure Providers supporting the proposal

Other research infrastructure providers supporting the proposal include:

Building on existing infrastructure

The Science Clouds will build upon the existing Research Cloud and Virtual Laboratories provided by NeCTAR, the national data storage services provided by RDS and streamlined access to major data collections hosted by NCI (National Computational Infrastructure).

BPA, TERN and IMOS will provide leadership and coordination in prioritising and deploying tools and platforms on behalf of their research communities.



Australian Ecosystems Science Cloud (ecocloud)

The first version of the ecocloud Platform was officially launched on 26 September 2018.  It provides an online platform giving researchers easy access to large volumes of curated data and tools using Cloud and Virtual Laboratory (VL) technology.

The alpha release of the ecocloud platform brings you four key components:

ecocloud Workspace

10GB of persistent storage to keep your code/notebooks so they are ready to go when you start up a server (R or Python environment).

Your Workspace is only really intended to store code, you can import and export large datasets and results directly from your server to places like Dropbox.

ecocloud Explorer

A portal that indexes data from more than 600 publishers and provides code snippets to access and interact with this data.

ecocloud Tools

The powerhouse of the ecocloud Platform are our server environments. With a couple of clicks, you can have a server running in the cloud with R (including RStudio) or Python as your coding language of choice. These servers use the JupyterLabs interface which includes connections to GitHub, Google Drive and Dropbox.

You can also spawn a ready-to-go Virtual Desktop using TERN’s CoESRA which includes software such as QGIS and Biodiverse. Alongside all of this, the Tools page provides links to popular ecoscience related tools which will be updated regularly.

ecocloud Support

Everyone needs support from time to time so ecocloud has a support site with articles on how to use the platform. A community forum focused on code and scientific topics relevant to the ecoscience community will also be added in the future.



The ecocloud project is a collaborative effort supported by NCRIS-funded Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) as the major project sponsor, and the Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation (QCIF) as the implementation partner.

TERN is a founding partner of ecocloud alongside:

  • Atlas of Living of Australia (ALA)
  • Australian Plant Phenomics Facility (APPF)
  • The Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory (BCCVL)
  • CSIRO Land & Water - Environmental Informatics
  • Department of Agriculture (ABARES)
  • Department of Environment and Energy (DoEE)
  • eResearch South Australia (eRSA)
  • Fenner School of Environment and Society (ANU)
  • Griffith University
  • National Computational Infrastructure (NCI)


To ensure ecocloud continues to create solutions that meet your needs, we encourage you to take a look at the alpha release and submit comments, ideas and thoughts here.




Siddeswara Guru: 

Sarah Richmond: 



October 2018

ecocloud is here!

The first release of ecocloud is here. The alpha release of the online platform brings you four key components: Workspace, Explorer, Tools & Support. TERN is proud to be a founding partner in this landmark infrastructure project that’s giving researchers easy access to big data and tools using Cloud and Virtual Laboratory technology.


January 2018

$2m data enhancement project will help safeguard Australia’s native flora

The ‘EcoScience Research Data Cloud and Data Enhanced Virtual Laboratory’ (EcoCloud) project will provide an online platform giving researchers easy access to large volumes of curated data and tools using Cloud and Virtual Laboratory (VL) technology. This will also include resources to support publication and sharing of the data and its analysis.

August 2017

ecocloud: one of three new Australian Science Clouds

Open access to free, domain-specific, cloud-based research tools, virtual laboratories and platforms via a single interface that links multiple data sources and service providers is set to be delivered thanks to a new national e-research infrastructure investment: The Australian Science Clouds. Learn more about the clouds and help TERN further tailor the Australian Ecosystem Science Cloud to meet your needs.

February 2017

  • A Technical Advisory Group is currently being established that will provide advice on the scoping and implementation of the project.
  • In the first iteration of the Australian Ecosystem Science Cloud reference datasets will be made available as a example of what’s possible.  These reference datasets are expected to include:
  • Remote sensing reference data (such as TERN AusCover’s Fractional Cover Product);
  • Long-term ecological monitoring data; and
  • Climate variables.
  • Scoping of the mediation layer and overall architecture of the cloud is underway.
  • Building a coalition of partners and collaborators for the cloud.


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