Directors Update – November 2020

Welcome to this November edition of our eNewsletter, which showcases new tools and data products from TERN and talks about the program for the upcoming virtual Ecological Society of Australia conference, for which TERN is the major sponsor. 

Other news to share relates to funding. TERN is really excited to see the release of the 2020 Research Infrastructure Investment Plan by the  Commonwealth Government through which TERN will receive an additional $5.89M in 2022-23. The funding comes as an outcome from the recent Federal Budget, which saw $96 million secured for the 2022-23 financial year for current NCRIS projects, including TERN. The funding will allow TERN to continue integrating data from its multi-scale ecosystem observatory and to support TERN’s participation in global ecosystem research infrastructure initiatives.

TERN’s cross-platform Executive Group and the regional node ambassadors have spent the past few months working on preparation of TERN’s 2020-23 strategic plan and it is almost complete. The final part, which is about future challenges, will be addressed at a strategic planning meeting being held by TERN’s Advisory Board on 2 December.  Impacts of COVID-19 and the possible economic consequences on TERN’s research infrastructure programs will be among the challenges discussed.  The meeting will be an opportunity to welcome Brant Smith as a new member of the Advisory Board. Brant is the Chief Data Officer and Assistant Secretary for the Geospatial and Information Analytics Branch in the Portfolio and Strategy Division of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE). A big thank you for her 2020 contributions to the Advisory Board goes to DAWE’s Kylie Galway.

Many of you will have provided comment in October-November to DAWE’s draft scoping documents for the 2021 State of Environment (SoE) chapters. The five-yearly SoE report relies extensively on high quality national environmental data and to help the future authors of SoE chapters, TERN, along with ALA and IMOS, is pleased to be part of an Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) supported collaboration called “Ecoassets”.  Ecoassets will endeavour to integrate over the next couple of years the rich biodiversity data from each of the three NCRIS projects to better support authors preparing chapters for the future SoE reports. By bringing all the data into one place, the newly developed assets will be findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) and as such, will add significant value to the SoE report, and other areas such as environmental accounting and impact assessments.

Finally, we congratulate the five successful projects who will be receiving investment through the ARDC’s investment in the Public Sector Bridges project. TERN will be a beneficiary of one of those projects, titled ‘Sensitive Species Data Pathways from Decision Making to Research’ that will develop a National Framework to enable the sharing of full resolution threatened and sensitive species data. For TERN, the project will provide key foundational methods to share and access sensitive data collected through TERN for those in research and government. Outputs from this project will be adopted into national data standards and services for plot-based ecology data. 

Until next month – happy reading.


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