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Director’s Update – November 2021

Welcome to the November TERN e-newsletter. Two important events have just been announced that will affect TERN.  With respect to the first, a La Niña event has been declared for Australia so for a change of pace over the summer ecosystem monitoring season, the annual challenge to the resilience of our infrastructure may be floods and cyclones. The second challenging event is the release of the draft National Research Infrastructure Roadmap 2021.

The draft Roadmap aims to set out the strategic direction and vision for Australian National Research Infrastructure (NRI) over the next five to ten years and guidance to the Government on actions to enable researchers to maintain excellence, increase innovation and address eight emerging challenges. These eight nominated research themes/challenges reflect where the Government sees the need for NRI enhancement and investment. The areas align with the following government strategies and schemes:

  1. Australian Government’s Modern Manufacturing Strategy (6 October 2020)
  2. National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy (29 October 2021)
  3. National Science and Research Priorities (May 2015)
  4. Blueprint for Critical Technologies (16 November 2021)
  5. Australia’s Long-Term Emissions Reduction Plan (26 October 2021)
  6. University Research Commercialisation Scheme (Consultation paper 25 February 2021)

While none of the current NCRIS funded projects, such as TERN, is specifically referenced in the draft Roadmap, the long-term monitoring work TERN undertakes is covered. It ismostly captured on page 35 of the draft Roadmap under Challenge 3.7: Environment and Climate with the related government priority frameworks being captured in items 2 and 3 (bold type) of the government documents listed above.

There is now an opportunity for organisations and individuals to comment on the draft Roadmap using an online form that has six questions and a 300 word limit per question.  To act as a resource for those who might be time challenged at this time of year but still keen to give feedback on the document, TERN will put some summary points taken from the draft Roadmap onto its webpage under the Resources tab by Tuesday 7 December. These summary points will relate to content in the draft Roadmap that seem to align with each of the five questions (the sixth question just asks for any other comments). TERN’s summary points may be useful to anyone in our community who is planning to submit a response.  All submissions, using the online form, must reach the Department of Education, Skills and Employment by 5pm AEDT on Wednesday 22 December.

On a different topic, TERN is delighted to offer congratulations to Dr Siddeswara Guru on his election earlier this month to the International Long Term Research (ILTER) network as co-chair of the Information Management Committee.  This is great international recognition for both TERN and Guru. In TERN, Guru leads the Data Services and Analytics platform and has been involved with the ILTER Information Management Committee over some years.  ILTER is a network of 39 member networks, encompassing more than 600 research and monitoring sites across the globe in a wide array of ecosystems that collectively contribute to our understanding of environmental change at the global level. Monitoring and research activities at ILTER sites spanning many countries create a wealth of valuable long-term data sets, and the network’s Information Management Committee focuses on their professional curation, data sharing and accessibility to encourage their re-use.

Guru will co-chair the Information Management Committee with Dr Kristin Vanderbilt (Florida International University, USA). In announcing the co-chairs, the ILTER Chairperson, Dr Hideaki Shibata, said that Guru and Kristin were already recognised in ILTER for their outstanding achievements, contributions, and further potential.

Guru has a strong background in research data management and development of data delivery mechanisms. He has worked across the hydrology, marine and terrestrial ecosystem domains to harvest and publish data for reuse. In TERN, Guru has oversight of managing open access ecosystem data via the TERN Data Portal, making accessible continental-scale gridded remote sensing; soil and landscape products; plot-based soil and vegetation surveillance monitoring data; aggregated government survey data; calibration and validation data for remote sensing; and time series flux tower, phenocam and acoustic monitoring sensor data. Among his current projects, Guru is project managing the development of a standardised data exchange system to support better access to and reuse of data from monitoring and surveillance projects across Australia so that there is a nationally federated repository to store and share environmental data between proponents, regulators and the community.

We hope you enjoy the diversity of stories in our newsletter this month – do have a look at them all.

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