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Excellence in Research Support Submissions 2021

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Note: Submissions where the nominees are not aware of the nomination are not listed.

Research Ethics Processes and Systems (REPS) – Transforming the Future of Ethics

The University of Melbourne

In 2020, the Research Ethics Processes and Systems (REPS) Program delivered a University wide initiative to transform and rejuvenate the way the University manages Human and Animal Ethics. With researchers and the welfare of human and animal research participants at the heart of the initiative, the University streamlined and improved the business processes for ethics review, supported by the implementation of a new state-of-the-art research ethics management system and introduced a new shared service model to drive operational and approval efficiencies. REPS was one of the largest transformation programs at the University in 2020 and was successfully rolled out across the University to more than 10,000 researchers and research support staff for Animal and Human Ethics. The program has helped improve ethics application quality and approval efficiency, strengthen compliance, provide a user friendly and efficient ethics management system and a robust scalable service that supports growth and promotes consistency and collaboration across the University.

MS Transcription Automation

Griffith University


Audio interviews between university researchers and research participants are usually transcribed before they can be analysed for research papers, policy development or service innovation. Manual transcription can be costly and not always fully secure which is why Griffith University has developed a Microsoft Azure based service for fast, secure transcription at a fraction of the cost of existing manual services being used. The Team initially worked with health researchers to ensure the new service was developed with sensitive data in mind. The service is now available to all Griffith researchers and a new environment can be deployed within a matter of minutes. 

Data Mover for High-throughput Research Instrument Platforms

The University of Melbourne

To develop and deliver a new capability (Data Mover tool and data dispatch framework) that enables over 140 University research instrument platforms and their researchers to easily and securely: 1) upload data to a centrally managed storage space and 2) deliver data to end users (both internal and external to the University). It also enhances collaboration by providing easy sharing of, and contributions to, data collections. The Data Mover is especially built to handle data collections that are: large volume (managing tens or hundreds of TB, or more); high velocity (transferring tens of TB of data a day on average); great variety (capable of any type of data, both structure and unstructured). The urgency of a capable transfer mechanism was highlighted in an 'Instrument Needs Analysis' undertaken in 2017 (and a subsequent updated discovery review in 2019) that identified patterns and features commonly expressed by many University researchers and their collaborators. 

Automated Field of Research Classifier

University of Newcastle

Every three years, Australian Higher Education institutions are required to report research outputs under an evaluation framework known as Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA). This activity requires substantial investment of time from researchers and support staff to collate research outputs and assign corresponding Fields of Research (FoR) codes. At the University of Newcastle, it is estimated that 2,500 hours of effort are consumed per ERA cycle. To help drive greater process efficiency, data quality and consistency, the IT Services and Research &
Innovation teams at the University of Newcastle partnered with Intellify, AWS and Intel to develop an innovative prototype solution to automatically predict the most appropriate FoR codes for a given research output. Leveraging leading-edge Machine Learning technology, this new data model and pipeline solution enables the University to reduce operational cost through automation, increase consistency in research output classification and obtain timely visibility of its research outputs. 

Research Hour

Western Sydney University

Western Sydney University

Research Hour is designed to support the building of a dynamic, cross-discipline and engaged community of researchers across Western Sydney University. Offered once a month as an informal hour-long virtual drop-in session, it is a combined initiative supported and hosted by WSU’s Information Technology and Digital Services (ITDS), Research Services and Library plus external company Intersect. Everyone is welcome from undergraduates and high degree research (HDR) students through to early and mid-career researchers and beyond. Sessions are also open to all disciplines, with every participant able to ask questions and share ideas. Unlike similar ‘Hacky Hour’ initiatives that tend to focus only on IT or coding, Research Hour brings together diverse expertise and allows participants to gain a more holistic overview of university research techniques, methods and skills. It is an evolving initiative that assists researchers and also opens the eyes of students to the research learning life cycle.

Researcher Hub

UNSW Sydney


The “Researcher Hub” ( offers a “one-stop shop” to enable the discovery of services across the campus for researchers and academic staff, a portal with streamlined User interface to allow easy navigation, a database of all services available to researchers and academic staff, mapping of services according to researcher career stage and research roles, and a group of prioritised services to orient newly hired researchers as part of their onboarding. This initiative unifies UNSW researchers on a single, new and modern platform with better digital experience and modern digital workplace by consolidating all internal resources and information to create a single source of truth. There is a focus on efficient processes by digitising paper-based and manual tasks, maximizing the use of our enterprise tools, in particular the Office 365 suite by making familiar tools and tasks easier to access and use as well as using smart technologies to detect user roles to customise home page. This portal helps the researcher along their end-to-end journey at UNSW. 

Digital Thesis Module

UNSW Sydney


The Digital Thesis Module is the latest addition to the UNSW Graduate Research Information Systems(GRIS), a web-based solution to manage Higher Degree Research(HDR) candidate journey from admissions to the completion of research work. UNSW IT in collaboration with Graduate Research School has digitised Examinations including Oral examination component in alignment with UNSW governance policy and procedures through the Digital Thesis Module. It includes end to end management of student experience in their HDR journey. It manages all approvals, thesis review, scheduling and finalising grades. Thesis examination is a core assessment which includes the processes for preparation, submission and review of the thesis component required for all HDR programs. The digitisation of oral and non oral thesis examination has enabled UNSW to eliminate costs associated with manual tasks of thesis printing and postage of thesis submissions. It also eliminates data integrity issues by implementing end to end automated workflow process.