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Innovation Spotlight: Melbourne Data Analytics Platform

The Melbourne Data Analytics Platform
(MDAP) is a team of research data and academic specialists located on Level 8 of Melbourne Connect. Working with researchers and partners at all stages of the research lifecycle, MDAP experts are uniquely placed to offer a range of support with data and computational needs to projects across the University.

We caught up with MDAP Director, Associate Professor Nic Geard to learn a little more about the team behind MDAP and the work they do.

1. How and why was Melbourne Data Analytics Platform (MDAP) created?

MDAP was established in 2019 as part of the Petascale Campus Initiative to accelerate the University’s capacity for data-intensive research. While the immediate focus of the Petascale Campus was on computing infrastructure, it was clear that the long-term sustainability of research at the University also required excellent support staff. MDAP was designed to attract and retain an exceptional team of academic specialists with expertise in data analytics and stewardship.

2. What is the mission of MDAP and how does MDAP’s work fit into the broader Computer Science industry?

MDAP’s mission is to build and sustain a workforce that enables research impact using computational and data skills across all disciplines. MDAP works with researchers at the University in a variety of ways, including research collaboration, community building, and education. Working with MDAP provides researchers with access to cutting-edge computational and data expertise, enabling them to drive their research in new and exciting directions and develop their own digital capabilities and skills.

As the volume and diversity of data increase, there is growing global recognition of the importance of digitally skilled researchers and professionals. MDAP supports research and skills development across a wide range of disciplines, including basic and applied medical research, digital humanities, arts, sciences, and engineering.

3. Could you please tell us who the team is behind MDAP and a bit about their expertise?

MDAP’s 20 research data specialists come from a diverse range of academic and professional backgrounds and experiences, offering skills relevant to all stages of the research lifecycle. MDAP supports researchers with the collection, management, and stewardship of data, as well as expertise in a broad range of methods for data analysis, visualisation, and communication.

MDAP’s model of collaboration is team-based, providing researchers with a valuable interdisciplinary perspective on their research and data. Testimonials from past collaborations highlight how working with MDAP has profoundly shaped their approach to research.