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The keynote speaker at the launch of the Queensland node of HeSANDA.

Health Translation Queensland (HTQ) officially launched the Health Studies Australian National Data Asset (HeSANDA) Queensland node alongside QCIF on Monday, 23 October. 

The (HeSANDA) Queensland node is a statewide online catalogue that curates and stores research data metadata and enables the sharing of health research data generated by the Queensland research community.​ ​​It is one of nine nodes of HeSANDA, a national initiative of the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC).​     

More than 300 members from the health research community across Australia joined the launch event to celebrate and learn the how and why of sharing and reusing health research data. 

QCIF Director of Data Science Dr Dominique (Dom) Gorse, and co-lead for the HeSANDA Queensland node, said the launch signifies a pivotal milestone in the quest to enhance accessibility to sensitive health data for research.  

“The foundation for data discoverability and access request management has been laid, opening doors to the next phase of our journey,” said Dom.  

“In the coming years, we aim to further strengthen our capabilities for clinical trials, broaden our approach to encompass various health study types, and introduce innovative features, including secure analysis environments.” 

QCIF CEO Sach Jayasinghe said: “The potential of health research data to inform future care and community wellbeing is vast, especially considering the advances in computing and applied AI in interrogating big data sets.  

“Initiatives such as HeSANDA are paramount as the existence of data is insufficient, it needs to be discoverable and curated to actually be of use,” said Sach.      

QCIF Senior Health Informatician Kathy Dallest, who spoke at the launch, said the HeSANDA Queensland node makes sharing data easy for researchers and supports alignment with the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) principles.  

“Our customised metadata repository ‘Dataverse’ mints a DOI [Digital Object Identifier] for a research data set and uses other globally unique and persistent identifiers and standards, preserving a data set over time,” said Kathy.  

“Researchers keep and maintain control of their data sets, with their metadata enabling collaboration and cooperation across a global community.” 

HTQ Executive Director Professor John Prins said: “The Queensland node better equips and empowers Queensland’s health research community by facilitating the access, sharing and reuse of data, ultimately advancing research efforts and improving health outcomes. 

“We encourage Queensland researchers to start sharing information about their health research data via the Queensland node, making it discoverable through the node and Health Data Australia which means streamlining efforts, aligning approaches and building national data sharing capability,” said Professor Prins. 

HTQ, with its 13 partner organisations bringing together universities, research institutes and health services, plays a vital role in driving collaboration across disciplines and institutions. 

“The HeSANDA initiative and our Queensland node are a prime example of such collaboration in the field of health data science which is an emerging discipline of enormous value,” said Professor Prins. 

Keynote speaker

The keynote speaker at the Queensland node launch, Professor Andrew Morris, Director at Health Data Research UK, provided valuable insights into how his organisation established an integrated systematic approach to building health research data infrastructure in the UK, gearing an entire country towards health data science. 

At the event he encouraged the research community to be “bold and ambitious” as “digitisation is here to stay” – as he pointed to the importance of collaboration, coordination and connectivity when it comes to health data by quoting a Wall Street Journal headline “The new Einsteins will be scientists who share”. 

“The opportunity now is to collaborate at scale, to forge a convergence of [clinical] care and research by creating real-time intelligence across the entire population of Queensland. I think you’ve got the people, the skills, and the vision to achieve that,” said Professor Morris. 

The Queensland node is one of the nine nodes across Australia that feed data into Health Data Australia, the national health research data catalogue that makes sharing and requesting access to data from health studies easier. 

This Queensland node was collaboratively designed by Health Translation Queensland in collaboration with QCIF, CSIRO’s Australian e-Health Research Centre, ARDC and other Queensland partners.  

The Queensland node received investment from the ARDC, which is funded by the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). 

This article is largely based on one published by HTQ on 26 October 2023. Photo above courtesy of HTQ.

More information 

Learn more about HeSANDA’s Queensland node or the HeSANDA initiative

View the presentations from the Queensland node launch event.