Sensitive Data

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Sensitive Data

QCIF offers a range of services for sensitive data management to research staff and HDR students from QCIF Member institutions, including:

  • Training for teams and larger groups through structured workshops 
  • Guidance in the preparation of Data Management Plans 
  • Database and registry design services 
  • Guidance in the preparation of Test Plans, and assistance in the testing process 
  • REDCap design services 
  • XNAT 
  • Secure eResearch Platform (SeRP) solutions (see the SeRP section below). 

Project support

QCIF provides consultation and support services for clinical projects to ensure results are consistent and repeatable, including design, evaluation of project documentation, data management planning and testing.

QCIF can work in partnership with researchers to determine the most suitable methods for sensitive data capture, storage and analysis; or as a contractor to deliver specific project requirements.

Engaging QCIF adds sensitive data expertise to the project team, to meet data management requirements for grant applications.

Planning and design

QCIF provides expertise in the design, development and maintenance of clinical project databases and registries.

Before embarking on any project involving data, especially sensitive data, it is important to understand the mechanisms and limitations of data capture solutions.

Well-designed databases will ensure that the data is captured with minimum effort by participants and meets the goals of the research.

QCIF can lead, contribute to, or guide the development of essential sensitive data planning.

Key deliverables for all projects include data management and test plans, which can ensure that data errors or exposure are minimised.


REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is a secure web application for building and managing clinical registries, online surveys and databases.

With REDCap, users can collect virtually any type of data in any environment including compliance with international regulations, such as 21 CFR Part 11, FISMA, HIPAA, and GDPR.

Using REDCap enables clinical data capture to be standardised and repeatable, leading to more robust analysis.

QCIF provides REDCap design and evaluation services, ranging from initial design consultation, through to survey and data capture form development, and testing. Project-specific Application Programming Interface (API) development is also available. Contact QCIF Senior Health Informatician Mark Hoffmann for assistance with REDCap:

QCIF also runs REDCap training for researchers, from beginner to advanced workshops. QCIF workshops are free for research staff and HDR students from Member institutions. See our Training Courses webpage for more information.

Australian Imaging Service

The Australian Imaging Service (AIS) is an ARDC-funded project, led by the University of Sydney, establishing a national imaging platform.

AIS will be an innovative end-to-end platform integrating data captured directly from scientific instruments, data in clinical sites, and using containerised pipelines on both local high-performance computers and cloud, that solves significant and urgent data challenges for Australian researchers.

There has been rapid adoption of XNAT, a data management and informatics platform for imaging research by Australian researchers over the last few years. The AIS seeks to standardise and integrate deployments of the XNAT platform to create a distributed federation of enhanced XNATs.

This innovative federation will consist of multiple institutional deployments linked with a federated metadata search layer, common community practice, expanded data modalities, and a Trusted Tool Repository ensuring ongoing ownership and accountability of data.

The AIS platform will be accessible by a single sign-on through the Australian Access Federation.

AIS core features include:

  • Easier Deployment of XNAT 
    • Deployment across a range of infrastructures, and ability to be redeployed simply at other institutions. 
  • Federated Access 
    • Through sharing a common metadata model, data will be federated across the participating XNAT deployments. 
  • Pipelines and Integrations 
    • All pipelines and integrations are freely and easily available to all to deploy for themselves. 

The AIS project is expected to be completed in June 2022.

QCIF is a partner of the AIS project.

See the ARDC website for more information. 

Secure eResearch Platform (SeRP)

The Secure eResearch Platform (SeRP) is a Monash University-led sensitive data project that QCIF is involved in (see our news article about this project).

SeRP will be a national platform delivering a secure, trusted and scalable environment for sensitive data sharing, governance, control and management services for researchers.

It will ensure sensitive data remains both secure and meets FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) data principles.

QCIF is coordinating the adoption of SeRP in Queensland and will work with researchers from The University of Queensland and UQ’s Research Computing Centre to deploy and customise the platform.

QCIF is currently taking expressions of interest from:

  • data custodians looking for a safe storage platform for data that can be used in future research 
  • researchers looking for a secure data analysis portal with pre-installed analytics software  
  • faculties and research centres looking to improve the management of their research data and outputs. 

SeRP is currently in development, with an initial tranche of deployments due by the end of 2021, and onboarding of research projects starting in 2022.

For more information about SeRP, please contact Dr Dominique Gorse: