Petascale Campus Initiative

The Petascale Campus Initiative (PCI) is a five year plan to accelerate the University's capacity for data-intensive research over 2018 to 2022. The PCI is ensuring all our researchers have the tools and resources to produce world-class research.

The Petascale Campus Initiative (PCI) is a five year plan to accelerate the University's capacity for data-intensive research over 2018 to 2022.

The PCI Project team, led by Senior Academic Convenor Prof Andrew Turpin, is now implementing a program of activity including engaging with academic divisions to establish processes to ensure researchers’ needs are fully expressed when prioritising infrastructure and servicing requests.

This team is working to ensure our researchers, students and collaborators have the necessary tools and resources now and in the future to keep us at the leading edge of research in this exciting, fast-paced era of data science.

The PCI is structured to support our researcher-led vision: embedding a process of continual consideration, development and resourcing for both our digital science infrastructure and the academic specialists who will help us maximise our use of that infrastructure.

Our challenges

  1. build the necessary infrastructure and services for a digitally-enabled research campus
  2. future-proof its operations and resources
  3. create a community of software practitioners and domain experts to support data-intensive research
  4. streamline research data management.

Our process

PCI process v2

Our people

PCI PROJECT TEAM (Based in Chancellery)

Prof Liz Sonenberg,
DVC/R delegate and Chancellery Project sponsor
Prof Andrew Turpin, Senior Academic Convenor
Mr Rowland Mosbergen,
Project Facilitator
Dr Rebecca Farrington, Academic Convenor, Physical and Natural Sciences
Associate Prof Paul Gruba, Academic Convenor, Humanities and Social Sciences
Associate Prof Douglas Boyle, Academic Convenor, Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
Ms Jo Condon, Communications Specialist 
Dr Helena Lynn, Program Manager, Research Data Management
Dr Kimberley D'Costa, Program Officer, Research Data Management 
Dr Jonathan Schlossberg, Program Officer, Research Data Management


Dr Stephen Giugni,
Associate Director, Research Platform Services
Dr Lyle Winton, Manager, Digital Scholarship
Enterprise Architecture team
led by Mr Sean Turner
Mr Alan Palser
, Senior Program Manager
Mr Simran Singh, Project Manager

MELBOURNE DATA ANALYTICS PLATFORM Our team of experts in data analytics


PCI Committee
The plans and activities of the PCI Project will be approved through the PCI Committee, chaired by Prof Liz Sonenberg, DVC/R delegate and Chancellery Project sponsor

Digital Research Platforms (DRP) Committee
The DRP is a representative committee where all members represent a Faculty or a major research support unit provider, chaired by Prof Rachel Webster, School of Physics

Infrastructure Updates

To enable the PCI's academic-led process to manage academic engagement around research infrastructure spending, a Canvas (Learning Management System) Community group has been launched.

Through a single sign-on, researchers, research managers and colleagues can engage in and share this process with stakeholders across the University.

There’s a Module for the 2019 spend and another inviting comments for 2020 plans. It's envisaged that each new live ‘discussion’ will be announced as open and, depending on the level of investment (connection to the project and/or size of the spend), there might be a time-limited period for discussion, a request to get volunteers to contribute to trials, a referral to a Committee, or a reassurance through the PCI Team’s assessment that this is business as usual. In all cases, the PCI Team will oversee this engagement and ensure the work is done and achieves the desired impact.

PCI Canvas

LINK HERE to join the Community.


March 2020 update - at a planning day for the team in February, we took stock of our achievements and challenges in 2019. Here is our account, listed under our three priority areas: Leadership, Workforce and Infrastructure.

November 2019 update - includes details of new positions now advertised for the Melbourne Data Analytics Platform, successful projects allocated MDAP support through the expression of interest round and infrastructure spending processes.

In 2019 access to National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) access has been available to University of Melbourne researchers through a LIEF grant. August 30 is the due date for Q4 allocations. Half year update here.

2 August 2019: July update - announcing the new Melbourne Data Analytics Platform, welcoming new team members, updating on infrastructure progress ...

15 March 2019: Today's news update includes further developments across infrastructure, leadership and workforce building.

18 January 2019: Year 2: Call for Expressions of Interest from Software Engineers, Data Scientists, Informaticians, Data Stewards, Data Visualisation experts, Simulation & Modelling experts, Data Curators or Generalists expert in supporting data-intensive research.

9 November 2018: Year 1: Building our Petascale Campus, how the University is delivering on its five year plan to uplift informatics, data and compute capabilities for research.

Work to date


  • On 6 December, MDAP was acknowledged in a media release from the Indigenous Data Network and the Kaiela Institute as one member of the inaugural indigenous data governance working group meeting held in Shepparton in late November. This group will help establish a coordinated national framework for the governance of data generated by and about Indigenous Australians during the past >50,000 years and into the future. Full details.
  • As at end November, the new PCI Canvas Community site has been updated with progress on each of the infrastructure expenditures and activities for 2019. All welcome to view and comment. Refer Infrastructure Updates above.
  • On Monday 2 September the new Melbourne Data Analytics Platform (MDAP) launched with the opening of its first round of Expressions of Interest to work with the team of experts on longer-term collaborative research projects (three months +). The aim of MDAP is to support data-intensive research, increase the capability of research teams to perform such research across every discipline in the University, and to connect already existing capabilities to form a community of practice for data-intensive research methods. MDAP offers a dedicated team of academic specialists with expertise in data science, data stewardship, research software engineering and high-performance computing. As academics, MDAP staff will work closely with researchers and academics on collaborative projects to produce high impact research. Applications closed on 22 September.
  • In June Dr Helena Lynn joined Prof Turpin for a three year appointment to review Research Data Management at the University. Helena’s PhD was in Molecular Virology: Utilising advanced microscopy techniques to elucidate the role of the microtubule cytoskeleton in poxvirus replication and pathogenesis. In the past three years she has been engaged in USyd’s strategic planning, coming to that work from a digital research role in the Sydney Informatics Hub.
  • Following a call for Expressions of Interest to join the PCI 'On Ramp' in January, a comprehensive selection process led to eight new internal appointments (as mostly 0.5FTE secondments). Onboarding followed and already the team has been consulting widely as it builds its community and networks.
  • New compute hardware and cloud capacity has gone live and a new dashboard for launching cloud computing has been released by Research Platform Services and University Services and the PCI Team delivered an update on existing in-house compute systems and plans to upgrade them - in consultation with University expert groups - for the first half of 2019.
  • A light-touch process to allocated resources on the University account on NCI has been facilitated though the PCI Team.


  • The PCI Strategy was endorsed by University Executive, including $500K from Chancellery to progress the initiative and plan for and implement the On Ramp; establish the PCI Project team with Senior Academic Convenor, Academic Convenors and Project Facilitator appointments made.
  • Large-scale Computing and Research Data expert groups were formed.
  • A University-wide engagement, planning and prioritisation framework was established in conjunction with University Services.
  • Team members consulted widely with researchers to identify the University’s existing 'On Ramp' workforce and plans for further supporting and developing their work.
  • The University Services and PCI teams worked to finalise a 'Services Map' to establish a framework from which to prioritise resources for researchers.
  • The PCI team sought and obtained co-investments from most Faculties for submissions to the October Planning and Budget Conference for both capital expenditure for hardware resources and building the On Ramp.
  • The PCI team developed a draft of the On Ramp Implementation Plan for building research software engineering, data management and data science expertise to support digital research.
  • Engagement across all Faculties and University Services divisions continued to inform the PCI roll-out, ensuring that the consultations on new project proposals continue to be comprehensive and inclusive.
  • An evaluation framework for the PCI project, detailing three specific domains: Infrastructure, Workforce and Leadership, was prepared for implementation from 2019.
  • Following review by the Digital Research Platforms Committee, the  On Ramp Implementation Plan was approved at the December meeting of the PCI Committee. Calls for expressions of interest in newly-created positions were announced in January 2019.
  • With the success of an ANU-led NCI LIEF grant to which UoM was a partner, the PCI team established a process to allocate our researchers' access to this valuable national compute resource.


  • The University's Capital Advisory Group recommended $7.25M be released for urgent infrastructure upgrades and improvements
  • The PCI was presented at the annual Planning and Budget Conference


The PCI Team and the Melbourne Data Analytics Platform are co-located at University of Melbourne offices at 21 Bedford Street.


Andrew Turpin
Senior Academic Convenor

Rowland Mosbergen
Project Facilitator
+61 (3) 8344 6623

Helen van de Pol
Communications Lead
+61 (0) 448 920 235

Engage with us

We welcome input from all University researchers, students and collaborators.


“Increasingly, scientific breakthroughs will be powered by advanced computing capabilities that help researchers manipulate and explore massive datasets. The speed at which any given scientific discipline advances will depend on how well its researchers collaborate with one another, and with technologists, in areas of eScience such as databases, workflow management, visualization, and cloud-computing technologies.”

Back cover, The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery, T. Hey, S. Tansley, and K. Tolle, Eds., Redmond, VA: Microsoft Research, 2009