The AuScope Virtual Research Environment (AVRE): A Platform for Open, Service-Oriented Science to ‘Understand the Earth’

Ryan  Fraser2, Dr Tim Rawling3, Dr Lesley Wyborn1, Dr Carsten Friedrich4, Dr Ben Evans1, Associate Professor Meghan Miller5, Professor  Brent McInnes6, Professor Louis  Moresi5, Dr Carsten Laukamp2, Nicholas Brown7

1NCI, ANU, Canberra, Australia
2Mineral Resources, Perth, Australia
3AuScope Limited, Melbourne, Australia
4Data 61, Canberra, Australia
5Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU, Canberra, Australia
6Curtin University, Bentley, Australia
7Geoscience Australia, Canberra, Australia


Since 2006, NCRIS projects (AuScope, NCI, ANDS, Nectar, RDS), and Government Agencies (GA, State/Territory Geological Surveys) have collaborated on building a suite of data portals, tools, software and virtual laboratories to support a diverse community of Earth scientists operating on a range of computational facilities including HPC, cloud, on-premise servers and desktops.

The 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap noted that, to secure global leadership for the Earth Sciences over the next decade, Australia must now “enhance integration of existing data and mathematical modelling across large geographical areas to establish the next generation of ‘inward looking telescopes’ to better understand the evolution Earth’s crust and the resources contained within it”.

in 2017 the AuScope Virtual Research Environment (AVRE) was launched to support this new ambition, through enabling FAIR access to valuable academic research data collections and software, and improving coordination of existing national infrastructures. The aspiration was to realise a service-oriented science platform that will empower data assimilation and modelling across three networks: geophysics, geochemistry and geology.

AVRE cannot operate in isolation within the Australian Earth science community and will seek to ensure it can link to, and interoperate with data and services from other national NCRIS  research infrastructure initiatives (ARDC, NCI, TERN, IMOS, etc.). AVRE will also undertake a coordinated approach to optimising international partnerships and strategic collaborations in equivalent eResearch infrastructures globally. The end goal is to ensure Australian Earth science data and analytics can play a leadership role in next-generation transdisciplinary research to more comprehensively ‘Understand the Earth’.


Ryan Fraser is now Program Leader for the AuScope Virtual Research Environments and has a long history with the former AuScope Grid program. He also lead the development of many collaborative eResearch projects with NeCTAR, ANDS and RDS, including the Virtual Geophysics Laboratory and the AuScope Scientific Software Solutions Centre.

Within CSIRO he is a skilled Portfolio Manager, with over 15 years of experience working in R&D, commercialisation of products and delivery to both government and industry using agile methodologies. Ryan has lead large, complex technology projects, managing sizeable software and interdisciplinary teams. His key focus is developing and fostering highly collaborative teams to deliver programs of work and continually grow capability to embark on future work

Ryan possesses specialist knowledge in decision science, data analytics, spatial information infrastructures, Disaster Management and Emergency Response, Cloud Computing, Data Management, and Interoperability and have extensive experience in managing and successfully delivering programs.


AeRO is the industry association focused on eResearch in Australasia. We play a critical coordination role for our members, who are actively transforming research via Information Technology. Organisations join AeRO to advance their own capabilities and services, to collaborate and to network with peers. AeRO believes researchers and the sector significantly benefit from greater communication, coordination and sharing among the increasingly different and evolving service providers.

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