Biocuration: How to make your data F.A.I.R to amplify innovation and promote collaboration?

Ms Priyanka Pillai1, Mr Rowland Mosbergen1

1The University Of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia



The volume of data generated from health and biological sciences is growing exponentially. Currently there are limited ways to enable data discovery, retrieval and interoperability within and across domains in health and biological sciences. With increase in data availability, there is also a growing demand for high-throughput data analytics, visualisation, text mining and machine learning methods. Managing health and biological data requires a range of different activities right from understanding the provenance and context of data. Biocuration process aims to maximise the value of information and knowledge assets generated by researchers. In this workshop, we will start of with some presentations on existing biocuration practices both nationally and internationally and then breakout into group discussions on challenges, case studies and next steps. This workshop aims to build a proactive community of practice around biocuration to improve knowledge discovery, accessibility, aggregation and integration.

Category and activity: Collaboration and Engagement; Outreach, Training & Capability Development

Keywords: Data Curation, Biocuration, Metadata, Ontologies

Target audience: Anyone currently working with health and biosciences datasets or interested in learning about biocuration

Learning objectives:

  1. Improved understanding of existing biocuration practices both nationally and internationally
  2. Learn about commonalities in data practices across a range of biological and health domains.
  3. Understanding of existing pain-points in data discovery, interoperability and integration across different biological and health domains.
  4. Improved understanding of biocuration practices through case studies.

Workshop style: Interactive workshop with tabletop mapping of challenges, case studies to explore biocuration practices, group exercises and discussions.


Priyanka Pillai is a bioinformatician and a software programmer by training and works as a Research Data Steward in the Melbourne Data Analytics Platform (MDAP). Priyanka also works as a Health Informatics Specialist for the Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Disease Emergencies (APPRISE) Centre of Excellence based at the Doherty Institute. Priyanka’s role with MDAP supports the uplift of data management capabilities at the University and also involves collaborating with academics on data-intensive research like bioinformatics and machine learning. Her role as a health informatician for APPRISE CRE supports a geographically distributed network of data holders and researchers and provides strategic advice to facilitate national and international information sharing. Priyanka has also been involved with science mentoring programs at the University and is an advocate of inclusivity of women in science.


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.