Month-long visit of ELIXIR team to Australia

The ELIXIR team who travelled to Australia. Second left to right: Björn Grüning, Frederik Coppens, Paul De Geest, Katharina Heil, Helge Hecht, Laila Los, Helena Rasche, Saskia Hiltemann, Anthony Bretaudeau , Marie Josse, Krzysztof Poterlowicz, Katarzyna Kamieniecka and Alireza Heidari (missing, Wendy Bacon).


Over the summer, a team of 14 ELIXIR experts visited Australia for a month to coincide with the Galaxy Community Conference (GCC2023), hosted by ELIXIR collaborators, the Australian BioCommons. The opportunity of the GCC2003 brought Australian BioCommons partners, normally widely dispersed across the country, to a single location, and the presence of ELIXIR experts brought a European perspective to the global meeting.

On the technical level, the aims of the visit were to strengthen Galaxy system administration capacity in both Australia and Europe, share technical expertise to decrease the environmental impact of Galaxy, extend and improve the Galaxy training network, investigate the feasibility of running Pulsar as a global distributed compute network, and extend RO-Crate integration into Galaxy.

The strategic and scientific aims of the visit were to integrate biodiversity tools and workflows into Galaxy and the ELIXIR Research Software Ecosystem, align ELIXIR and European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) efforts (including EuroScienceGateway) with the plans of the Australian Biocommons, and deepen working relationships and connections between ELIXIR and the Australian BioCommons.

The ELIXIR team included software developers, system administrators and service administrators, along with the ELIXIR Belgium Head of Node (Frederik Coppens) and the ELIXIR Programme Manager Communities and Training (Katharina Heil). Funding was provided by the ELIXIR Travel Grant Scheme.

In addition to contributing to GCC2023, the ELIXIR representatives attended the Galaxy Community CoFest, ran three in-person Galaxy  trainings for the Australasia community and visited Australian BioCommons partner institutions. The interactions enabled in-depth sharing of technical learnings and best practices, and provided an opportunity for strategic discussions on the newly renewed ELIXIR-Australian BioCommons collaboration agreement.

Katharina Heil and Frederick Coppens, as senior ELIXIR representatives, held discussions with representatives of the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme (NCRIS), who fund Australian BioCommons. They also met with leaders from one of Australia’s two supercomputing centres, the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), and featured in a webinar hosted by the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC).

Björn Grüning, co-lead of ELIXIR Galaxy Community said “The sustainability of open source projects is dependent on collaborations and diverse contributions. Having the opportunity to work with the Australian Galaxy community across the continent has led to new ideas, projects and friendships that will have a long lasting impact on the overall global project. It's incredible how much we have learned from each other during the stay.”

Dr Gareth Price, Project Lead for the Australian BioCommons’ Galaxy Australia service commented “The long visit enabled fantastic exchanges between our team and ELIXIR international colleagues. Everyone is now energised and motivated to keep improving Galaxy Australia and strengthen our collaborations internationally.”

Find out more

Contacts: ELIXIR (corinne.martin [at] (Corinne Martin)), Australian Biocommons (christina [at] (Christina Hall))

Thu 7 September 2023