COVID-19 eResearch Experiences and Collaborations in Australasia and Southeast Asia – The Second BOF/FGD on Upskilling Support for Pandemic Response, Preparedness and Recovery at the Data Science Xchange Conference,
coordinated by Perdana University (Malaysia), 1st Dec 2020


Dr Markus Buchhorn 1, Rowland Mosbergen 2,3, Dr Idris F. Sulaiman 3

1Asia Pacific Advanced Network, 2Walter Eliza Institute (WEHA), 3eResearch Support for South East Asia (eResSEA) Group initated by Australasian eResearch Organisations (AeRO) and APAN


Australia and New Zealand are starting to recover and yet most of the rest of the world is still in the grip of the virus. With the news that a coronavirus vaccine may be starting to be distributed from early to mid 2021, there is a growing hope that the direction and the dynamics of COVID-19 crisis could fundamentally be changing. The ability to weather a crisis of this magnitude in Southeast Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region depends upon partnerships and collaborations around research capacity and infrastructure, public health system capacity, economic, social and many other aspects.

We held the previous “Birds of a Feather” (BOF1) discussion at AeRO’s eResearch Conference. It attracted a wide variety of participants and we had lively discussion where participants suggested additional topics of interest to the initial list that was compiled prior to the event. The BOF1 followed a Keynote and two Oral Presentations coordinated for the day by C19eR at the Conference (20 October 2020). For the four events, we had a total of over 270 people participants. Similarly, at the Fifth International Conference and Exhibition (virtual) of the Indonesian Medical Education and Research Institute (ICE-IMERI, 9-10 November 2020), we participated in a number of workshops and obtained some additional topics that were raised by researchers. It follows that for the second BOF, we have a wider range of topics that we can discuss. We hope that there might be able to attract interest in these topics and invite speakers to make short presentations on selected topics as basis for guided discussions and networking


The aim for the second BOF (BOF2) is to further explore these trends by engaging participants as well as to develop potential activities that centre on the acceleration of upskilling, access to e-research infrastructure and data sharing capabilities for the region. The ultimate objective remains to help address inequities in medical research capability and capacity by leveraging opportunities with the Australasian research infrastructure providers and the wider research community.


(a) Prior to BOF1

  • Extent of recognition that sharing data is important and worthwhile.

  • Requirements for greater capacity in computational infrastructure and associated support.

  • Recognition that local community-led infrastructure development is important.

(b) Discussed at BOF1

  • Designing vaccines through High Performance Computing and “big data” techniques.

  • Framework for Research Data Management (RDM) and Community of Practice (CoP) Development.

  • Data Sharing Standards (such as Research Data Alliance COVID-19 Data Sharing Guidelines & Recomm’s).

  • Role of Identity and Federated Access Management.

(c) New Topics Raised at BOF1

  • Role of computational research infrastructure in COVID-19 related research and more specifically in medical or bioinformatics research – comparing in-house infrastructure/service and cloud services.

  • Concerns of ensuring data security and data privacy and related standards/data assurance.

  • Regulation and policies on COVID-19 information across borders and Bioinformatics workforce development.

  • Women in Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) and High Performance Computing (HPC).

Call for Presentation Abstracts for BOF2 (1st December 2020 at the DSxConference 2020)

The BOF2 has been held based on the participants requests at BOF1. We are pleased to announce that we have been given the opportunity to hold BOF2 at the DSxConference (click here for the Conference time table). As such we would like to invite you to submit abstracts covering any of the above topics of which 4 will be selected for this BOF2, the remainder will be considered for follow-up BOF’s in February 2021.

The deadline for the abstracts for a short presentation is 28 November 2020.

Proposed BOF2 Agenda

1-3 pm IDWT, ICT / 2-4 pm MST, PHT, SGT / 5-7 pm AEDT / 7-8 pm NZDT

  • Presentations (4 selected topics with 10 minutes presentations and Q&A 5 minutes discussions)

  • A Wrap-up Talk as backgrounder (5 minutes).

  • Round Table for next steps (20 minutes).

  • Breakout for Possible Follow-up Activities and/or Informal Networking (20 minutes).

For further information kindly email: