Introducing the Characterisation Data enhanced Virtual Laboratory

The NeCTAR-ANDS-RDS-funded Characterisation Data enhanced Virtual Laboratory (DeVL) project is an outcome of a strategy formulated by representatives of the characterisation community in 2017 to address some of its major challenges.

Characterisation has become a capability where informatics infrastructure, expertise and best practice is essential to turning data into new discoveries. With this in mind, in August 2017 a group comprised of representatives from Monash University, AMMRF, ANSTO and NIF, developed a strategy based on the outcomes of a series of open Characterisation Informatics workshops involving stakeholders from AMMRF, ANDS, ANSTO, BPA, Nectar, NIF, RDS, Monash University, the Universities of Melbourne, NSW, Queensland, Wollongong, WA, Sydney, and Agilent and NVIDIA.

Funded by National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (Nectar), Australian National Data Service (ANDS) and project partners (listed below) the DeVL program will be implemented through a number of activities ranging across three major categories.


  • Extending rich online environments for characterisation in the cloud and on HPC platforms for specific areas (e.g. creating or extending domain specific CVL Workbenches, building toward a national fabric for Cryo-EM processing and data management, creating a prototype CVL Windows desktop)
  • Extending data processing workflows to cover a broader range of instruments (including Cryo-EM microscopes, electron microscopes, neutron and synchrotron beamlines)
  • Importing existing data processing workflows into CVL from the Australian Synchrotron
  • Augmenting an existing data management environment to publish and provide DOIs for data and connect data seamlessly to the CVL for processing
  • Working towards establishing Trusted Data Repositories


  • Making characterisation digital objects more Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR)
  • Training workshops delivered Australia-wide
  • Network engagement across Australian characterisation facilities to raise the awareness of FAIR and access to resources


  • Develop community efforts to increase application and adoption of FAIR principles
  • Coordinate across Australia to provide leadership and organisation
    Develop commitment by data producers, in partnership with research communities and tools developers to increase uptake of FAIR principles
  • Develop a national training network and program of work to uplift data skills across characterisation users
  • Organise a national network of characterisation informatics experts with expertise in research software engineering, and specialist skills in specific modalities, as part of an overarching Australian characterisation experts network

Project partners and collaborators

For more information on the DeVL project go to the Projects page.