Few months ago, on the first days of November, I had the chance to visit Australia as part a European Union Delegation on Research Infrastructure representing the agINFRA project. The visit aimed to strengthen the collaboration between EU and Australia, compare different approaches in research infrastructure and establish or extent bilateral contacts and cooperation arrangements between the initiatives on subjects of world-wide interest.
The delegation was composed of representatives from funding authorities, stakeholder organisations and key Research Infrastructure initiatives covering diverse – but related – fields and was led by Octavi Quintana-Trias, the director of European Research Area (DG Research and Innovation, EC), which a pleasure and an honor to meet.
The visit was divided into three sections: the 3rd EU-Australia Workshop on Research Infrastructures held in Canberra (this is the capital of Australia for those, like me, who didn’t know about it), a workshop on big and complex data and a visit to high end infrastructures in the university of Monash both in Melbourne (ah Melbourne!).
The two-day workshop on research infrastructures focused on three subjects: healthy ageing, clean energy and sustainable cities which was the one I followed. It was very strange and very interesting to see how different initiatives have managed to resolve a number of issues and provide users with specific results and try to compare with the agriculture field and get more ideas for the agINFRA project.The most funny thing was that the workshop was interrupted in order for everyone to watch the Melbourne cup the most famous horse race in Australia and more than just a national event! During the evening, an official reception took place at the National Gallery of Australia.
The second event was the one-day workshop on Big and Complex Data, a workshop regarding the growth of data and actions that could be taken by the EU and AU to support the research infrastructure for big data, especially under the RD-A umbrella. That night a reception hosted by The Consul General of Greece in Melbourne took place at the Hellenic Museum(!!!!!).
Generally the only I have to say about the trip, the places, the people is “Incredible Experience!”( even though at the end I didn’t see any kangaroos).