Associate Director, Research Technology, University of Sydney
Andrew started with RDA as an academic in an infrastructure centre working on MRI PET CT at the University of Sydney. At the time, he was also working with the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC), which had connections with RDA. Initially, he gave a presentation with the Active Data Management IG, during which he was introduced to the Persistent Identification of Instruments WG; this had a practical relevance to the work he was doing at that point. He decided to join the group and was subsequently invited to be a chair. This was very much of interest to him in at the Australian National Imaging Facility, where he was then based, as the team there were facing challenges around Instrument Identifiers for MRI PET CT. It was like the moons and stars had aligned! He joined as a chair, with the other co-chairs located in Germany, the UK and Italy. It worked pretty well despite the time zones - that's just life in Australia!
We asked Andrew to describe the value of RDA for him: 'What's valuable about RDA is that it's a good place to broaden your horizons. I now work in a professional role at an institution, but as an academic at the time, you would go to conferences in your own area that give a local view of what the problems are around Instrument Identifiers specific to your field. RDA allowed me to be in a room with other people, even virtually, who have the same problem in very different fields; very quickly you learn that you are all wasting time to solve the same problem individually. That meant that me as a medical imaging professional collaborating with someone in oceanography, and someone else working on sonar measurements - all having the same problem. It can be challenging to obtain funding to travel for conferences, but RDA makes virtual attendance very easy and I continue to attend remotely because it allows for a broad and very quick overview of all the experts across fields. This is great for someone in Australia, who doesn't get to go to many conferences, with most distances being a 24 hour flight.'