What to expect from SIH assistance

Please request our services via our Request Assistance form.

What we offer

SIH offers University of Sydney academic staff free and co-funded services:

  • Training, consultancy and support for research data tools.
  • Short consultancy in data science, bioinformatics and high performance computing.
  • Longer 2-10 week projects in data analytics and related software development available free to researchers via a competitive access scheme.
  • Grant Support: In-kind and costed estimates for inclusion on grant applications, in consultation with our Research Informatics Manager and Informatics Services Lead.

SIH offers University of Sydney HDR (higher degree research) students free services:

  • Support for research data tools.
  • Short consultancy in statistics.
  • Short consultancy in high performance computing.
  • Short data science advice.
  • Training.

Responsibilities of the Client

As a client, you should:

  • Help us plan our work correctly by framing your request in terms of the research questions you are trying to answer, prioritising your needs, and making us aware of any concerns about data quality.
  • Ensure that University policies around ethics, data governance, research integrity, etc. are adhered to.
  • Recognise SIH contribution in publications (articles, software and datasets) resulting from our work:
    • through co-authorship when appropriate in accordance with the University’s Research Code of Conduct
    • through a statement of acknowledgement: “This research was supported by the Sydney Informatics Hub, funded by the University of Sydney.”
  • Agree to have SIH work on your project showcased in our portfolio unless you explicitly note confidentiality concerns to the contrary.
  • Provide SIH with details of research outcomes: publications, conferences, successful grants etc. proceeding from our assistance.
  • Be available and responsive towards completing the work with SIH, and notify us if you will have substantial unavailability in the project timeframe.
  • Respect our expertise, judgement and limited resources in case of conflict or time constraint.
  • Pay for SIH work if required.
  • Provide SIH with helpful feedback and testimonials.

Long Project Phases

An illustration of the Project Pipeline

  1. The researcher requests assistance.
  2. Initial Meeting
    • Your request is assigned to a project manager who will contact you to arrange a scoping meeting.
  3. Scope of works
    • A 2-3 page Scope of Works is prepared by the project manager in collaboration with the researcher.
    • The scope outlines a plan including broad tasks and deliverables, that can be completed in up to 10 weeks of data scientist / research engineer time.
  4. Merit and Impact Assessment
    • The scoping phase also captures the merit and potential impact of the project to help prioritise projects. See Selection Criteria below.
  5. Approval
    • Long projects will be considered by the SIH Projects Approval Panel (meets ~ monthly).
    • Short projects (1-2 days) may be scheduled without approval.
    • Project scopes specify the maximum number of weeks SIH staff will work on the project.
    • Approved project scopes are signed off by the SIH Director and the client researcher.
  6. Scheduling
    • A project manager and team are assigned to the project.
    • Tentative start and end dates are scheduled.
    • Work may not begin for a few months following approval. Our current backlog of projects is 2–3 months.
  7. Project Execution
    • Projects will be executed within the agreed timeframe.
    • Any changes of project scope will need to fit within the agreed timeframe. The assistance may be cancelled if outcomes become unachievable.
    • Delivery will usually include: providing access to code, results or a live instance of software, and a technical report.
  8. Project Close Out and Follow-Up
    • Please acknowledge our work in your research outputs and complete any feedback surveys. We use these to ensure our continued resourcing from the University.
    • We will request details of any research outputs resulting from our assistance.
    • Following the completion of a project, further assistance may be requested: a further large project, or small requests for support.

Long Data Science Projects: Selection Criteria

As SIH offer a free service to researchers, our service is in high demand. SIH prioritises projects that support high impact research outcomes and cultural transformation in data:

  • High impact with strategic alignment, such as supporting:
    • Large research groups with strong internal and external collaborations.
    • Large grant applications.
    • High-profile publications.
  • Cultural Transformation in Data
    • Our assistance would have a transformative effect on the data usage, research methodologies or capabilities of a lab or research centre.
    • Our work results in reusable deliverables such as open software and/or data.
    • We aim to support diverse clients across the University of Sydney’s faculties and schools.
  • Feasibility: the project likely to run smoothly and successfully
    • The researcher is available to communicate and contribute.
    • There is a well-defined scope of work with clear tasks and deliverables.
    • The data is available, reasonably clean, and stored on the Research Data Store.
  • Grant or External Funding
    • The researcher should contact us prior to including SIH support on a grant to negotiate the service that we could provide.
    • We may be able to accept a portion of granted research assistance funding.

Please Note: We do not offer ‘Research as a Service’

We assist with implementing data analytics and software engineering techniques within research projects but cannot substitute for a post-doctoral researcher or a long-term research assistant. It is the researcher’s role, not ours, to develop research questions, methodologies, conclusions and publications.