The ARDC Institutional Underpinnings program is one of six programs in the National Data Assets initiative.

This program aims to develop a coordinated approach to research data management across Australia’s universities. Participating institutions will create a jointly-agreed framework for the management, sharing, retention and disposal of data. Each institution will undertake activities to validate and test an aspect of the framework and release outputs that can be reused by other institutions. Download the program description [PDF 207kb] for further information.


The open call will take a two-stage approach. The first stage will be a call for registrations of interest followed later by a formal application stage.

Registration of interest phase

We request a single registration of interest from each interested institution. All institutions that have registered their interest will take part in a consultation workshop that will shape the aim and scope of the framework.

Formal application phase

The formal application phase is a competitive call and will only be open to those who registered their interest in the previous phase. At this phase each institution will outline the aspect(s) of the framework which they may be interested in testing or validating, based on the outcomes of the consultation workshop. Download the full RFP documentation [PDF 233kb].



The table below provides an indicative time frame for these activities. Please note  the ongoing impact of COVID-19 may result in significant changes over time.

Information and FAQ Webinar14 October 2020
Registration of Interest in Institutional Underpinnings (opens-closes)19 October 2020 -
9 November 2020
Consultation Workshop (2-4pm AEDT, Invitation Only)19 November 2020
Formal Application to participate in Institutional Underpinnings (opens-closes)7 December 2020 -
15 February 2021
Announcement of successful applicantsQ1 2021
Contracts sent out to successful applicantsQ1 2021
Projects beginQ1 2021


As part of the development of the joint framework, each participating institution will develop an implementation that tests or validates an aspect of the framework. In-scope implementations can cover a wide range of activities, but must:

  • have ongoing value beyond the duration of the project
  • involve improvement or change at the institution (not just business-as-usual)
  • be specifically related to the joint framework
  • produce some output that can be of value to other institutions.


ARDC investment cannot be used to purchase hardware or software licenses, but the configuration of software is in-scope where that process explicitly acts as a test or validation of the framework.


Each participating institution will receive $65,000 towards their contribution to this project.


Registrations of Interest will be accepted from Australian universities (see the Higher Education Support Act 2003 Table A and B providers).

If you have a question please contact us. These questions and their answers will be entered into a publicly available FAQ.

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