NIF at BLiSS*Adelaide

BLiSS is a one-day event aimed at catalysing cross-disciplinary collaborations between early- and mid-career researchers. On Oct 4th 2019, BLiSS*Adelaide was launched, featuring exceptional lectures, poster sessions, and stalls of service providers and Universities. With over 150 registrations representing more than six institutions, the Adelaide scientific community came out in force to find new scientific collaborations. SAHMRI participated with excellent representation by Dr Randall Grose (ACRF research fellow), Dr Susan Porter (Manager PIRL) and Dr Marianne Keller (NIF Facility Fellow). Many of the posters featured data from SAHMRI’s small animal imaging equipment, and many attendees showed interest in the imaging modalities available through the NIF network such as high-resolution small animal MRI. For more information on NIF capabilities, contact Dr Keller or NIF Central.

Dr Randall Grose (ACRF research fellow), Dr Susan Porter (Manager PIRL) and Dr Marianne Keller (NIF Facility Fellow) at BLiSS*Adelaide


New SMRT President appointed

Profile photo of Shawna facing camera and smiling
NIF Facility Fellow and Florey Chief Radiographer, Shawna Farquharson. Photo attributed to S. Farquharson

NIF Facility Fellow Shawna Farquharson is leading the way to empower, connect, educate and inform MRI Radiographers and Technologists worldwide. Following their 2019 Annual Meeting, the Society for MR Radiographers & Technologists (SMRT), a Section of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM), appointed Shawna Farquharson as its new President of SMRT. SMRT is the leading non-profit organisation that provides an international forum for education, information and research in magnetic resonance for radiographers and technologists throughout the world.

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NIF User Satisfaction Survey 2019 – Results

Thank you to everyone who participated in the National Imaging Facility User Satisfaction Survey! These results will be used to inform NIF direction and strategy through reports to the NIF Governing Board and the Department of Education and Training, ensuring we continue to meet the needs of the Australian research community.

pie chart showing the breakdown of current role/level of respondents

We received a total of 149 responses from users affiliated with over 25 Universities, institutes, and research organisations. Students were slightly underrepresented compared to other academic roles; could it be that they’re unaware that the facilities they access are NIF? If you’re a student accessing NIF Facilities, tell us what you think!

Bubble chart showing the breakdown of respondents research fields


The fields that NIF users identified with was heavily focused on biomedical and health-related research, with neuroscience topping the list at 37% of responses. It came as no surprise, then, to see that more than half our users identify with the Human Imaging theme.

Pie chart showing 54% of users identify with the human imaging theme

NIF has excellent instrumentation for investigating the brain, including two impressive ultra-high-field 7T MRIs, a network of 3T MRIs, human PET/CT and MEG capabilities. It’s worth noting that we have a great array of imaging capabilities that are used in areas as diverse as palaeontology, veterinary science, and agriculture, contributing to non-health research. So, don’t be shy if you’re not researching the brain or the human body. Ask us how we can help image your samples today!

pie chart showing 43% of respondents had utilised other NCRIS facilities, with a gauge chart breakdown of those facilities

More than half of the respondents indicated they have never utilised another NCRIS facility! NCRIS is the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, enabling the world-class instrumentation available across Australia for the research community to access.  We can see that NIF users commonly access the computation and data infrastructure capabilities, supporting imaging data storage, analysis, management, and curation. NIF Fellows have a great deal of expertise in this area, let us know if you would like help with data practices or to help point you to the right NCRIS capability for your research.

bar chart showing that most respondents rated their satisfaction as 4 or 5 (highly satisfactory)

We are so pleased to see that the majority of our users are satisfied with the level of support they receive when accessing NIF facilities! We can see an area for improvement surrounding the data analysis and management. We hear you, and we are planning to bring on more Informatics Fellows to support NIF users across the country in this area. The odd result here is ‘communications with NIF Fellows’, especially given the high levels of satisfaction with other areas of support! I wonder how we could get this rating to 5 for more users? We are always improving the user experience; to walk the walk, we need your feedback!

Tell us about your experiences:

Did you miss your chance to give feedback in this survey? You can email us, chat with your local NIF Facility Fellow, or you can follow this link to submit your ideas to a rolling survey. We won’t be using these results for reporting, but can still accept anonymous feedback this way!

Once again, a huge thank you to all users participating in this survey.



NIF Annual Meeting 2019









The NIF Annual Meeting was held June 18 – 20th 2019. At the green St Lucia campus of the University of Queensland, Fellows, Directors, and Board Members from across the country gathered in the Centre for Advanced Imaging (CAI).

The Fellows’ Program kicked off with a FAIR data principles and Characterisation Virtual Laboratory (CVL) workshop. Here, Fellows were reminded about FAIR data principles and had assistance in opening CVL accounts.


A seminar room in workshop configuration filled with people focussed on laptops and a presenter at a lectern

If you’re interested in CVL, why not sign up for the CVL Champions Program? Applications close July 31st!


four images of people seated around various tables, eating and drinking

The first day was wrapped up by an informal BBQ in the fresh Brisbane air


On day 2, we enjoyed the Fellows Mini-Symposium boasting the theme of ‘collaboration’. These talks showcased the cutting-edge projects and facilities that 11 of our NIF Facility and Informatics Fellows have been working on. An open discussion followed lunch, spawning ideas to collaborate on a new atlasing project, enhance the utility of the CVL Program, and the identity of NIF as a go-to imaging brand.


People standing in groups chatting while holding plates of food

Morning and afternoon tea was always stimulating and delicious!


The three NIF Thematic Groups met in the afternoon of Day 2 to discuss their latest challenges, share expertise, and develop action plans for their National Initiatives. Each of the Themes is working towards a National Initiative relevant to their user base, improving research quality and availability across the country. These fascinating discussions and more continued on into the evening for our final dinner together.


Graham standing before a projection of a Powerpoint slide on the right with NIF Fellows and Associates seated seminar style on the left


Day 3 opened early with an address by the NIF CEO, Graham Galloway, congratulating the three NIF Professional Development Grant winners, Dr Karine Mardon, Dr Tom Close, and Ms Diana Patalwala. Their awards have taken them to laboratories and events around the globe! We also welcomed Dr Rob Smith, Dr Tonima Ali, and Dr Paula Martinez Villegas to the ranks. At the same time, we bid a fond farewell to Dr Kirk Feindel, and wish him every success in the next stage of his career. NIF has enjoyed great successes over the past year, including an additional $53m investment via the NCRIS program. With the transition from a representative Board to an independent governing Board only a few months ago, NIF can expect exciting challenges ahead. Watch this space to see how we plan to continue engaging and collaborating across Australia!


NIF Fellows seated in groups focusing on a brainstorming activity


Next, we all discussed ways of sharing our outcomes and facilitating reporting, wrapped up with some fun group activities to ignite creativity and collaborative communication!


An emoticon face with a question mark

What is informatics, and how can NIF help you with your data needs? Get in touch today! Email us at NIF Central or contact your local NIF Fellow:


The meeting was finished off with an open discussion focussed on informatics, data curation, and repository systems. Two great ideas came from this discussion; persistent identifiers for instruments, allowing researchers to cite the instrument in publications, and an online knowledge repository (such as a wiki) for sharing workflows and processes. We look forward to supporting these initiatives!


The NIF Group standing on the steps of CAI


It was sad to say goodbye to all the NIF Fellows, Node Directors, Board Members and Associates at the end of our three-day meeting, but we are reassured by the plan to meet again in April or May 2020 in Sydney! Until then, we will continue to share our stories and build on the initiatives that we’re so excited about.


NIF pays its respects to the traditional custodians of the land upon which we met. We acknowledge both the Jagera people and the Turrbul people and their Elders, past, present, and emerging, for they hold the hopes, dreams, traditions and cultures of Aboriginal Australia.

Radiographers visit LARIF

In conjunction with the Australian Society of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy (ASMIRT) conference, the International Association of Forensic Radiographers (IAFR) organised a site visit to the South Australian NIF Node, Large Animal Research and Imaging Facility (LARIF), on the 31st of March 2019 to view the facilities used for post-mortem imaging (CT & MRI). Presentations included the practical aspects of post-mortem imaging using CT & MRI by Mr Raj Perumal and using CT & MRI in forensic practice by A/Prof Neil Langlois.

The participants were keen to understand the CT & MRI protocols used by Forensic Science South Australia (FSSA). LARIF provides a unique opportunity for post-mortem MRI to assist forensic investigations and there was a lot of interest from the participants to learn about the technical aspects of forensic MRI imaging.

A group photo in front of NIF and IAFR banners

The day before, at the ASMIRT conference, presentations were given about imaging opportunities and translation research at SAHMRI including a site tour of the rodent imaging facility at SAHMRI North Terrace by Dr. Marianne Keller.


This story was contributed by LARIF. For more information, please contact Mr Raj Perumal

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