Expert Connect

Connecting industry with research expertise

Expert Connect is publicly searchable database of Australia’s research expertise, with more than 60,000 expert profiles from over 220 research organisations. Expert Connect has been designed to boost industry-researcher collaboration, with profiles for researchers being automatically created by drawing on authoritative sources, including:

  • patent data from IP Australia;
  • grant data from ARC & NHMRC;
  • journal articles from Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science;
  • author profiles and media articles from The Conversation Media Group, and;
  • profile data from ORCID and research organisation directories.

The drawing together of this data is ongoing and automatic, with each new piece of data added to the relevant profile without manual intervention. There is no need for researchers to create or update their Expert Connect profile.

Anyone can search for a topic of interest using simple, non-scientific language, and find the most relevant researcher(s) to connect with. The platform considers both academic expertise and industry nous, presenting users with a list of relevant experts that are most likely to understand their business context.

Australian research expertise is just the start. Building on the current dataset, Expert Connect is expanding to include researchers from around the globe. Functionality will also be added to better support usage of the platform beyond industry-researcher linkages.

Key Principles

  • Automatic profile creation. Expert Connect draws upon existing public data (via API) to create researcher profiles, reducing manual curation and duplication of effort.
  • Bridges the language divide. Any business person can search for a topic of interest using simple, non-scientific language, and find the most relevant researcher/s to connect with.
  • Relevant search results. Expert Connect considers both academic expertise and industry nous when returning research results.
  • A collaborative approach. Expert Connect has been developed in collaboration with over 50 partners from across industry, research and government, with new collaborators being added continuously.
  • Open data for ease and convenience. All Expert Connect data is available via API, allowing any organisation to showcase Australia’s research expertise (or a subset of it) on their own platform.
  • Done is better than perfect. Taking an agile approach, the platform was launched in beta in 2017. Work is occurring daily to enhance the data matching, improve and add functionality, and scale the platform globally. We are always open to suggestions on how to best shape the platform moving forward so please get in touch.



FindHer is a service that aims to make female researchers more easily discoverable, without pushing the profile maintenance burden on to women. We also want to make sure that profiles for female researchers are easily discoverable in the same places that people look for researchers in general. 

All the profile data within Expert Connect is freely available via API and can be used by anyone looking to build their own directory, or undertake research. 

We hope that all the great initiatives to promote women can draw on the Expert Connect data and use it to support their work.


A common excuse for male domination in a range of endeavours is that suitable women couldn’t be found. This has led to a proliferation of initiatives encouraging women to list their details in various directories that are then promoted to conference organisers, company boards, investor groups, the media and beyond. Whilst playing a vital role in promoting women and enhancing their chances of discovery, these various lists put the onus on women to create and update their profiles across multiple platforms. This can be incredibly time consuming and repetitive work that may or may not result in any extra opportunities (given the importance of established networks). 

While we recognise that gender isn't binary (and of course shouldn't be an issue at all), female representation remains critically low in a range of industries, including the research sector. It is imperative that we do better. 


Given the public data that already exists, we can be smarter in how we manage the challenge of ensuring that no one can claim that a suitable woman “couldn’t be found”. We can also put this information in the places that people are already looking. There are some nuances to providing this information.

With a dataset of over 60,000 automatically created researchers profiles (and rapidly growing), it simply isn't reasonable to manually determine the gender of each researcher. Instead, we've used a combination of tools to make the best informed guess we can about each researcher’s gender. 

These tools include:

  • Photo analysis – all photos captured prior to the Expert Findher launch on 8th March 2019 were visually reviewed. New images added after this date are assessed by a neural net that is trained on edges of the head and neck area, with the confidence level of female being returned. These images will also be put in a folder to be visually checked prior to publishing.
  • Title – gender specific titles (e.g. Ms, Miss, Mrs, Mr, Sir) are reviewed, however this is not very common (most titles are Doctor, Professor etc)
  • Pronoun use - bio information is reviewed (when written in third person) to look for male/female pronouns 
  • Self-select - along with verifying your profile and adding direct contact details, we also allow users to select the gender they currently identify as (female, male, non-conforming, prefer not to disclose). 
  • Name - we've used established name sets. The US social security has naming data since 1880, this has provided the most in depth list of names to have a percentage of females against each name. Where missing an API is called.

Based on the above tools, we make an assessment of likely gender, and a measure of certainty. We must achieve at least a 99.99% certainty level for our assessment of gender, otherwise no gender marker is applied. This has resulted in approximately 15% of the researchers in Expert Connect being assigned a gender, with the remaining 85% unable to be determined at this time. We are continuing to explore new tools and new data sources that can help enhance the accuracy of our assessments. Of course the more people we can encourage to self-select, the more accurate our data will be. 

We fully recognise that tools we’re using are just the beginning. As with all elements of the Expert Connect platform, we remain very open to ideas and suggestions about how to enhance the work we're doing. Our goal is that this platform can serve as a useful starting point for a collaborative effort to dramatically enhance opportunities for women. We want to see a more equitable research ecology, and we’d like to co-create that vision with collaborators from the research sector and beyond. 

We realise this system isn't perfect, but we hope it is a small step in the right direction. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you’d like to discuss anything further, and/or collaborate with us on this initiative. 


Innovation Challenges

Harnessing research expertise to solve complex challenges

Rather than needing to know the research expertise they require, users can instead put forward details of the problem they are looking to solve, with experts then able to propose a solution. The Innovation Challenges marketplace also aggregates other relevant opportunities into a central place, making it easier for potential problem solvers to find them.

Challenges posted on the platform are automatically flagged with relevant experts most likely to have a viable solution. This means industry and government get their challenges in front of the right experts, and researchers get visibility of key end user challenges and priorities. If you have an innovation challenge you need solved, please get in touch with the details and we will list it on the platform. 



Visualising national and global innovation data

InnovationMap is an interactive, geographic visualisation of innovation related data. Built on the Data61 Terria platform, InnovationMap allows users to overlay multiple datasets (including any data from data.gov.au) to build up a rich picture of a particular region and observe how it changes over time. The data always remains hosted at its original source, and is automatically drawn in and visualised as required.

The InnovationMap is currently visualising:

  • SA3 Region Innovation Data
  • Innovation Precincts
  • National Research Infrastructure

Plans are underway to also show the following data on the map:

  • Expert Connect profiles
  • Incubators/accelerators

If you have access to data that you believe would add value to InnovationMap users, please get in touch