Answers to a range of frequently asked questions are provided below. Please contact the SURE team with additional queries.
SURE is a remote-access computing environment that allows researchers to access and analyse data for approved studies and analyses. A secure project workspace is set up for each study and data is stored centrally on servers housed in a high-security data centre rather than a user’s local computing environment.
SURE is unique in providing highly secure storage and analytical software in a single location that all users with the necessary credentials can access.
Visit Using SURE for more information.
No, they cannot. SURE’s unique “curated gateway” prevents transfer of files into and out of the secure storage space by anyone other than an authorised curator. The curator is either a person nominated by the data custodian or a senior investigator bound to protect the data, depending on the data custodian’s requirements and ethics approval.
No, separate, partitioned workspaces are set up for the analysis of data that has been approved for each study hosted in SURE. The security of each workspace ensures that data from different studies are not able to be combined, even if a user is an investigator on multiple studies using SURE.
Some users may access SURE for multiple studies, so a project-specific workspace and virtual desktop is established for each project. The project workspaces are logically separated so that data cannot be shared or combined in any way.
SURE users must ensure all necessary approvals from ethics committees and data custodians have been received for their studies. Users applying to access the SURE project workspace established for a study must be a named investigator on the study application. All SURE users must also complete mandatory training prior to accessing the facility. The SURE researcher training program covers responsibilities of a user, information security and statistical disclosure control.
SURE has the technical capacity to allow researchers based overseas to use SURE, as long as they have obtained specific ethics and data custodian approval to access the data overseas. Permissions can be tailored based on the study requirements.
7zip (version 19): Zip file manager with the ability to split and recombine large zip files
Adobe Acrobat Reader (version X)
Anaconda (version 3.4.4): A Python distribution for performing Python/R data analysis
CutePDF (version 3.0): A PDF creation tool
FastStone Image Viewer (version 7.4): An image browser, converter and editor
Git for Windows (version 188.8.131.52): A lightweight, native set of tools that bring features of the Git SCM to Windows
GnuOctave (version 5.1) 64-bit: A powerful mathematics-oriented programming language with built-in plotting and visualization tools. Drop-in compatible with many Matlab scripts.
Inkscape (version 09.2.4) 64-bit: A professional vector graphics editor
Julia (version 1.4.2): Programming language for Python
Microsoft Office 2016 Standard*: Including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher
MLwiN (version 3.02): Multi-level modelling package from the Centre for Multilevel Modelling at Bristol University
Notepad++ (version 7.8.1): Programming text editor
OpenBUGS (version 3.2.3): OpenBUGS is the open-source replacement for WinBUGS
Pandoc (version 184.108.40.206): A universal document converter
Python (version 3.7)
R (version 3.6.3 and version 4) & R Studio (version 1.2.5042): Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of R are installed. Additionally, a CRAN (R package) library is mirrored inside SURE.
R add-ons, including: Rtools, JAGS, REALCOM-IMPUTE and NppToR
TortoiseGit (version 220.127.116.11): A Git revision control client.
URG Grouper (version 1_4_4): Developed by Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) to assist state and territory health departments and hospitals to group hospital emergency department data to the URG classification system
* Unless otherwise specific by the workspace owner
ArcGIS (version 10.7): mapping and analytics tool for mapping and spatial reasoning
SAS (version 9.4 M6) 64-bit version, with Base SAS, SAS/STAT, SAS/GRAPH
SAS Enterprise Guide
SPSS (version 23.0)
Stat/Transfer (version 15.1): Allows for easy data transfer between popular statistical software packages.
Stata (version 16 MP2) 64-bit multiprocessor versions, able to use 2 CPU cores.
The SURE team will accept requests for other software to be installed. We will need to consider a range of factors including costs and licensing before the software is tested and installed in your SURE workspace.
There is no maximum size. Standard workspaces are allocated up to one terabyte of storage space but larger, customised workspaces can be easily developed for studies analysing very large data sets.
The registration process for SURE is straightforward as researchers generally have already received human research ethics and data custodian approvals. Once agreements are signed and payment made, the workspace is generally set up within two weeks.
It is not possible to print within SURE. Research output can be taken out of the facility via the curated gateway and once approved, the output can be downloaded to your local computer and printed
Information and reference materials that are necessary for researchers to conduct their analysis in SURE can be transferred via the curated gateway. The specific type of information that is permitted and how it will be reviewed for your study will depend on the approvals received for your study from data custodians and human research ethics committees, including any specific restrictions or compliance requirements.