Nectar Virtual Labs have huge economic and research impact: new report

Nectar virtual laboratories (VLs), which provide digital interfaces, tools and data to online research communities, are generating a return on investment of up to 138 times their cost, according to a new report by Victoria University academics.

Estimating the value and impact of Nectar Virtual Laboratories, written by the Victoria Institute of Strategic Economic Studies for the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources project (Nectar), studied three Nectar-supported VLs across different disciplines.

The three VLs covered by the study are:

  • Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory (BCCVL)
  • Characterisation Virtual Laboratory (CVL)
  • Genomics Virtual Laboratory (GVL)

The GVL operates on QRIScloud infrastructure, including virtual machines and data storage. 

QRIScloud and National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) provide cloud compute and data storage for the  BCCVL.

Five methods of value measurement were used in the report, including the impact the VLs have on research and how much users would be willing to pay for the service if it did not already exist.

The return on investment varies depending on the metric and the associated method of calculation, however the report found that return on investment is at least double the investment for every measure of each of the VLs studied, indicating the services have a significant economic and user impact. By one measure the value of the VL was over 100 times the cost of investment.

Read Nectar’s full story about the report on Nectar’s website.