InfoEd Goes Down Under

Australasian ICAG Meeting at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia

The Australasian ICAG meeting was held last week at Edith Cowen University in Perth, the governmental and cultural capital of Western Australia (WA). From a traveler’s perspective, it was half-way around the world, literally. The circumference of the earth at the equator is 24,901 miles and it is approximately 12,000 miles from Albany to Perth, so we were pretty much as far away from home as you can get.

Edith Cowan University (ECU) is Western Australia’s second largest university and ‘younger’ than many of its collegiate peers, like InfoEd it is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary. The university was named after Edith Cowan, the first woman to be elected to the Australian Parliament (1920). She believed that education was the key to societal and industrial growth, change and improvement and was fundamental to tackling the social issues of the day.

Cowan’s legacy of social support and educational advancement is nowhere more evident than in the University’s research centres categorized as Major National Research Facilities and WA Centres of Excellence in Science and Innovation.

This year’s meeting was well attended with about 25 people from 7 different organizations. In my opinion, it was the most productive and congenial meeting we (InfoEd) have been involved in and above all, it was very reassuring to hear how appreciative many of our clients were of our various improvements in Support and Quality Assurance. We give many thanks to ECU for being such gracious hosts, it was truly a fantastic event and we could not have felt more welcomed.


Needless to say, this ICAG meeting was a tremendous opportunity to exchange information and we had the chance to hear a lot of great presentations from some of our users as to how they were using the various InfoEd modules. 

ECU is doing a very interesting implementation of PD and Pre-Proposals. They have graciously agreed to trek out to our US UGM in May and share their experiences with us. I encourage you all to find your way to this special session, it is sure to be a can’t-miss presentation!

On a lighter note, we had a blast sharing what little downtime we actually had with some of our clients. We got a lovely fully-narrated tour of Freemantle from Carol Beetles and we got to see Mark Dixon’s motorcycle, though we were all too chicken to actually go for a ride! Nacole and I swam in the ocean with the Great Whites and we all had some wicked awesome pizza at a local restaurant owned by our own Damian Davini’s family!


The excitement didn’t end there… 

To cap off our amazing Perth adventure, we ran into American rap star ‘Snoop Dogg’ at the Perth Airport.

A bit star struck, I am not ashamed to admit that I chased after him like a crazed teenager as he swaggered his way through the terminal. I frantically tried to snap a picture of him but this photo is the best I could do while trying to dodge my way around his large entourage with a camera in one hand and a piece of pizza in the other. Kim said she’d never seen me move so fast!

Imagine my surprise when I found out that Snoop was apparently simultaneously stalking me… Shortly after takeoff, I received an email from one of our clients (thanks for the heads-up Hugh) telling me that Snoop Twittered that he saw “Eddie Johnson” in the Perth airport. Wow! Who knew I was such an international superstar?!? Certainly not my wife…

By the way, did I mention that there are kangaroos everywhere? You can walk right up to them as if they were squirrels. Really big, kind of not-so-fresh smelling squirrels… Anyway, they won’t let you pet them (believe me, I tried much to the chagrin of my wife and Nacole) but they are pretty domesticated and let me get within a few feet of them as I excitedly snapped dozens of pictures of them. Pinaroo Cemetery had more ‘roos than any zoo or game park. Thanks for the recommendation everyone, it was truly amazing!


After Perth we flew about five hours over to Sydney which is located on the complete other side of Australia in New South Wales. While on this side of the continent, we drove around to several different client sites and were able spend some quality time with our cohorts at the University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney, and the Cancer Institute of New South Wales. A 2.5-hour train ride north also allowed us to check in with our colleagues in Newcastle. 

Planes, trains, and automobiles. Isn’t it amazing to think that after only a few hours of travel you are in a whole new part of this wide, wide world? Doesn’t it feel like everyday our world seems to be getting smaller and smaller?


Mark my words… 

The world is shrinking!

For example, one of the more recent Australian compliance requirements known as the “Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research” is incredibly similar to the NIH “Responsible Conduct of Research” regulations. We are continuously closing the information gaps and coming closer to establishing worldwide standards for research administration. It is exciting to think that at some point in my lifetime, there will be a world regulatory body that has their own “RCR” policy and all participating countries will have the same standards. And InfoEd will be the first system to support it!


At InfoEd, we pride ourselves on staying abreast of international regulations. As this world shrinks, we know you are going to be doing more and more research with other countries and as such, we are continuously evolving our systems to be flexible enough to work anywhere. It was only on the long flight back to New York that I finally had a chance to catch my breath and reflect upon all that we had seen, heard and experienced. It is always incredibly rewarding information-wise to spend some face-to-face time with our clients. And this time, we were able to revel in some pretty amazing joint successes before returning home with some renewed client support as we collectively move forward in anticipation of our enhanced future releases. 

Bottom line, our Australian adventure was as unforgettable as the clients we met with. They were all wonderfully warm which served as a welcome respite from our endless New York winter.

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