About Us

VetCompass Australia (VCA) is a national collaborative venture between all seven of Australia’s veterinary schools: University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, Charles Sturt University, James Cook University, Murdoch University, University of Adelaide, University of Queensland and James Cook University. As a consortium, VCA collects and aggregates real-time, clinical records for researchers to interrogate, providing sustainable and cost-effective access to data and analytical resources.


VCA research and data cycle 50

Image: The cycle of data in VCA

By streamlining access to research, publication, and collaboration opportunities, VCA builds on our body of evidence about diseases, conditions and behaviours, improving their identification, treatment and prevention. In turn, this research can lead to improved diagnostic efficiency, and so better health and welfare outcomes for Australia’s animals.

The original VetCompass© system, developed by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in London, automatically harvests de-identified clinical records from veterinary practices into a centralised repository for analysis via their software application. Using this system since 2007, the team at the RVC has produced impressive results, with extensive research outcomes, fact sheets and more publicly available.

The VCA consortium secured a grant through the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) scheme to set up the VetCompass© system in Australia. With all seven veterinary schools collaborating, VCA is the world’s first nationwide surveillance system to collate electronic patient records on animal disorders and therapies.

Building on the success of the VCA collaboration, the consortium set out to build a new resource, the Veterinary and Animal Research Data Commons (VARDC). Funded by the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) as part of their Platforms program, this project was undertaken to expand the quantity, quality and variety of data and tools available to researchers, and to establish a streamlined approach to integrating more of these in the future. The VARDC platform was created to deliver big-data opportunities to Australian veterinary and animal science researchers allowing them to access a variety of connected data sets and tools through a single platform.

The VCA Executive Board meets monthly, with meeting dates for 2024 as follows:

  • 17 January
  • 15 February
  • 14 March
  • 11 April
  • 16 May
  • 13 June
  • 25 July
  • 22 August
  • 19 September
  • 17 October
  • 21 November
  • 12 December

Anyone with a matter they would like to bring to the board should contact their local representative at least 2 weeks before the meeting.


We gratefully acknowledge the valuable support of:

  • the Australian Government, through the Australian Research Council LIEF scheme (Grant ID LE160100026), for the initial funds to establish VetCompass© in Australia.
  • the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC), which is funded by the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), for their investment in the platform (doi:10.47486/PL073).
  • the Centre for Veterinary Education, the Australian Veterinary Association, the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists, and the RSPCA for their ongoing promotion of our work.
  • the contributing veterinary clinics, whose commitment to research and evidence make the VCA program possible. Their foresight and willingness to support this important research has both direct and indirect impacts on the animals they treat and the people who care for them. For this we thank them.

Human Research Ethics Committee

The data used in VCA are collected under the University of Sydney's Human Research Ethics Committe protocol number 2013/919.

Citation Statement

In all publications and presentations, researchers should cite the fact that they have used VCA data and resources, such as VARDC. The wording for this is as follows:

This research was undertaken with the assistance of information from the VetCompass Australia consortium under the project “VetCompass Australia: Big Data and Real-time Surveillance for Veterinary Science,”* which is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council LIEF scheme (LE160100026), as well as the Veterinary and Animal Research Data Commons project, which received investment (doi:10.47486/PL073) from the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC). The ARDC is funded by the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).

*McGreevy, P., Thomson, P., Dhand, N.K., Raubenheimer, D., Masters, S., Mansfield, C.S., Baldwin, T., Soares Magalhaes, R.J., Rand, J., Hill, P., Peaston, A., Gilkerson, J., Combs, M., Raidal, S., Irwin, P.J., Irons, P., Squires, R., Brodbelt, D., Hammond, J. 2017. VetCompass Australia: A National Big Data Collection System for Veterinary Science. Animals. 7, 74; doi:10.3390/ani7100074.


Access to data must be approved by the VCA Executive Board. If you are interested in conducting a study using VCA data, you may apply under 2 main categories: Strategic Research Projects and Student Research Projects. The lead investigators on these projects must be from within one of the consortium veterinary schools. You can read more about our research, the project categories and specific requirements on our Research pages

Persistent Identifiers

The VCA program aims to make our data and digital objects Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reproducible (FAIR), wherever possible. To this end, we are committed to the use of Persistent identifiers (PIDs) and sharing available PIDs related to our program.

Read more about PIDs and why they are important on the ARDC's Making Data FAIR pages.

VCA program

Consortium universities

All participating universities have Research Organization Registry (ROR) identifiers.

University of Sydney ROR:0384j8v12

University of Melbourne ROR:01ej9dk98

University of Adelaide ROR:00892tw58

University of Queensland ROR:00rqy9422

Charles Sturt University ROR:00wfvh315

James Cook University ROR:04gsp2c11

Murdoch University ROR:00r4sry34

Our Core Team

All of the core team, listed here, and most researchers use an Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) to identify their work easily. Whenever an ORCID is available, it is collected and linked to the relevant project within VCA. 

Mark Krockenberger, Chair, University of Sydney ORCID:0000-0002-8168-4795

Ricardo Soares Magalhaes, University of Queensland ORCID:0000-0001-9157-8470

James Gilkerson, University of Melbourne ORCID:0000-0003-1801-4817

Charles Caraguel, University of Adelaide ORCID:0000-0003-0019-4813

Randi Rotne, Charles Sturt University ORCID:0000-0001-5492-0521

Mieghan Bruce, Murdoch University ORCID:0000-0003-3176-2094

Carolynne Joone, James Cook University ORCID:0000-0001-9682-8969

Sophie Masters, University of Sydney ORCID: 0000-0002-3279-2394

Key partners, supporters and collaborators

Australian Research Data Commons ROR:038sjwq14

Australian Research Council ROR:05mmh0f86

Royal Veterinary College ROR:01wka8n18

University of Tasmania ROR:01wka8n18

University of Minnesota ROR:017zqws13

University of NSW ROR:03r8z3t63

Contributing Veterinary Practices typicall use website URLs as their primary identifiers. See the full list of participating practices at:

Major grants

The Veterinary and Animal Research Data Commons doi:10.47486/PL073

VetCompass: Big Data and Real-time Surveillance for Veterinary Science and Project ID: LE160100026


The Veterinary and Animal Research Data Commons (Handle TBC)

Databases, pipelines, projects and datasets are identified according to local protocols.

Data sets produced within the system are given unique identifiers. The data are protected under Human Research Ethics Committee protocol 2013/919 so are not publicly available.

Summarised data sets are created through analysis of the original data. With permission from the VCA board, these data sets can be published in the Research Data Store (RDS) or similar.

Documentation for the VARDC platform is stored in Confluence to ensure continuity and sustainability.

Publications are listed in full, along with DOIs and URLs where available, in the News section of this site.