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News: Atlassian Partnership

Atlassian partners with Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute

10 December 2020

Atlassian has joined forces with the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute to help in the fight against heart disease, raising vital funds for heart research and supporting the Institute with work-in-kind.

Renowned for developing software products used by millions of people around the world, the team at Atlassian Australia lent its technical expertise and brainpower to several important research projects underway at the Institute.

Atlassian staff (Atlassians) have been championing the cause of heart research for some time in the USA. But this year, they decided to make it a worldwide initiative involving all their employees.

“We set up a Global Heart Health and Wellness month, designating all of September for Atlassians to learn more about heart health, raise money for research, and plug in to a whole month of being active together with our Workplace Experience team. The collaboration with the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute was key to the program’s success in Australia” explains Atlassian Foundation Director of Global Engagement Programs, Jonathan Srikanthan.

The Director of Fund Development, Ariane Gallop, said the Institute embraced the opportunity to engage with Atlassian staff.

“We are so proud that we were able to create a successful partnership with a mutual exchange of knowledge that benefited both organisations,” Ms Gallop explains.

“Even though the medical research and software industries seem like worlds apart, in reality, we were able to interweave the expertise of our doctors and scientists together with the world-leading software engineers for the greater good.”

The month-long collaboration involved five work-in-kind projects which focused on the sharing of skills, resources, and information. This included;

  1. Presenting a Heart Health Webinar series with Cardiologists from the Institute
  2. Hosting a Hackathon event with Atlassian engineers
  3. Developing software to assist nurses conducting heart health checks
  4. Developing several marketing tools for the Institute’s Communications Team
  5. Hosting a virtual fundraising walk for heart disease

The alliance kick started with the Webinar series which aimed to inform Atlassian staff about the myths surrounding heart disease and the latest advances in heart research. The three-part presentation series was attended by more than 300 people, who were also given the opportunity to ask our Cardiologists questions about their own heart health.

Dr Nikki Bart ready for the first webinar

Dr Nikki Bart ready for the first webinar | Webinar 3 presented by Prof Sally Dunwoodie & Dr Sarah Schaeur

The next stage involved a two-week Hackathon event where Atlassians were enlisted to help overcome technical problems that could assist genetic discovery around the world.

By the end of the Hackathon, Senior Atlassian Developers had engineered two functioning software tools. The first assists with the identification of DNA mutations that may cause disease by sifting through enormous genomic datasets. The second tool rapidly fetches DNA data and will vastly expand the types of DNA-disease analysis that can be performed.

VCCRI Scientists working with Atlassian on DNA Project

VCCRI Scientists working with Atlassian on DNA Project

The Institute’s Project Leader, Dr Emma Rath says the experience was hugely rewarding for both organisations and the tools are already proving to be extremely useful for the Computer Scientist community at large.

“Our researchers and the bioinformatics globally have been needing these tools for quite a while. The Atlassian developers built well-engineered solutions in the Hackathon, thanks to a great collaborative effort. We can now pursue new research projects which deeply explore genetic data that is associated with heart diseases,” said Dr Rath.

On top of that, more talented volunteers from Atlassian also created a highly useful video animation explaining cardiovascular disease in simple terms. This was accompanied by several pieces of marketing collateral which will be vital assets to the Institute’s Communications team.

Furthermore, the dedication of Atlassian staff has been particularly apparent in the development of software to assist the Institute’s nurses from the Heart Health Check team, who travel all around the country screening Aussies for primary risk factors of heart disease. Once active, this software will allow us to electronically capture the test results of thousands of participants, saving massive amounts of time and providing faster and more accurate results. (Due to the complexity of the software, this campaign is still ongoing and is a tribute to the commitment of the Atlassians working on the project).

Finally, to celebrate a successful partnership, a team of more than 620 Atlassians, plus staff from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, put on their running shoes and took part in a Virtual Heart Health and Wellness Walk. The two hour event provided further opportunity to talk about heart health, exercise, and most importantly fundraise for heart research.

Atlassian Virtual Walk

Atlassian Virtual Walk

In total, an incredible $23,449 was raised for heart research by Atlassians participating in the Virtual Walk in Australia. This is a wonderful reflection of the generosity of spirit that exists at Atlassian where globally, volunteering participation in FY21 was up from 22% to 40%.

Ms Gallop is hopeful this alliance will become a blueprint for future corporate relationships.

“This outstanding framework should inspire other businesses to give their staff the freedom to make a contribution to medical research through the voluntary sharing of technical and creative skills. In return, participants acquire valuable knowledge about heart health and heart disease from our team of doctors and scientists. It’s a clear win-win.”

-- ENDS --

For all media enquiries and interview requests, please contact:

Julia Timms
Head, Media & Communications
0457 517 355

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years