Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

  • What is MIDL?

    MIDL (pronounced ʻmiddleʼ) is the acronym for the Melbourne Institute Data Lab. MIDL is a secure, purpose-built data enclave that enables virtual access to micro-level data and aggregated data from various data sources such as the Australian Government at both federal and state levels as well as from other organisations such as businesses and service providers. The MIDL environment aims to facilitate collaboration among researchers and analysts on the study of critical issues important to Australian society.

  • Who is behind MIDL?

    MIDL is a collaboration between the Melbourne Institute, a research department within the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Melbourne, and Cyconsol, an Australian-based professional services provider specializing in cybersecurity and ICT capabilities working with the Australian Government and industry. MIDL has been designed by researchers, specifically for researchers and data custodians and builds on over decades of experience in using and managing secure environments for the production of sensitive data assets.

  • How secure is MIDL?

    MIDL is a PROTECTED level secure enclave with stringent information security controls in place. These controls have been assessed against the Australian Government's Protective Security Policy Framework and the Australian Cyber Security Centre's Information Security Manual. MIDL completed its Information Security Registered Assessor Program (IRAP) Assessment and penetration testing in 2022. Some of MIDL's security controls include (but are not limited to) the use of multi-factor authentication, 24x7 continuous event log monitoring, secure data input and output including the option for vetting and clearance f data in to and out of the system. MIDL backs up all its data to external sites with data retention capability available for up to seven years.

  • What is the difference between a Project and a Shared Data Environment (SDE)?

    A standalone project is a workspace limited to members of one research team which may contain more than one dataset if permitted by the data custodian. A standalone project is typically limited to one area of research of specific research questions.

    A Shared Data Environment (or SDE) is a shared project workplace that consists of multiple projects where research is conducted under a specific theme of research.

    For more information on the difference between standalone projects and Shared Data Environments, please refer to Part 1 of the MIDL Information Pack.

  • How do I apply for a standalone project or a project within an existing Shared Data Environment?

    To apply for a project within the MIDL, or set up a new project, please fill in the MIDL Project Application Form and email the completed form and accompanying documentation to midl-services@unimelb.edu.au. A MIDL Access Agreement will need to be in place between the Melbourne Institute and the organisation before projects can be created under this head agreement. Contact the MIDL Services Team for more information. All users must comply with MIDL's Acceptable Use Policy for access and use of the MIDL system.

    For queries relating to setting up a new Shared Data Environment inside the MIDL, please
    contact the MIDL Services Team.

  • How much does MIDL cost to access?

    MIDL has been designed to be costed to users on a cost-recovery basis. The MIDL Costing Guide is currently being finalised. This webpage will be updated soon. For more information, please contact the MIDL Services Team.

  • Who can apply for MIDL access?

    MIDL is available for researchers from any accredited university, institution or external organisation wishing to undertake activities for research or statistical purposes. These activities and research must be of public interest. MIDL is also available for data custodians who provide data assets for MIDL and require an environment for data production and curation.

  • How is user information handled?

    MIDL has undertaken a Privacy Impact Assessment to ensure good administrative processes and practices are undertaken to ensure user information is handled safely in line with the Australian privacy laws. Please see the MIDL Privacy Collection Notice for more information.

  • How do I contact the MIDL Services Team?

    Email midl-services@unimelb.edu.au or call 03  8344 2100 on weekdays between 9-5pm AEST.

FAQs for users

  • How do I log into MIDL?

    Go to https://sso.midl.unimelb.edu.au to log in. Refer to the MIDL User Guide for more details.

  • I did not receive my account activation email. What do I do now?

    In the first instance, please check your inbox’s spam folder in case it has been incorrectly flagged as spam to your account. If you still cannot find your activation email, please contact the MIDL Services Team.

  • I have forgotten my user ID/password to access MIDL. How do I access MIDL?

    Please contact the MIDL Services Team and get allocated into the internal ticketing system by emailing servicedesk@midl.unimelb.edu.au.

  • Can I bring my own data to MIDL?

    You can bring your own data. Please contact the MIDL Services Team to discuss this.

    You will need to provide relevant data sharing agreements that may apply to your data asset. If required, MIDL Services will need to contact relevant data custodians to discuss how your data is stored and hosted to you through the MIDL in line with the requirements of the aforementioned data sharing agreement.

  • How do I acknowledge MIDL?

    Please acknowledge the Melbourne Institute Data Lab in your publications with the following text:

    “This work was conducted using the Melbourne Institute Data Lab (MIDL) secure data enclave provided by the Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research at The University of Melbourne.”

    Any data services or data sets accessed through the MIDL Platform should be cited using a format similar to that shown below.

    “Data Custodian Name (Year of Publication) Data Set Name [Accessed through Melbourne Institute Data Lab], accessed XX Month Year.”

  • For any other enquiries relating to MIDL

    If you are an existing user:


    If you are not a user of MIDL:

Technical Queries

  • What is the 'light version' of Citrix?

    The ‘light version’ allows you to run MIDL from your internet browser, usually slower than the Citrix Workspace. Download the latest version of Citrix Workspace here.

  • I'm getting an error message

    Error: "Connection Interrupted"" Citrix Workspace app will try to reconnect for 0:00 more minutes."

    Most likely a network issue on your computer for instance if others are using your home wifi at the same time or you have switched from a VPN to another wifi network while logging into MIDL. In this scenario, we suggest waiting for this disconnect message to time out.

    Then launch your MIDL project from access.midl.unimelb.edu.au.

    Error: "The connection to PROJECT M00X failed with status (Unknown client error 1110)."

    This is a known bug within Citrix. Try relaunching the desktop or use the light version.

    Click on your name on the Citrix Gateway page and click Install Citrix Reciever.  Below the blue button, click ''Use light version" and then click on your project name.

    Error: "The published resource is not available currently. Contact your system administrator for further assistance".

    All virtual machines/desktops in your project are in use by your research team. For instance, a research team of three may purchase two virtual machines, this only allows two people to log in at once.

    Error:"Cannot start desktop "PROJECT M00X".

    This can mean

    a) All virtual machines/desktops in your project are in use by your research team.

    b) you and another team member tried to connect to the last available desktop at the same time as someone else, causing a timeout on your start message

    c) the virtual machine is still powering on. Try again in a few minutes.

  • I am travelling overseas, will MIDL work outside of Australia?

    Yes, please contact servicedesk@midl.unimelb.edu.au to organise a special arrangement.