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Boosting engagement using Drupal

The ANSTO website is a key driver of the organisation’s external relations. In order to increase this engagement, ANSTO needed an up-to-date site that followed web standards. To reach that goal, we got together to develop a new website on Drupal 8.

This initial work opened the door for a series of future-proofing development projects. These help to keep the ANSTO site innovative and fresh - underpinned by a highly secure SSO system. We also support and host their site on our cloud-based platform, Skpr; extending their internal web and marketing team. This means that ANSTO now provides a safe, uninterrupted and modern digital resource for all members of the community.

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
ANSTO Feature Image


  • Initial upgrade to Drupal 8
  • Ongoing development to modernise and support the website
  • Single point of contact support for all website needs
  • Secure, robust Australian Government-approved hosting
  • Component-based design system


  • Increase community engagement 
  • Provide a library of components for content editors
  • Create streamlined, accessible and flexible web content
  • Constantly deliver a future-proofed site that supports innovation
  • Integrate SSO to reflect a focus on security and efficiency

Why these deliverables?

Innovation is at the core of ANSTO’s work. Being able to constantly deliver a site that reflects that is key to the organisation’s engagement with its users.

ANSTO site users range from scientists to schools, health providers and members of the public. That means having the ability to provide a range of content and interaction points - but also establishing clear pathways to creating and managing that content for internal editors.


Before partnering with us, ANSTO’s website required a complete overhaul. It failed to meet current accessibility standards, wasn’t mobile-responsive and was running on an expensive legacy Content Management System. The organisation also managed orders and distributed documentation - processes that needed to not only be automated but also securely and easily managed.

The site offered users a fragmented visitor experience - weighed down by multiple design variations after being modified over time. In addition, many sections of the website presented duplicate and unnecessary information.

Following ANSTO’s merger with the Australian Synchrotron, redeveloping the site and simultaneously consolidating these two significant brands presented a golden opportunity.

The question was - how to create a streamlined, secure visitor experience under an amalgamated brand, whilst also future-proofing the site to match pace with advancements in nuclear science and technology?


Consolidating content from two websites

During the initial CMS development project, we made it easier for ANSTO to populate their new Drupal 8 site with content. This was achieved using tooling developed to migrate news and researcher content from the previous version of the ANSTO and Synchrotron sites into the updated Drupal 8 site.

Design System: A component-based approach

To refine the design approach and consolidate their user experience, ANSTO commissioned us to develop a component-based design system for their new site. This approach establishes order and consistency for any new additions to the site and gives them increased flexibility when they create new content pages. It also guides how users experience the ANSTO site.

Check out the ANSTO Style Guide

Innovation Precinct

Early in 2020, ANSTO needed a new and exciting landing page template. This was intended to promote their Innovation Precinct: designed as a meeting point between science, industry and community.

We were able to help ANSTO meet their communications goal in a tight timeframe by reusing existing components. The result was an inspiring and inclusive online hub that fosters new thinking and initiatives.

Future-proofing development projects to support the ANSTO site

Early in 2021, ANSTO undertook a series of linked website development projects. This began with a large-scale Single-Sign-On (SSO) integration using Azure AD.


As an Australian Government organisation, ANSTO is highly security-focused. Implementing a Single-Sign-On (SSO) system means that they can control which users have authenticated access to key sections of the website.

The integration was built with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). This is Microsoft’s industry-standard enterprise cloud-based identity and access management (IAM) solution, which integrates with Office 365 to manage user identities and permissions.

Delivery information portal

Implementing an SSO laid groundwork that means ANSTO can provide its customers with access to the personalised content they need.

Using the SSO, external health customers with profiles in the AzureAD system have access to up-to-date information on their shipments and deliveries. ANSTO site editors can log in with their internal ANSTO staff details to manage customer orders and delivery information.

Privileged documentation access

Also supported by SSO integration was the ACS Documentation API. This used the secure connection to provide accredited users with access to a documentation portal within the Drupal CMS.

Within the portal, users can review documentation and instruction manuals relevant to their needs. This gives ANSTO control over the information it shares but also cuts down on manual administration.

Hosting ANSTO on Skpr

The ANSTO website is hosted, managed and supported on our Drupal specialist cloud hosting platform, Skpr. Skpr is relied on by several other Australian Federal Government agencies and organisations, giving it a gold star in terms of reliability.

This hosting solution ticks many boxes for the organisation. The platform gives ANSTO peace of mind for the security and efficient running of their site. It also provides users with a reliable user experience that won’t collapse during high-volume traffic. And as the site grows, Skpr will grow with it.

Saving time and resources is another benefit of using one provider (and one point of contact) for all development, strategic, support, maintenance and hosting needs.

The Results

The launch of the new ANSTO website coincided with National Science Week. As a result, the team was able to present a site with a streamlined, consistent user experience and more interactive and secure options for accessing content.

The updated site allows internal content editors much more freedom and flexibility to build custom pages across the website by selecting the components of their choice.

The SSO integration gives ANSTO the ability to share information securely with external users. It also reduces their internal administrative load.

Our ongoing relationship with ANSTO provides another element of consistency to the site, as does the organisation’s choice of hosting platform. Skpr ensures that users can trust they are visiting a site that is secure, fast and reliable. It also provides scope for ANSTO to grow its digital presence well into the future without having to worry about exceeding its capacity.