National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme

National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme

The National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme(NCMAS) enables researchers from all over Australia to access commonwealth-funded high performance compute facilities on merit, regardless of their location. The National Computational Merit Allocation Committee will undertake assessments of requests for computational and data storage resources, and determine allocations of computational and data storage resources for open access shares on facilities in the national computational fabric which are open to researchers from publicly-funded research institutions.

NCMAS Facilities and Services

In 2013, the resources which are available through the NCMAS comprise:

NCI National Facility systems     iVEC@Murdoch and iVEC@UWA supercomputer systems
NCI Specialised Facility in Bioinformatics     Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative (VLSCI)
MASSIVE - NCI Specialsed Facility in Imaging and Visualisation      

There will be no charge for use of computational resources allocated by the National Computational Merit Allocation Committee.

Who May Apply

Subject to the conditions of use as required by each of the facilities under the NCMAS, researchers at Australian higher education institutions and public sector research organisations (Commonwealth, State and Territory) may apply to the NCMAS for access to computational and data resources.

No commercially oriented work can be undertaken using resources of the NCMAS. Such requirements must be addressed only through the commercial access provisions of each of the facilities.

Postgraduate students cannot be Lead Chief Investigators, so must be included in applications submitted by their supervisor(s). Successful applicants and their project team members are eligible to use the allocations awarded by the National Computational Merit Allocation Committee.

The National Computational Merit Allocation Committee has a policy of one project per Lead Chief Investigator. However it is possible for the lead chief investigator to be connected to other researchers' projects in addition to having their own project.


The main call for applications to the National Merit Allocation Scheme is made annually in October for allocations to start the following January. Allocations are made for up to 12 months at a time. There may also be a mid-term call in April for NEW projects for the July to December period. This is to bring such new applicants in line with the main call.

Applications may be submitted at any time when there are reasons for not being able to submit at the time of the calls. Such applications may ask for resources for a period of less than a year to bring the project into line with the normal January allocation round.

Details and forms to apply for allocations can be found here.

National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme

National Computational Merit Allocation Committee has been established to determine allocations under this scheme. The membership of the National Computational Merit Allocation Committee is given here.

The National Computational Merit Allocation Committee assesses the applications according to the criteria given here.

National and international referees may be contacted by the National Computational Merit Allocation Committee. Applicants may nominate referees but the use and choice of referees is at the discretion of the National Computational Merit Allocation Committee. Applicants may also nominate persons who should not be contacted with respect to their application.

A representative of each of the contributing facilities will attend meetings of the National Computational Merit Allocation Committee to provide technical advice.

Conditions and Entitlements of Access

Users are expected to access the contributing facilities via AARNet ("on-net"). Data transfers to or from facilities which are "on-net" do not incur extra charges. Data transfers to the facilities which come in "off-net" incur a charge of about $5.50 per 10**9 bytes. The contributing facilities reserve the right to charge for excessive off-net data traffic as a condition of access to the facilities. The AARNet site has a page which can be used to query the off vs on net status of an IP address. The contributing facilities will cover the AARNet charges that they incur, but users must pay for any communications charges billed directly to them from AARNet and any other communications organisations.

Users will also have access to assistance from the professional staff of the contributing facilities, and should consult the web pages of those facilities for help information.

Researchers should be aware that the allocations awarded are entitlements to a resource share. While every effort will be made to fully support projects granted allocations it is not possible to guarantee full utilisation due to a combination of scheduling, networking and other capacity issues. Projects with large allocations of resources must be administered so that the share is consistently and uniformly used throughout the quarterly allocation periods. If this not done it compromises both that share and the optimal utilisation of the facility as a whole.

Researchers must abide by the conditions of use policies. An additional policy of the NCMAS is that each Lead Chief Investigator have only the one project on any of the facilities, and wherever sensible, the same project across all the facilities resource is being applied for. The Super-Projects concept provides for multiple projects within a research group to be grouped together. This has benefits for both the assessing committee, and the project holders.

Applicants must obtain approval from an authorised delegate of their employer to indicate that resources at the employer's institution are available to support the application.

Successful applicants will be required to provide reports on their use of the contributing facilities.


In accepting an allocation of resources through the NCMAS, applicants agree to provide an appropriate acknowledgement of the scheme and the facility in work that is published, or in any opprtunities may arise in publicising the research. An acceptable statement of acknowledgement for inclusion in reseach publication would be "This work was supported by <Reseach Funding Agency / Program> and by computational resources on the <Name of Facility> through the National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme.

NCMAS resources comprise Australian Government-funded infrastucture through the NCRIS and Super Science programs administered by the Department of Innovation Industry, Science and Research, and operations and services funded by major partners of the collaborations (NCI, iVEC, UQ, MASSIVE, VLSCI) which operate the respective facilities