NCMAS Frequently Asked Questions


1.01 - Can I resubmit my application from the previous NCMAS call (2017) with minor changes and updates?

Yes. The web forms system will pre-populate an application with content from the NCMAS 2017 call, if available. Note, however, that all CI's on your project should update their career profiles and research track records, and you should update the proposal to reflect any developments or changes with the project. Re-submission of a previous proposal without updates to reflect progress is not recommended. 

1.02 - When is the deadline to submit an application?

The NCMAS 2018 application deadline is 20:00 (8pm) AEDT Friday 20 October 2017.

1.03 - Can I request an extension of the application deadline if it coincides with a travel or work commitment, such as an overseas conference?

No. If you have commitments at or near the deadline date your best option is to submit your application as soon as possible during the call.

1.04 - If I have a draft application in the NCMAS system at the time of the submission deadline, will I be allowed time to finish and submit my application?

No. Applications in the system in draft form cannot be submitted after the deadline.

1.05 - Can I delegate preparation of my NCMAS application to a member of my research group?

Yes. Use the system to promote your designated group member to a Delegate Lead CI role on your project. This role will allow the person to edit and submit the application without inclusion of his/her career profile information in the final application. 

1.06 - The outcome of my ARC or NHMRC grant proposal is expected to be announced during the NCMAS call. How do I include this ARC/NHMRC outcome in my application?

Research grant outcomes announced in October-November which are relevant to your NCMAS application can be submitted as an addendum. Submit the addendum to and include the text "NCMAS 2018 APPLICATION ADDENDUM" in your email subject line.

1.07 - Is it possible to transfer my project to another Lead CI?

Yes. The recommended process is as follows:

    1. The new Lead CI should register and join the project in the system.
    2. You (as Lead CI) should promote the new Lead to the Lead CI role on the project.
    3. You should demote your self to a (regular) CI role, or remove yourself from the project, per your preference.

1.08 - Does the length limit for the proposal apply to the proposal and references?

The recommended length is for the body of the proposal. NCMAS proposal length recommendations are rough guidelines, which are designed to help capture appropriate levels of detail and ensure larger resource requests have sufficient scientific and technical justification. The forms system does not enforce a word/size limit. 

1.09 - Can I request fewer cpu-hours than the lower limit for a given facility?

No. If your request is smaller than the lower limit for the facility of interest you should consider submitting an application to a facility partner scheme instead of NCMAS. Partner schemes offer more flexibility to accommodate smaller requests and generally require a less extensive application than NCMAS. Partner schemes also offer the ability to request resources at any time.

1.10 - The NCMAS application form asks for a justification of my request for compute resources. How can I justify my request?

A highly competitive application would typically contain evidence of computational efficiency, and information about how important software applications scale and parallelise on the national HPC facilities. If your application(s) or workflow contain performance bottlenecks it will be worthwhile to mention these and discuss potential improvements or workarounds. The Committee considers the justification of the resource request to be an essential element of your application. Omitting the resource justification will significantly reduce your application's competitiveness.

1.11 - I was unable to fully utilise my 2017 NCMAS allocation (to Q3) due to unforeseen circumstance or external dependencies. Can I apply to NCMAS 2018?

Yes, however in your application you should clearly explain the circumstances which led to under-utilisation of your 2017 allocation, and provide a strong justification of your 2018 resource request.

1.12 - The NCMAS forms system provides only 15 research grant entries. How can I provide details for more than 15 grants?

Use the 15 available slots in the form for your most recent or relevant grants. Additional grants may be submitted in an addendum document. Submit the addendum to and include the text "NCMAS 2018 APPLICATION ADDENDUM" in your email subject line.

1.13 - Can I submit my proposal as a PDF document instead of typing directly into the web form?

Yes. The web form provides a link to upload a proposal document. The upload widget is located above the proposal type-in area on page 3 of the web form. Note that if you upload your proposal as a PDF, you will still need to complete the other questions on the web form.

1.14 - I discovered errors in my recently submitted NCMAS application. Can I correct these errors before my application is assessed?

NCMAS submissions are final, as noted in the guidelines. You may submit an addendum or errata for you application via email to Include the text "NCMAS 2018 ADDENDUM" or "NCMAS 2018 APPLICATION ERRATA" in your email subject line.

1.15 - Last year I made a mistake and completed a project registration in the system but did not complete the full proposal in the system. How can I avoid this problem in the 2018 call?

Read the instructions in the how-to-apply documentation in full, and ensure that you complete your new project registration and the full proposal at Contact if you run into any difficulties in the application process.

1.16 - I have a question that's not listed in this FAQ. How can I get an answer?

Email if you have any questions about NCMAS. 


2.01 - I am a research student, and my supervisor has asked me to submit an application to NCMAS. What should I do?

As a research student you are not eligible to apply for NCMAS. You should advise your supervisor that he/she should check eligibility conditions and apply, including you as a Researcher on the project team.

2.01 - As a Lead CI, I wish to delegate preparation of my NCMAS application to a senior member of my group. How do I do this?

Promoting a team member to a Delegate Lead CI role on your project will grant them access to the NCMAS online application system. Promotion is done through the online registration system at :

    1. log in to
    2. go to your project listing (click on project name - in blue)
    3. select your delegate's name (click on name)
    4. use the Change tab to change the person's role to Delegate Lead CI
    5. submit the change.

2.03 - I collaborate closely with a research group at another university. Can I be included as a Chief Investigator on my collaborator's NCMAS application?

No. An individual can be a Chief Investigator or Lead Chief Investigator on one NCMAS application only.

2.04 - I have recently started a Postdoctoral appointment and wish to submit an application to NCMAS. What should I do?

You are eligible to apply to NCMAS, however you will be expected to demonstrate that you have independent research funding support, such as an ARC DECRA or similar award. Applications which do not provide evidence of independent research funding will be disqualified before merit assessment. Postdoctoral researchers who wish to develop HPC expertise should consider applying to partner and/or facility (Startup) schemes.

2.05 - I have recently resumed my research career after a period of interruption. Am I eligible to apply to NCMAS?

You are eligible to apply as a Special Consideration provided your research work has resumed within the last five (5) years, and your PhD was awarded within the previous nine (9) years. Please also note that Special Consideration applications are expected to demonstrate independent funding support.

2.06 - I am a Research Scientist employed at an Australian Government science agency (e.g. ANSTO, BoM, CSIRO, DST, Geoscience Australia). Am I eligible to apply?

Yes, however applicants from Australian Government agencies are expected to hold a position of CSOF5 (or equivalent) or higher. 

2.07 - Our research group pursues several related compute-intensive research projects, with each research thread led by a different member of the group. Can we submit individual NCMAS applications for each body of work in the combined research effort?

No. The group should submit a single, combined application to NCMAS. Note that an individual may be Lead CI or CI on one application only, so individual applications submitted in this case would be ruled non-compliant.

2.08 - I am an experimentalist who wishes to use NCMAS to supplement my research with theory/computation. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. Your application should aim to demonstrate HPC expertise of your group and clearly describe how computation will contribute to your research plan. 

2.09 - I am a new research faculty/Postdoctoral appointment, but do not yet have a track record of funding support. Am I eligible to apply?

NCMAS applicants are expected to demonstrate a record of independent funding support. NCMAS recommends that you also investigate HPC resourcing through your local institution, which may have an active partnership with one or more of the NCMAS facilities: NCI, Pawsey Centre, MASSIVE,  and UQ/FlashLite. A resource allocation from your institution can be a vehicle for development of HPC expertise, with a view toward a future NCMAS application.


3.01 - How many assessors will review my application?

The number of assessors for an application will depend on the total resource request. Small applications will usually be assigned one assessor. Large applications may be assigned up to 4-5 assessors. Applications which request more than 4 MSU/year will also be reviewed by the Chair and Deputy Chair.

3.02 - Will I see feedback on my application from assessors?

Generally yes, however the responsibility to provide feedback and comments lies with each assessor. Not all assessors will be able to provide detailed comments on all applications, because of the relatively large assessment workload for the committee in October-November.

3.03 - Can I appeal if I disagree with the feedback/comments on my application?

No. Appeals can only be made on administrative grounds.

3.04 - My application has been assessed and my allocation for 2018 determined, and feedback on my application from assessors is not sufficiently detailed, in my opinion. Why can't I have more extensive critique of my application?

Each member of the Committee will assess somewhere between 20 and 50 applications, depending on his/her area of expertise. Assessors do not have time to provide detailed feedback on every proposal. The Secretariat, will, however, endeavour to capture relevant comments and feedback on each application during the Allocation Committee meeting and summarise these for the applicant. 


4.01 - Why have my previous NCMAS allocations been less than the amount requested?

Allocations are determined by the Committee based on the merit of the proposal and track record of the project and its CI's. Allocations are highly competitive; demand for cpu-hours has exceeded supply by a factor of x2-3 in recent NCMAS calls. The Committee will also adjust allocations to attempt to optimise usage of the NCMAS resource pool each year. 

4.02 - My NCMAS 2017 application for a new project was unsuccessful. Why didn't I receive an allocation?

In most cases applications are not successful for one of the following reasons:

    1. not eligible;
    2. non-compliant or incomplete application;
    3. poor conception or development of proposal;
    4. no demonstration of peak-scale HPC requirement; 
    5. poor justification of resource request.

New applications to NCMAS should, if possible, demonstrate a track record of effective use and ability at one or more of the facilities through one or more partner or facility schemes. 

4.03 - Why do some projects receive large NCMAS allocations, at or above the publicised maximum allocation value?

The Committee will consider allocation of more than ~4 MSU/year only to applications which demonstrate exceptional and sustained track records of HPC utilisation, and which make a compelling case for HPC resources at this scale. Projects in this category typically present well documented resource requests with compelling justification, and with extensive details of methodology, workflows, application performance and scaling. These projects also have strong records of successful grant proposals and research output.

4.04 - My project expects to use its compute allocation at specific periods during 2018, and to have some corresponding periods of low usage. Can I request that my allocation be installed nonuniformly across Q1-Q4 2018 to accommodate this?

Nonuniform installation of a compute allocation is at the discretion of the facility. Generally, facilities can accommodate minor variations in quarterly allocations, however they will not be able to install the allocation for a project into just one or two quarters, for example. Applicants should engage with the specific facilities to discuss options for nonuniform allocations.

4.05 - In 2017 I used up my allocations before the end of each quarter. Can I request supplemental allocations if I face a similar situation in 2018?

NCMAS is unable to provide supplemental allocations because it is heavily oversubscribed. Supplemental allocations should be sought from partner schemes if additional resources are needed during the year. Also note that some facilities provide bonus time (or similar) to allow a project to use spare cpu-hours at reduced priority after the project has exhausted its primary allocation.


5.01 - If my 2018 application is not successful can I appeal the outcome?

Decisions of the Allocation Committee are final; there is no general right of appeal against a decision of the Committee. An administrative appeal may be submitted in cases where an error has been made by the Secretariat, Facilities or the Committee. 

5.02 - Who decides the outcome of an administrative appeal?

Administrative appeals are decided by the Allocation Committee Chair, with the assistance of the Secretariat.