Call for Expressions of Interest: National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme Committee Membership

National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme (NCMAS)

Merit Allocation Committee Membership — Call for Expressions of Interest


The National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme (NCMAS) provides access, based on research and computational merit, for researchers at Australian universities and publicly-funded research agencies, to resource shares at the major national computational facilities. These facilities have been developed through substantial infrastructure investments in recent years by the Commonwealth Government (under its NCRIS and Super Science programs), with the operations of these facilities being supported by established collaborations which involve research universities and national agencies.

For 2017, allocations will be available at the two peak national supercomputer installations, NCI and the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, and other more specialised facilities to be advised.

Role of the National Computational Merit Allocation Committee (NCMAC)

Resource allocations are made by an independent peer-review committee (NCMAC), the secretariat services for which are provided by NCI from its base at the Australian National University in Canberra.

Committee members will be appointed for a four-year term with half of the Committee being renewed every two years.  A Deputy Chair and Chair will be appointed for a two-year term from the Committee’s membership.

The committee considers applications, which are made online, according to the Assessment Criteria:

Assessment Criteria for the NCMAS

The current Assessment Criteria are set out below and may be updated from time to time:

Criterion 1: Project quality and innovation

  • Significance of the research
  • Originality and innovative nature of the computational framework
  • Advancement of knowledge through the goals of the proposed research
  • Potential for the research to contribute to Australian science, research and innovation priorities

Criterion 2: Investigator records

  • Research record and performance relative to opportunity (publications, research funding, recognition and esteem metrics)

Criterion 3: Computational feasibility

  • Adequacy of the time commitment of investigators to undertake the research and utilise the resources successfully
  • Suitability of the system to support the research, and an appropriate and efficient use of the system
  • Capacity to realise the goals of the project within the resources request
  • Appropriate track record in the use of high-performance computing systems, relative to the scale of the resources requested

Criterion 4: Benefit and impact

  • Ability of the project to generate impactful outcomes and produce innovative economic, environmental and social benefits to Australia and the international community

NCMAC Meeting

An annual meeting of the NCMAC is conducted in Canberra, usually in late November/early December.  In 2016 this meeting will be held on Monday November 28 and Tuesday November 29 at ANU.  Committee members are required to attend the meeting. Additional meetings may be convened by teleconference on an ad hoc basis.

Call for Expressions of Interest: Membership of the Merit Allocation

There is a need to both renew and expand the membership of the current NCMAC.

Accordingly, expressions of interest are sought for the National Computational Merit Allocation Committee from suitably qualified and experienced researchers (including early- and mid-career researchers) who hold substantive appointments at Australian universities or publicly-funded research organisations.

Applications are welcomed from appropriately qualified researchers in any computationally- and data-intensive research fields of science and engineering.

However, areas in which experience and skills, required to balance the expertise of the committee are specifically sought are:

  • life sciences—including genomics and bioinformatics, also overlapping with computational chemistry
  • computational fluid dynamics and computational engineering;
  • earth systems science (atmosphere, ocean, climate), and the environment more broadly
  • geosciences (including geophysics, geochemistry and earth observation);
  • computational physics (including high-energy physics, optics, astrophysics)
  • computational mathematics; and
  • materials physics, chemistry and engineering.

Please note that membership of the Committee is honorary. However, travel and accommodation expenses, associated with attendance at meetings, of the Committee are provided for.

Selection Criteria

Expressions of interest will be assessed, in the first instance, according to the following knowledge and experience criteria:

  • Research excellence: strength and significance of research achievements, relative to career opportunities, with relevant evidence including a record comprising significant publications in high-impact journals, and success in attracting competitive research funding;
  • Knowledge/experience in computational and/or data-intensive science: demonstrated expertise in a relevant field of computational and/or data-intensive science, including personal achievements in the application of large-scale computing facilities and/or data-intensive methods, and, as appropriate, the development and implementation of software.
  • Breadth of experience/knowledge: capacity to contribute broadly to the work of the committee (in both research and computational assessments), and, particularly, in areas that may be outside of the applicant’s immediate field of expertise.


Committee Balance

The Merit Allocation Committee is required to have a mix of skills to be able to assess the balance of applications that are submitted to the NCMAS. Accordingly, committee balance is an additional criterion which necessarily overlays the knowledge/experience criteria above.  The principle of committee balance will also be influenced by a desire to enhance the diversity of the committee (eg with respect to gender and geographic location of members).

Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Considerations

Members of the NCMAC may be applicants to the NCMAS, and are indeed encouraged to apply, thereby demonstrating currency of their expertise and experience. However, committee members who are applicants to the NCMAS cannot be associated with the assessment of their own applications, or those of members of their research group(s), or of other applicants with whom they have published recently (i.e., within the past five years). Any such conflicts must be declared when assessment tasks are being assigned.

Members of the NCMAC must treat information contained in applications and NCMAC discussions as confidential.

To maintain the integrity of its decision-making processes, the NCMAS operates independently of the operators of the facilities on which resources are granted. While staff members of the individual facilities provide advice to the Committee, they cannot be members of the Committee, in order to avoid conflicts of interest, or perceptions thereof.

Expressions of Interest

If you:

  • Believe you are well placed to contribute to the work of the National Computational Merit Allocation Committee, and
  • Share the vision of the major national computational facilities, and that of their co-investing partners, of wanting to provide access on research merit to world-class facilities through a respected and transparent allocation process,

please consider submitting an Expression of Interest.

Expressions of Interest must comprise:

  • A curriculum vitae which includes a full list of publications and competitive grant funding;
  • A brief statement (of not more than one page) of your relevant expertise,

and must be:

For further information, please contact the NCMAS Secretariat at

NCMAS Secretariat
1 July 2016

Further information is available here

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