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The National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme (NCMAS) is Australia’s premier meritorious allocation scheme, spanning both national peak facilities as well as specialised compute facilities across the nation.

The NCMAS is open to the Australian research community, providing significant amounts of compute time for meritorious research projects.

The NCMAS is administered by the NCMAS secretariat.  

Please find below the link to the NCMAS application portal. Please refer to the official NCMAS communication about opening and closing dates of the call. 

Further information is available at

Available Resources

The NCMAS is is one of the Merit Allocation Schemes available on Setonix. Researchers will experience a substantial increase of computational resources available in the NCMAS scheme due to the delivery of Setonix Phase 2 in second half of 2022. In 2022 researchers applying through the NCMAS scheme will apply for allocations on Setonix Phase 1 (1st Request) and Setonix Phase 2 (2nd Request) separately. 

The applications will be open only for Setonix CPU partition allocations.

Resources available for first and second requests and minimum allocation sizes are presented in table 1. 

Table 1. Resources available for first and second requests


1st Request

full year

2nd Request

2H 2022 pro rata

National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme

Scheme total capacity

100M Service Units

max. 155M Service Units
Minimum request size250k Service Units1M Service Units

At the time of writing, the exact date of Setonix Phase 2 availability for researchers is not known. The maximum capacity in each scheme was calculated based on assumption that Setonix Phase 2 will become available from the beginning of second half of 2022. The actual allocation sizes for secondary requests will be scaled pro rata based on Setonix Phase 2 availability. Here are two example scenarios:

Example 1

Research group A applied and was awarded 2M SUs on Setonix Phase 1 and 10M SUs on Setonix Phase 2. Due to delays Setonix, Phase 2 became available for researchers on the first day of Q4 2022.  

The real allocation of research group A is:

  • 2M SUs on Setonix Phase 1 available throughout the year,
  • 5M SUs on Setonix Phase 2 available in Q4 2022.

Example 2

Research group B applied and was awarded 1M SUs on Setonix Phase 1 and 5M SUs on Setonix Phase 2. Setonix Phase 2 became available for researchers on the first day of 2H 2022. The real allocation of research group B is:

  • 1M SUs on Setonix Phase 1 available throughout the year,
  • 5M SUs on Setonix Phase 2 available in 2H 2022.

There is no maximum limit to the amount of time that can be requested. However, partial allocations may be awarded depending on the availability and demand for allocations within the scheme.

Note that 250,000 cores hours in a year is approximately the equivalent of two 16-core workstations.  Applications for such small allocations must specify why access to a supercomputer is necessary for the research, and based on the scoring criteria below such uses of the supercomputer are unlikely to be competitive against other applications who demonstrate they need the expensive interconnect.  Nimbus Documentation Landing Page is better suited to single-node applications, and has a light-weight application process. The minimum allocation size is higher for the 2nd Request and will increase to 2M Service Units per year in 2023 when both CPU and GPU partitions of Setonix will be available for Merit Allocation Schemes.

Other non-Pawsey resources are available under the NCMAS including NCI's Gadi supercomputer.

Assessment Criteria

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

Application Form and Process

Applications to the NCMAS are via online form at the NCMAS website,

Partner Top-up Allocations

Applications to the NCMAS that are not allocated the full request, and have a project leader that is eligible for the Pawsey Partner scheme but has not applied directly to that scheme, will be also be considered in the Pawsey Partner scheme for the remaining resource request.  This is subject to the conditions of the Pawsey Partner scheme.

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