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The Pawsey Partner Scheme supports the Pawsey partner institutions: CSIRO, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University and the University of Western Australia. The scheme provides significant amounts of compute time for meritorious projects led by researchers from these institutions. 

Staff from Western Australian Government Agencies who are conducting research or development are treated as belonging to a partner institution for the purpose of being eligible to access Pawsey services under the Partner Share.  Such staff are eligible to be Principal Investigator of Partner Share projects and contribute to the 50% FTE criteria.

The Pawsey Partner Scheme Call is published once a year in August/September for allocations in the coming year.

Available Resources

The Pawsey Partner Scheme is one of the Merit Allocation Schemes available on Setonix. The computational resources available to researchers through the Pawsey Partner Scheme will increase substantially with the delivery of Setonix Phase 2 in the second half of 2022. In 2022 researchers applying through the Pawsey Partner Scheme will apply separately for allocations on Setonix Phase 1 (first request) and Setonix Phase 2 (second request). 

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


First Request

full year

Second Request

2H 2022 pro rata

Pawsey Partner Merit Allocation SchemeScheme total capacity110M Service Units (SUs)

max. 190M Service Units

Minimum request size100k 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 July 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 for 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 for 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.

An additional 5,000,000 SUs will be set aside that can be applied for throughout the year by new project leaders that have recently become eligible for the scheme.  The set-aside amount will reduce pro rata through the year.

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 100,000 core hours in a year is less resource than if you buy your own 16-core workstation.  Applications for such a small allocation must specify why access to a supercomputer is necessary for the research. 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 second request and will increase to 2M SUs per year in 2023 when both CPU and GPU partitions of Setonix will be available for Merit Allocation Schemes.


  1. The Lead Chief Investigator (Lead CI) must hold a substantive position at a Pawsey Partner institution. A researcher undertaking a higher degree by research, or holding only an adjunct position, is not eligible to be a Lead CI.
  2. A researcher can be listed as Lead Chief Investigator or Chief Investigator on one application only. However, a researcher can appear as an “Other Project Participant” on multiple applications. This is to ensure that their track record is counted for one application only while encouraging collaborations between groups in different disciplines and universities.
  3. The applicant (the person who completes the application form) cannot be a student. Ideally, the Lead CI is the applicant.
  4. To be eligible for the Pawsey Partner scheme, at least 50% of the total FTE must be from among the Pawsey Partner institutions.
  5. Chief Investigators (CIs) of the project team may be staff at academic institutions or research organisations, including those located internationally as well as within Australia.
  6. Lead CI and CIs can work collaboratively on the proposal and must provide "Research Opportunity, Performance Evidence, Research Context and Experience in HPC" document, which contributes directly to the assessment score.
  7. Other Project Participants may be staff or students at academic institutions or research organisations, including those located internationally as well as within Australia.
  8. The use of Pawsey Project Infrastructure is conditional on complying with relevant laws and export controls, including the Australian Defence Trade Controls Act, United National Security Council (UNSC) sanctions regimes and the Australian autonomous sanctions regimes, and U.S. Export Controls.

Assessment Criteria

Applications are assessed against the following criteria. To be competitive, particularly for larger requests, it is crucial that applications are of a high standard and address all criteria. The research criteria have a combined weighting of 70%. The technical criteria have a combined weighting of 30%.

Note that the research criteria are flexible, and it is up to the applicant to make a strong case based on their track record and the research project.  For example, academic researchers will typically highlight their publication record and the scientific benefits of their research, whereas academics partnering with industry may choose to focus on industry grants and transformational benefits to the company of their work.  Patents may also form part of the track record and/or project outputs.

Project Quality and Innovation (research criteria, 30%)

  • Significance of the research
  • Originality and innovative nature of the computational framework
  • Advancement of knowledge through the goals of the proposed research

Investigators (research criteria, 15%)

  • Research record and performance

Appropriateness of Request (research criteria, 15%)

  • Justification of the size of the request
  • Usage relative to previous allocations
  • Current request relative to the previous usage
  • Capacity to complete the project successfully within the original request

Benefit and Impact (research criteria, 10%)

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

Suitability (technical criteria, 15%)

  • Method of parallelisation, including job packing, OpenMP, MPI
  • Footprint of workflow, including wall times, memory, storage, and transfers

Scalability (technical criteria, 15%)

  • Scale of workflow in terms of size and number of jobs

Partner Top-up Allocations

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

The top-up amount considered is the remaining requested allocation, without accounting for any allocation obtained via the NCMAS scheme.

Out of Session Requests

Applications for the Pawsey Partner scheme outside of the official call may be considered in exceptional cases.  These applications will be subject to the normal review criteria by the Pawsey Partner panel.  Allocations will terminate with those of the corresponding main call.  There is a cap of 1,200,000 core hours per project, which is reduced pro rata based on the months remaining in the year.

An example of an exceptional case is a newly recruited Project Leader into a Pawsey Partner institution.  Another example is if a significant industry collaboration is initiated after the primary call for applications.  The decision whether to accept an out of session application rests with the Chair of the Pawsey Partner panel.

Forgetting to apply or not being aware of the call for applications do not constitute exceptional cases.

Appeals Process

To maintain the integrity of the independent merit allocation process, the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre will not make adjustments to allocations made by the committee.  This also includes requests for extra time for a project throughout the year.

Appeals can be made against procedural issues, but not against decisions by the reviewers, review panels or Pawsey Executive Director.  Appeals should be emailed to

Application Form and Process

Applications for the Pawsey Partner scheme must be submitted online via the application portal, after the call commences and before the call closes.

To ensure Pawsey has the information needed to properly assess a proposal, a researcher should ensure that they:

  • meet the criteria of the call to which they are applying
  • read the call text carefully and aim to address all points of consideration
  • provide clear and complete information

More specifically, the application form requires the following information:

Merit Allocation submission requirements (Partner Scheme)
  1. Summary
    1. Title
    2. Project summary
    3. Research and computational classification
    4. List of participants (Lead Chief Investigator, Chief Investigators, Other Project Participants)
  2. Project Team - Chief Investigators 
    1. Research record
    2. List of publications for last five years
    3. Research funding information for the last five years
  3. Research Proposal
    1. Project description
    2. Computational methodology
    3. Applications, tools and libraries
    4. Resource and storage request - calculate service units, memory and data requirements
    5. Progress report (if continuing) 

A project should have the following defined:

  • time-frame (specified start and end point)
  • scientific goals
  • expected research impact
  • technical approach (including, software, hardware, tools and techniques)
  • resources (people effort and expertise)
  • cost (compute time and short-term storage requirements)

  • When evaluating a proposal, the selection panel considers the proposer’s performance in any previous compute-time awards they may have received – in terms of fulfillment of goals and use of allocated resources.
  • If a researcher has under-utilised a previous merit allocation, they should include an explanation of the reason for not using the allocated time.
  • Allocation of compute time on Pawsey resources remains the discretion of the Pawsey Executive Director; their decision regarding the assessment of a proposal or the allocation of compute time is final.
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