National and Local Allocations on the Nectar Research Cloud

The Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) operates the Nectar Research Cloud in collaboration with Research Cloud Node organisations that host the cloud compute and storage infrastructure. Some of the cloud infrastructure is funded by the ARDC through the Commonwealth government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) to support national research priorities, and some infrastructure is funded by the Nodes to support their local priorities.

A request for a project resource allocation on the Nectar Research Cloud can be approved either as a national allocation by the Nectar Allocation Committee, or as a local allocation by a specific Node. Note that:

  • A national allocation can be used on the ARDC-funded cloud infrastructure of any Node.
  • A local allocation can only be used on the local cloud infrastructure of the Node that approved it.
  • Approval of a local allocation is entirely at the Node’s discretion. Typically a Node will only accept an allocation request as local if the researcher submitting the request is from an organisation that is a member of the Node, or that has some arrangement with the Node to use its resources.

The Research Cloud National Allocation Scheme (RC-NAS) policy specifies that a project allocation request can only be approved as a national allocation if the project meets one or more of the following criteria:

  1. it is funded through a national competitive research grant;
  2. it is funded by, or supports, a National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) capability, including ARDC, Nectar, ANDS, or RDS (e.g. a virtual laboratory);
  3. it is agreed by the Nectar Allocation Committee that it warrants a nationally prioritised allocation.

Most national allocations would be approved based on the first two merit criteria, however there may be other circumstances where a national allocation is appropriate. A request may be approved by the Nectar Allocation Committee if it does not meet the first two criteria, but instead meets one of the following guidelines:

  • A project with competitive grant funding from an overseas or international grant funding organisation;
  • A project that was previously nationally funded (e.g. from NCRIS or a national competitive research grant) and is still providing valued services to a national research community;
  • A project that requires a small amount of resource and is providing a valued national service that supports many researchers from multiple institutions; 
  • An important service where there are compelling reasons for running across multiple Nodes (e.g. high availability), with the agreement of those Nodes, and if the resource allocation is small.