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. currently funded through a national or international research grant;
2. funded by, or supports, a National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) capability, including ARDC (e.g. an ARDC Research Data Commons project);
3. grants from federal or state government departments or agencies for research projects that support industry, or university research that is directly or jointly funded by industry;
4. approved by the Nectar Allocation Committee as warranting a nationally prioritised allocation.
Most national allocations would be approved based on the first four merit criteria, however there may be other circumstances where a national allocation is appropriate. Allocation requests may be approved by the Nectar Allocation Committee if they do not meet the first three criteria, but instead meet one of the following guidelines:
- A project that was previously nationally funded (e.g. from NCRIS or a national research grant) and is still providing valued services to a national research community;
- A project that 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.
Note that if a project meets the above criteria for approval, it is not automatically entitled to a national allocation. In some cases it may be more suited to a local allocation.