National Computational Infrastructure


Application criteria

Assessment of Applications


The collections assessment structure  is summarised below.
It comprises:

  • Tier 1 (the higher tier), which is formally the Allocation Committee, comprising partner Board members (or their delegates), together with an independent chair from the Board providing allocation recommendations to the node operator (i.e., NCI), and overarching oversight of the program in a manner that:
    • Balances the funding/resources across the various fields/disciplines in the national interest, including alignment with the commitment of resources from node partners (presently through the NCI Collaboration); and
    • Provides a governance framework that accords with the Node Proposal, and the requirements of the NCI Board.
    • Tier 2, referred to as the Assessment Panel, which focuses on the assessments of research merit, and the technical practicality of supporting, the proposed collections, in alignment with the requirements of the ReDS Schedule of the Node Agreement.

The Terms of Reference for each of these tiers is outlined below.

  • Tier 1—Assessment of National Benefit / Alignment with Node Collection Policy:
    • Considers reports from the Tier 2 assessments (see below);
    • Makes recommendations to the Node Subcontractor with respect to the balance of resources/funding to be assigned to each field/discipline in the national interest, and in alignment with the collections policy and focus of the Node;
    • Confirms or varies Tier 2 recommendations concerning priorities and collections to be supported from the initial and subsequent tranches of ReDS funding;
    • Receives reports (from the node operator) with regard to progress in the implementation and ingestion of collections, and, as necessary modifies earlier allocations;
    • Seeks input, as may be required from time to time, from the Tier 2 advisory structures on particular matters relating to:
      • Implementation issues (perhaps also requiring input from the node operator);
      • Additional datasets, e.g., mirrors of datasets from major international collections, that might be required to develop a coherent collection in a particular field; and
      • Other matters on which advice may be required.
      • Tier 2—Discipline and Practicality Assessment of Collections proposed in each field:
        • Provides expert assessment of the research merits of proposals for collections, taking into account the ReDS guidelines (importance to current/future research, relevance to a variety of researchers, accessibility, discoverability, its use as an input to research of at least one participant organisation, etc.);
        • With expert technical advice from the node operator and staff from partner organisations, considers the practicality (including cost and support implications) of implementing and supporting the collection, taking into account a range of matters (practicality, the cost of providing access, any special requirements for serving the data etc.), and identifying any limitations/constraints that need to be drawn to the attention of the Tier 2 assessment;
        • Where possible, seeks to determine a broad categorisation/ranking of the value, significance and impact of the proposed dataset/collection in a particular field, and, in doing so, provides advice to the Tier 1 allocations function in terms of the priority, or order, in which proposed collections should be ingested (for that field), in the event that funding, or other resource limitations, restrict the collections that can be supported under ReDS funding;
        • Provides advice to Tier 1 (i.e., the Allocation Committee), as may be required, and particularly with respect to implementation issues.

Membership of the Allocation Committee and Assessment Panel

The following table outlines the membership of the Allocation Committee (Tier 1) and the Assessment Panel (Tier 2), as advised thus far.


Allocation Committee

Assessment Panel


Chair: Prof. Robin Stanton (nominee of the Chair, NCI Board)

Convenor: Dr Ben Evans, Associate Director (Research Engagement and Initiatives), NCI


Prof. Alan Carey
Mathematical Sciences Institute


Prof. Geoffrey Bicknell
Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, ANU, and others on an ad hoc basis to augment the expertise of the Panel



Mr David Toll
(CIO, CSIRO and NCI Board Member)

Dr Alf Uhlherr
Executive Manager, CSIRO ASC, and one other substantive member to be confirmed, with additional members appointed on an ad hoc basis to augment the expertise of the Panel

Bureau of Meteorology

Dr Peter May
(Deputy Director CAWCR, and Delegate of NCI Board Member, Dr Neville Smith)

Dr Kamal Puri (Alternate)

Dr Michael Naughton

Mr Tim Pugh

Geoscience Australia

Mr Antony Stinziani
(CIO, GA, and Delegate of NCI Board Member, Dr Chris Pigram)

Dr Lesley Wyborn and/or Mr Damian Hart
(as core members) with other subject experts available as required

Independent Members


Two independent members to be sought from cognate organisations to enhance and balance the expertise available to the assessment process

ARC Centre of Excellence in Climate System Science:
Prof. Nathan Bindoff—nominee of Prof. Andy Pitman, Director

Astronomy Australia Limited:
Dr Jessica Chapman, CSIRO (CASS)—nominee of the AAL CEO, Mr Mark McAuley


Dr Ben Evans,
as Convenor of the Assessment Panel, in the capacity of Advisor to the Allocation Committee

Prof Lindsay Botten
(Director, NCI) as Principal Contact for the RDSI Node


Technical representation to be nominated by
Mr Allan Williams
Associate Director (Services and Technologies), NCI

 Assessment Criteria (merged Generic RDSI and Specific Node Requirements)


  • Significance and merit, i.e., as being of importance as an input to current and future research.
  • Utility/Usefulness, i.e., of relevance to research questions for a variety of researchers, with the use of utility being assessed relative to the impact of the research of such communities.
  • Discoverability, i.e., through registration (either at the point of ingestion, or in alignment with a subsequent, agreed milestone) in discipline/domain registries, or generic registries such as Research Data Australia.
  • Accessibility, i.e., available for the purposes of research, subject to appropriate access rules (e.g., registration, authorisation, embargoing process etc.).
  • Practicality, i.e., including consideration of the size of the collection relative to its utility, the extent of the costs, and the work, associated with establishing and maintaining the collection, unless there is support available from the custodian to defray the costs and effort involved.

Node Specific

  • Application for ReDS support derives from an agreed source, i.e., from a major partner or agreed cognate organisation, or other source as agreed by the NCI Board on advice from the Allocation Committee.
  • Accords with the priorities / specialisations of the node, i.e., making accessible collections of national agencies, might reasonably exploit the high-performance environment available at NCI (as appropriate), etc.
  • Accords with the collection foci of the node, i.e., in alignment with either the:
    • National foci in climate and earth system science, astronomy and the geosciences—with data being accepted from the sustaining partners and designated, cognate organisations and centres more broadly.
    • Partner foci in the biosciences, physical sciences, social sciences and humanities—with data being accepted from sustaining partners and cognate organisations, subject to the agreement of the NCI Board.

In Collaboration With