Applying to the ADACS Merit Allocation Program

A detailed account of all aspects of the ADACS Merit Allocation Program can be found here.  However, read-on for everything you need to know to get started with the program.

Support Types

Two types of support are available through the ADACS Merit Allocation Program (ADACS MAP):

1)  Training Support

Members of the Australian astronomy community are invited to apply for personalised/bespoke face-to-face or online ADACS training. This can include requests to re-run, refine, or expand existing ADACS training material/workshops.

2) Software Support

Members of the Australian astronomy community can obtain access to the time and expertise of the ADACS team to design/start new software initiatives or to optimise/extend the capabilities of established ones.

Training can also be incorporated into these projects as well.  For new capabilities developed through an ADACS Software Support Project, examples of appropriate training include:

  • proper use of new tools/optimisations, etc. in HPC environments;
  • training in the use of technologies leveraged in the development cycle of the project (e.g. to enable science teams to conduct ongoing support, add further features, etc.)

How does the program work?

The allocation of all resources will be based on impact and scientific merit, with the final evaluation performed by the Astronomy Data and Computing Services Time Allocation Committee (ADACS TAC; see here for current committee membership).

To ensure effective and program-appropriate proposals, a three stage process is employed:

  1. EoI Submission:
    All researchers are asked to submit – at any time – an expression of interest (EoI).  We strongly encourage both successful and unsuccessful applicants from previous rounds to consider reapplying.  An ADACS staff member will then be in touch to organise a formative discussion.  This will be processed as soon as possible upon receipt.  See below for EoI submission requirements.
  2. Consultation Phase:
    ADACS will then interview the applicants, and in consultation with them, conduct a project audit.  The objectives of this process are to retire risk (particularly those inherent in projects with limited previous ADACS engagement); establish a reasonable scope; and inform an assessment of required resources.  ADACS resources for this are allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis.  These resources are limited, so we strongly advise submitting your EoI and engaging this process as early as possible.  Projects doing so should benefit more from this process and naturally be in a better position to secure meaningful resources on shorter timescales.
  3. Formal Application:
    Following this consultation, applicants will be invited to submit a formal application to be assessed by the ADACS TAC.  Calls are announced in April (for B-semester projects starting early-July) and September (for A-semester projects starting early-January), with final proposal deadlines occurring roughly 5 weeks afterwards.

Community reminders calling for EoI submissions will be made well in advance of final deadlines, in time for meaningful consultations to be conducted for prompt EoI submissions.

When considering applications to the ADACS MAP, please consider that all ADACS development will be open-source and as such, made publicly available.  In addition, resources generated for training projects will be kept inclusive, open and available to the broader community.  However, an opportunity to argue to the ADACS TAC against these policies is afforded to all applications.

Note that all applications – even for projects having seen significant past or ongoing ADACS engagement – must submit and EoI and participate in the consultation process for a final proposal to be considered valid.

EoI submission requirements

The purpose of EoI submissions is to signal your intent to participate in the program and to form a basis for a subsequent first discussion with ADACS. It is not a commitment to submitting a final application.  It should:

  1. be informative but not more than one page;
  2. present a concise description of the problem you are seeking to address (note that we are not interested in proposed solutions or implementation details at this stage); and
  3. for training projects, fall within the ADACS remit of teaching coding and computational best practices.

Please conform to the following format for submissions:

  • submit as a one-page pdf document;
  • clearly state at the top:
    • a working project title (can be changed at a later date);
    • which program you are expressing interest in: “Training Support” or “Software Support”; and
  • include the following sections:
    • Project Background: a one-paragraph description of the scientific background to the project; and
    • Project Problem Statement: a description – as you understand it – of the problem you are seeking ADACS help with (note: we are not looking for proposed solution or implementation details at this point).

EoI applications or enquiries (of any kind) regarding the ADACS Merit Allocation Program should be submitted via email to