Platforms Open Call FAQs
To ask a question please fill in the online form.
Reponses to questions will be made within 3 business days of submission.
|Eligibility||Who can submit an EOI or Proposal?||The Project Lead on a Proposal will need to have submitted an EOI for the proposed project, and be from: a higher education institution (specifically Higher Education Support Act 2003 Table A providers); one of the following Commonwealth publicly funded research agencies: AIATSIS, AIMS, ANSTO, CSIRO, DSTG, GA, BoM; state-based eResearch service providers (Intersect, QCIF, TPAC, and VicNode); or an NCRIS Facility. |
However, collaborators on proposals are not limited to these entities. For this reason, we encourage other potential collaborators to submit an Expression of Interest. This includes CRCs, MRIs, ARC Centres of Excellence, etc.
|Eligibility||ARDC used to fund a set of VL projects. With the platform open call, will you continue to support the existing VLs?||ARDC is making no commitment to funding existing VLs beyond the end of this year, this open call is a new funding program designed to attract new entrants. Existing VLs are welcome to put in proposals; they will get no favoured treatment compared to an unknown group.|
|Funding||How much money are you investing?||The total budget for the 2019 Open Call is $3M per calendar year, for three years (=$9M) (see graphic on right -->)|
|Funding||Do you have an expectation of how much funding each successful project will receive?||The funding awarded to each project depends on the size of the proposed project. Some proposals may request funding to reconfigure existing tools and services as micro services (a small, one or two year project), and others may propose a new platform for a very large research community, with 10 major organisations contributing different parts - a very large three year project.|
One of the most important determinants of potential funding is the requirement for (at least) 1:1 cash coinvestment - the project partners need to demonstrate that they have the resources to commit to the proposed project.
|Funding||What constitutes eligible co-investment?||At least an equivalent level of co-investment (1:1) to ARDC funding, over the total period of the project. Co-investment must be in an auditable form (in accordance with reporting and accountability requirements as specified by the Commonwealth Department of Education) and can be cash (from project partners or other grants), investment from other NCRIS Projects, or effort/labour. NOTE: if contributing effort/labour, work on the project must be a significant amount of the person’s time, i.e. 25% or more).|
|Funding||Is there any restriction on source of co-investment? i.e. can it come from other grants, NCRIS, or international partners?||There are no restrictions on the source of co-investment.|
|Funding||If an overseas University wanted to join up to the project, and put forward money, a) would that count are co-investment from ARDC’s point of view, and b) could some of the funds be given to those institutions for clearly defined contributions?||a) yes and b) yes - this would enhance international collaboration, which should lead to greater sustainability|
|Funding||What is the smallest project (in $$$ terms) that would be considered?||An ARDC investment of $50K would be acceptable, with 1:1 coinvestment from partners required.|
|Funding / Process||Should a project ask for all of the funds up front (for say 3 years), or do they tap into the new $3M funding made available each year?||New or subsequent open calls will be open to new projects (not previously funded in one of the previous Platforms Open Calls).|
|Process||If we have a major multi-year proposal in mind, does ARDC recommend submitting one large multiyear proposal but risk that scope changes will affect future years' activities, or yearly submissions that build on the past year's proposal, but risk the certainty of future funding?||Multiyear projects are funded with the understanding that three years is a long time, and the scope would probably change over time.|
|Process||If a partnership group have a number of service ideas that are different but related (e.g. niche services vs more generalist ones), would ARDC prefer to see multiple EOI's or one larger one?||Multiple EOIs are preferred, but please relate them to each other. At the RFP stage any RFPs received would need to be separately assessed|
|Process||If an EOI is not submitted for a project, can a proposal be submitted for that project in the RFP?||No, not for that particular project. However, collaborators are allowed to join a project in the RFP phase even if they were not included in the EOI.|
|Process||Do you plan to cull EOIs so not every proposed project goes to RFP?||We encourage EOIs to come together in proposal phase, but will not prevent projects moving from EOI to RFP.|
|Process||Will the funded projects have milestones, and interim reporting?||Yes, and projects would need to demonstrate hitting milestones to receive next payment|
|Process||What process will be used to measure whether an investment was successful?||ARDC will encourage measurable KPIs, with projects required to report against those.|
|Scope||Should intended use and users of the Platform be restricted to just research and researchers or could users include Govt, industry and general community?||A Platform with relevance to goverment, industry and general community is acceptable. Use by commercial entities for RESEARCH is acceptable, but not for operations.|
|Scope||Where's the line between "re-engineering" and "buliding a new platform”?||Re-engineering will be interpreted as taking an existing Platform (with a defined set of features, that is already well supported by a community of users) and updating the foundations (i.e. move to micro-services architecture or use of shared services) - but please talk to us about this if you have specific questions|
|Scope||If we are collaborating across various organisations in developing a data platform, we will need to spend some time in setting up rules, standards and protocols for data management. This is expected to take time and effort - would this be included as part a funded project?||Work setting up communities is a necessary and therefore fundable activity|
|Scope||Does this call support scoping exercises if the organisation does not yet clearly know what might be the best fit in terms of adoption or adaptation of platforms?||Possibly, although ARDC is undertaking a deliberate case of engagement for underrepresented communities, and this type of work may be better supported in this way, rather than by funding in the open call.|
|Scope||Are data-focused activities out of scope for this stream of funding? e.g. an activity to bring together new data which could then be accessed by a platform?||The focus of the Platforms program funding has to be on the Platform; the Data & Services program focuses on data.|
|Scope||What is meant by a Platform? is a VL a platform?||A continually running instance of an application usable by many users is often called a service. Increasingly, such services are available through cloud platforms.|
For the purposes of this call we define a Platform as a set of services, often with associated integration and/or orchestration functions, as well as connections to specific data resources, that are intended to enable researchers to carry out some of their research activities.
Platforms are often designed to meet the needs of particular communities. Data-Enhanced Virtual Laboratories, a previous ARDC program, are instances of eResearch platforms.
|Scope||What exactly can the funding be used for? Computing equipment?, data storage hardware? technician/sysadmin salary? funding to buy cloud access for date/compute?||Funding can be used for salaries, to purchase access to compute, and for community building and training activities. Funding under the Platforms program is not for purchasing hardware and equipment. ARDC is separately funding open call for storage and compute, so those resources should be used.|
|Scope||Can Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) products be part of a solution?||As a small part of the project, yes (i.e. if it’s 90% of the solution, no, if it’s 10% yes - talk to Andrew Treloar for defining line)|
|Scope||Can you please clarify how the ARDC views training, engagement and FAIR under the current platforms call?||Training, engagement (presumably with actual/potential users), and FAIRness are all desirable but not mandatory elements of responses to the current platforms call.|
|Scope||Regarding FAIR data, what level of resourcing can be put towards different activities around FAIR: 1) improving FAIRness of datasets/collections (e.g. by working directly on the data collections); 2) improving awareness and support for FAIR (e.g. by engagement and training), and 3) deploying a Platform (or tool on a Platform) that enables/facilitates making data FAIR (e.g. a data collection tool that uses standard formats, or something that made it easy to apply controlled vocabs)?||As this is a Platforms open call, the focus of the funding has to be on the Platform. For this reason, activity #3 would be in scope, while #1 and #2 could only be a minor part of the total project.|
|Scope||I imagine there are activities or items that ARDC does not want to fund under this call. However, would ARDC consider it negative to propose to fund that item under the co-contribution, assuming we are able to make an argument for it being important to a coherent and comprehensive overall proposal?||If (i) the co-investing organisation was prepared to invest in this element and (ii) there was a convincing argument that removing this element would have a negative impact on the overall platform then this would be acceptable.|
|Sustainability||What do you expect will happen to the platforms after this 3 year funding period? How will platform longevity look? ie. beyond 3 years||One of the selection criteria is the project's answer to sustainability; if ARDC funding is required to remain sustainable, the project will be ranked lower.|