The ARDC platforms program seeks to increase the number of researchers with access to platforms, both in terms of absolute number and in terms of diversity of disciplines.

Applicants are encouraged to pursue reuse of existing platforms, components, and approaches, including engaging with those projects that were successful in the 2019 open call. The 2020 platforms open call complements the Australian Data Partnerships open call, which seeks to establish or develop national scale data assets to support leading edge research.

EOI submissions closed 24th July 2020 and can now be viewed here. You may download the full program documentation, view the frequently asked questions, or submit a question.

Request for Proposal documentation is available for download [PDF 312KB]. We recommend you prepare your proposal using the editable version of the proposal questions [DOC 564KB] and then copy and paste into the submission form.

Approach

We are taking a two-stage approach to making investments in platforms. The first stage will be a call for expressions of interest (EOIs) followed later by a request for proposals (RFP).

EOI phase

The EOI phase is intended to identify potential collaborations between researchers, research infrastructure providers, research organisations and communities around proposed platform investments, to maximise each platform’s potential impact. EOIs will be made public on the ARDC website and ARDC will actively broker discussions between similar EOIs so that combined proposals can be developed and submitted in the RFP phase. We will also provide clear feedback on whether the EOI is in-scope and approved to proceed to the RFP phase. We will also be running a series of webinars to assist research communities to understand the platforms opportunity and best position themselves to submit a proposal.

RFP phase

The RFP phase is a competitive call and will only be open to those who submitted a successful EOI, and their collaborators.

computing platform
compute, cloud, storage, security
compute platform

Timeline

The table below provides an indicative time frame for these activities, noting that the ongoing impact of COVID-19 is impossible to forecast and may result in significant changes over time.

ActivityDate
Full Platforms Open Call 2020 Documentation available11 June 2020
Webinar: Platforms Open Call 2020 Q&A Webinar18 June 2020
Webinar: Introduction to the first round of Platforms Projects24 June 2020
Expressions of Interest (EOI) in Platforms Program (opens-closes)7 - 24 July 2020
Request for Proposals (RFP) for Platforms Program (opens-closes)1 - 18 Sept 2020
Proposals evaluated by a panel comprising ARDC staff and external experts and announcement of successful proposalsMid November 2020
Contracts sent out to successful projectsDecember 2020
Projects beginJanuary 2021

Scope

The broad scope for this call is platform solutions that enable researchers to find, collect or generate data, analyse those data, and produce outputs that are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR). For projects that primarily focus on establishing or improving data collections, where the data asset itself is the main output of the project, the Australian Data Partnerships Open Call may be more appropriate. In that call the ARDC will partner with stakeholders to establish and develop national data assets to support leading edge research, by delivering improvements to data quality, standards, discoverability, deposit/capture workflows, policy and governance arrangements.

Submitters of proposals should ensure that they respect the NCRIS Principles (refer Appendix A in the NCRIS Guidelines).

 

In scope

  • Adoption of an existing platform used by one research community and implementation by a new or expanded community in Australia
  • Adaptation of an existing platform to a new community in a different area of research (with associated work on additional integrations to data sources and tools)
  • Support for adoption of a relatively generic platform solution
  • Re-engineering of an existing solution to make it more sustainable (i.e. adoption of shared services, move to micro-services architecture)
  • Instantiation and operation of specific services/micro-services that could be integrated into platforms

Out of scope

  • Development of a new platform from scratch
  • Purchase of a Commercial Off the Shelf Solution (COTS)

Investment

ARDC is investing $10M in total for the 2020 Open Call. Proposals can apply for up to $1M in total, for project durations up to two and a half years. This is a change from the 2019 open call, and from early information released on the 2020 open call that stated there was no cap on investment requests. Please note: at this stage there are no plans for an Open Call in 2021.  

The ARDC recognises that the COVID-19 situation has placed financial constraints on many organisations, which are restricting the funds available for infrastructure projects. To assist in the continued development of e-research infrastructure, 1:1 matching co-investment will not be mandatory for this Platforms Open Call; however, the level of co-investment will form part of the Proposal evaluation.

Eligibility

Proposals will be accepted from Project Leads from higher education institutions (specifically Higher Education Support Act 2003 Table A providers); the following Commonwealth publicly funded research agencies: AIATSIS, AIMS, ANSTO, CSIRO, DSTG, GA, BoM; state-based eResearch service providers (Intersect, QCIF, TPAC, and VicNode), Medical Research Institutes, and NCRIS Facilities. Note that ARDC will need to contract with a legal entity.

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