Within this section, you will meet the people who work to ensure WestGrid's resources and services meet the needs of its user and stakeholder communities.
WestGrid's central staff oversee the day-to-day operations and management of WestGrid. This team also works closely with Compute Canada and the other three regions.
WG central staff is composed of ~7FTEs.
Although legally employed by Compute Canada, these staff are not integrated into the Compute Canada management structure. The central staff report to the Executive Director. The technical central staff are supervised by the Director of Operations.
The Senior Management Team (SMT) members are Lindsay Sill, Patrick Mann, Erin Trifunov and Megan Allen. The SMT works closely with the WestGrid Executive on strategic planning and procedure and policy development. Members of the SMT also contribute nationally to represent the needs of the research community in the West through participation on other committees including the Technical Leadership Council, the CC Management Committee.
The WestGrid Central Staff team provides the following functions for the WestGrid Project:
Training happens at all levels from potential and new user training to very advanced, specific topics for the more experienced researchers. Training is a critical requirement to ensure the most effective use of the CC platform and services to accomplish research goals. Training is offered via seminar series, workshops, conferences, through tier 1 and tier 2 support , development of training materials, and through partnerships with our institutional, regional and national partners.
The WestGrid Education & Outreach committee enables and coordinates hundreds of hours of training to users at all levels. Every year WestGrid education, outreach and training events reaching thousands of members of the research community, as well as other stakeholders in academia, government, and industry.
In addition to ensuring that the needs of the research community are met, WestGrid works with institutions and provinces to ensure their needs are also met.
Contribution to national initiatives that are very important to users
There are many Compute Canada services and processes that the regions play a major role. A few of them are outlined here:
- Grant consultation with CC team members happens at various stages throughout the award lifecycle from pre-award consultation to procurement and evaluation.
- The regions support the RAC process through technical reviews and the administration of the process.
- For the annual accounts renewals process, regional staff do the development on the database, answer support tickets and approve accounts for researchers at their respective institutions.
WestGrid’s Finance & Administration manager works closely with each of the financial officers at the seven major institutions to develop the budget, execute the audits, and to report to funders. The budgeting process is very complex and there is a need to ensure there is adequate matching funds and that each dollar spent is well justified.
Communication and outreach
Communication is so incredibly important in a distributed organization. The Communications staff sits on the Communications Steering Committee to coordinate nationally. Communication must happen both externally to the user community through website, conferences, surveys, town halls, etc.
About 53 FTEs (“Team Members”) are employed by the WestGrid institutions, through CFI's Major Science Intiatives (MSI) project, in systems administrator and/or user support roles. They are hired, evaluated, paid and directed by their institution and do not officially report to WestGrid through any mechanism. These Team Members will often receive direction from other CC Team Members, located outside of their institution including National Team Leads, the CC CTO, and the WestGrid Executive Director and Director of Operations.
The team brings a diverse range of expertise supporting computational science, including specialties in large data transfer, bioinformatics pipelines, information privacy, digital humanities and scientific visualization. The team's academic backgrounds are just as varied, spanning the sciences as well as specialties in Epidemiology, Meteorology, Archaeology, English Literature, Philosophy and Game Theory. Members of WestGrid's technical team have consistently either won or been nominated by the user community for Compute Canada Awards of Excellence, which annually celebrate and recognize exceptional ARC support and expertise.
Compute Canada’s nationally distributed network of experts (~200 FTEs) is its greatest strength. Support personnel located on campus, close to the researchers they serve, provide the organization with a unique understanding of the community. They enable local training, outreach and other support interactions.