Stage one: technical assessment
Prior to submitting an application proposal form, applicants to all streams must obtain a technical assessment completed by a representative of the service they wish to access. This step ensures that the resource request is appropriate and that all technical requirements have been considered prior to submission.
The technical assessment forms part of the assessment process. You can find the criteria the services will use to assess you technical submission in section two of the technical assessment form. Please note that there are two separate technical assessment forms for the feasibility stream and a combined one for main and pioneers streams.
We will not accept proposals that reuse previous technical assessments without the explicit consent of the service.
Submitting your technical assessment for approval
The subject header of your submission email should state that this is an ‘access to HPC submission’.
To enable services to process and approve your technical assessment, you must submit it to the relevant service by 12 May 2023 at 4:00pm UK time. EPSRC and the relevant service cannot be held responsible for applications that miss the final deadline if the applicant has not met the deadline for submission of the technical assessment.
We recommended that you encrypt the email request for a technical assessment when it is sent to the appropriate service.
Feedback from service technical reviewers
You may receive comments made by technical reviewers on your technical assessment form. You should respond to these by amending the technical aspects of your form. The technical reviewer may recommend applying to a more appropriate service at this stage.
The service will normally return the technical assessment (either approved or with requests for amendments) promptly, dependent upon the service and the level of demand at the time of submission.
Once the technical reviewer at the service is satisfied that their comments have been addressed, they will approve your technical assessment, and return your form by email with sections one and two completed as required for the full application stage.
EPSRC and the services cannot be held responsible for applications that miss the final deadline if the applicant has not met the deadline specified above for submission of the technical assessment.
You should make every effort to submit your assessment in advance of the deadline to help service staff to manage the volume of requests.
Stage two: SmartSurvey application
You must submit your application using the short web form on the research councils SmartSurvey system. Each stream has different requirements for this stage so please ensure you follow the correct guidance for the stream you are applying to.
This form also contains questions to collect applicant diversity data. As this call has combined processes from several previous calls we wish to monitor participation (in line with the equality impact assessment) to ensure that this new process is fair and does not present any barriers to participation.
Start your application (SmartSurvey).
You must complete and submit your application, including any mandatory attachments, by 26 May 2023 at 4:00pm UK time. You will not be able to apply after this time.
Feasibility stream requirements
The only document required as a PDF attachment is a completed and approved technical assessment form for the service you are applying to access.
Main and pioneers stream requirements
You must include the following mandatory documents as separate PDF attachments:
- completed and approved technical assessment form for the service you are applying to access
- completed application form
- one-page diagrammatic work plan
You may wish to include the following optional attachments:
- letters of support (all letters should be combined and submitted as one PDF document)
- a cover letter (this will be seen only by EPSRC and is not sent to peer review)
No other documentation is allowed. Only information contained in the application form, technical assessment, diagrammatic work plan and letters of support will be considered by the panel.
All documents should be completed in single-spaced Arial 11 font or similar-sized sans serif typeface and uploaded as a PDF.
For advice on writing proposals, see our information on what to include in proposals.
When drafting your document attachments, keep in mind:
- the assessment criteria used – this can be found in the ‘how we will assess your application’ section
- the level of expertise of the reviewers – the reviewers will draw upon a broad cross-section of HPC users from disciplines within engineering and the physical sciences. We cannot guarantee that there will be an expert for every application area. Your case for support must be easy for an audience with general scientific knowledge to understand
When completing your application form, you should take into account the assessment criteria and keep in mind that proposals will be assessed by a generalist panel drawn from relevant research areas across EPSRC’s remit with computational expertise.
You should download and complete the application form from the access to high performance computing application documents.
Please ensure you adhere to the maximum page length and restrictions on the various documents when submitting your proposal. Any missing, over length or unnecessary attachments may result in your proposal being rejected.
Your application should consist of the following sections.
Description of the proposed research and its context
Main stream applications: up to two pages allowed.
Pioneer stream applications: up to four pages allowed.
You should briefly list the main objectives of the proposed research. Explain how access to your chosen service will help you to meet these objectives.
Describe your proposed computational research project:
- detailing the scientific and wider context
- explaining what you are aiming to achieve with the computational resource and how the project will advance the current context
- highlighting the novelty and timeliness of the work
- explaining how the project will deliver or enable high-quality scientific research
Identify any potential applications of the proposed work. Include how it would contribute to computational science, for example, through:
- generating new codes
- development of existing codes
- increased computational efficiency
- opening up HPC for new scientific areas and industrial sectors
Explain why the service applied for is the most appropriate resource for this work.
This must be no more than one side of A4.
Explain why this proposal warrants support in terms of the importance to the UK. This could include, but is not limited to:
- economic or industrial impacts
- advancing world-leading research activities
- identifying how the proposed research contributes to national and EPSRC priority areas
Expertise and track record of the team (up to one page)
This must be no more than one side of A4.
Provide details of your track record in:
- computational science and engineering
- porting, developing, and using codes
- the use of relevant HPC facilities
Highlight any previous publications or other scientific outputs arising from HPC work related to this application. If you are new to HPC, explain how you plan to involve partners and use service support to ensure there is sufficient computational expertise to achieve the stated objectives.
Include any other information you think is relevant to demonstrate your suitability to undertake this work.
This must be no more than two sides of A4.
Explain how you plan to use and manage the allocated computational resources, as approved by the technical assessment. It is important that you only request an allocation you can realistically use in the allocation period. This should consider:
- queuing times
- potential issues with newly ported codes
- scheduled maintenance periods
- the time needed to interpret intermediate results
Any compute units which have not been used by the end of the period will be lost.
The total number of compute units allocated through this process is limited. You need to demonstrate that your codes can make optimal use of this resource, for example, by providing detailed, relevant benchmarking and scaling data. The panel can recommend a reduction in units or time awarded if the original request is not fully justified.
You will need to describe the staff resources available and how they will be used to:
- start the project promptly
- use the resource efficiently
- finish within the allocation period
State details of any additional financial or technical support for this or related research projects relevant to this application. As this proposal is for computing resources only, you should give details of how any other necessary resources for the project (for example, staff time) will be made available.
If the work has novel elements that could be considered high-risk, please indicate how the risks will be managed.
This must be no more than one side of A4.
The diagrammatic work plan should justify the requested amount of time and use of the compute resources.
Letters of support
These are optional and these must be no more than one page per individual letter.
These are for partners (academic or industrial) who are integral to the bid. Letters of support must be on headed paper and be signed and dated within six months of the proposal submission date.
Letters of support are only permitted on the following basis:
- from project partners describing cash or in-kind contributions
- from community groups confirming benefits the research may provide to their research areas
Any key points supporting why the proposal should be funded must be made within the proposal itself. Letters of support are not to be used as additional space to make the case for the proposal. We will request that any such letters are removed.
There is no limit on the number of letters of support that can be included in an application. However, all letters should be combined and submitted as one PDF document.
This is optional and there is no page limit.
You can use the proposal cover letter to express any other information that you feel is relevant to your application or to highlight anything that has been discussed and agreed with EPSRC staff beforehand. This may include:
- maternity leave requirements
- a declaration of interest
- additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the track record
- conflict of interest information for EPSRC to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection
- that the application is an invited resubmission
This letter will only be seen by EPSRC and will not be sent to peer review. It will not be shared with the service unless you have specifically requested this. If the letter contains sensitive information, you should state clearly whether the information is confidential.