Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Access to High Performance Computing facilities 2024

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This opportunity provides an open and flexible route to computational support for high quality projects across the entire UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) remit.

We particularly encourage applications that:

  • involve early career researchers
  • onboard and train new users
  • significantly push the boundaries in computational research using High Performance Computing (HPC) in your field

This application process is purely for compute resource for up to 12 months for ARCHER2 projects and for up to nine months for Tier2 projects. No funding is available to successful applicants.

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for EPSRC funding.

Who can apply

This opportunity is open to eligible researchers from across the UKRI remit.

Before applying for funding, check the Eligibility of your organisation.

EPSRC standard eligibility rules apply. For full details, visit EPSRC’s eligibility page.

UKRI has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service. For full details, visit Eligibility as an individual.

Who is eligible to apply

Research technical professionals, including research software engineers, are considered as academic employees and are eligible to be a project lead or co-lead under the same terms as traditional researchers.

If you are a student looking to access the HPC resources through this application route, you must seek an eligible project lead to apply on your behalf. The project lead:

  • must oversee the preparation of the proposal
  • will be responsible for how any time awarded is used

You can only be a project lead or co-lead on a maximum of one proposal to each service. Each proposal you are included for as a project lead or co-lead must be a unique and distinct project.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants. We encourage applications from a diverse range of researchers.

We support people to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

  • career breaks
  • support for people with caring responsibilities
  • flexible working
  • alternative working patterns

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI.

What we're looking for

Aim

This opportunity provides researchers with an open and flexible route to computational support for high-quality projects across UKRI’s remit. The remit for applications to the Tier2 services under this opportunity has been expanded across UKRI, to recognise the funding received through the UKRI Digital Research Infrastructure Programme.

We are trialling a new approach to peer review and assessment for this opportunity, aimed at streamlining the application process. Peer review will score the proposals and place them within bands. Resources from the requested services will then be allocated to the highest band projects, using an innovative randomised approach. Peer review remains the mainstay of the evaluation process and only projects that reach the ‘fundable’ threshold will receive resources.

Scope

We are looking to support a portfolio of projects across the HPC ecosystem, including but not limited to:

  • extended feasibility or proof of concept studies (at a larger scale than is possible in pump priming projects)
  • computational projects which may not warrant a full grant application
  • computational projects linking consecutive grant applications or aiding the preparation of a full grant or fellowship application
  • large amounts of compute for ambitious, computationally intensive simulations and calculations
  • collaborations with industrial and international partners
  • increase the development of computational science skills, such as allowing students to work jointly with project leads to achieve the aims of the proposed research, leading to improved software and coding skills, and career paths

Your proposal should align with at least one of the above aims.

A wide variety of activities can be supported. We particularly encourage applications that:

  • involve early career researchers
  • provide an opportunity to onboard and train new users
  • significantly push the boundaries in computational research using HPC in your field

Compute resources available

This application process is purely for compute resource. No funding is available to successful applicants.

You may apply for up to 50% of the resources available on any one system. The resources you apply for must be justified and deemed appropriate to the objectives of your project. Projects for Tier2 services can be up to 9 months in duration, as the current UKRI support for the Tier2 services ends on 31 March 2025. Projects for ARCHER2 can be up to 12 months.

The HPC services available are:

  • ARCHER2, Tier-1 national supercomputer service (EPSRC and NERC research only)
  • EPSRC-remit research only, projects up to 12 months duration
  • NERC-remit research should follow the separate established process
  • CDS3 Tier-2 HPC service (UKRI-remit)
  • Kelvin-2 (NI-HPC) Tier-2 HPC service (UKRI-remit)
  • Cirrus Tier-2 HPC service (UKRI-remit)
  • Bede (NICE) Tier-2 HPC service (UKRI-remit)
  • Baskerville Tier-2 HPC service (UKRI-remit)
  • Sulis Tier-2 HPC service (UKRI-remit)

You should refer to the service specification document to help you decide which service to apply to. This document also has indicative levels of the computational resource available at each service, as well as service-specific restrictions on projects. Precise levels are subject to variations in the current usage of the services. We recommend that you contact the service you are applying to as soon as possible to discuss whether the level of resource you intend to request is realistic and reasonable.

A Technical Assessment from the service you are applying to will only be required should your application be successful. However final allocation of resources will be dependent on the Technical Assessment being approved by the service.
EPSRC reserves the right to adjust the overall level of computational resource available and delay project start dates where circumstances require it.

Supporting skills and talent

We encourage you to follow the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the Technician Commitment.

International collaboration

If your application includes international applicants, project partners or collaborators, visit UKRI’s trusted research and innovation for more information on effective international collaboration.

Find out about getting funding for international collaboration.

How to apply

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UKRI Funding Service. You cannot apply on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

The project lead is responsible for completing the application process on the Funding Service, but we expect all team members and project partners to contribute to the application.

Only the lead research organisation can submit an application to UKRI.

To apply

Select ‘Start application’ near the beginning of this Funding finder page.

  1. Confirm you are the project lead.
  2. Sign in or create a Funding Service account. To create an account, select your organisation, verify your email address, and set a password. If your organisation is not listed, email support@funding-service.ukri.org
    Please allow at least 10 working days for your organisation to be added to the Funding Service.
  3. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to complete them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. If we need you to upload a document, follow the upload instructions in the Funding Service. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the How to apply section on this Funding finder page.
  4. Allow enough time to check your application in ‘read-only’ view before sending to your research office.
  5. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.
  6. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

Where indicated, you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. You must:

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words
  • insert each new image onto a new line
  • provide a descriptive legend for each image immediately underneath it (this counts towards your word limit)
  • ensure files are smaller than 5MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service.

For more guidance on the Funding Service, see:

References

Applications should be self-contained, and hyperlinks should only be used to provide links directly to reference information. To ensure the information’s integrity is maintained, where possible, persistent identifiers such as digital object identifiers should be used. Assessors are not required to access links to carry out assessment or recommend a funding decision. You should use your discretion when including reference and prioritise those most pertinent to the application.

Reference should be included in the appropriate question section of the application and be easily identifiable by the assessors for example (Smith, Research Paper, 2019).

You must not include links to web resources to extend your application.

Deadline

EPSRC must receive your application by 23 April 2024 at 4:00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

Make sure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines.

Following the submission of your application to the funding opportunity, your application cannot be changed, and applications will not be returned for amendment. If your application does not follow the guidance, it may be rejected.

Personal data

Processing personal data

EPSRC, as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your Funding Service account and the registration of your funding applications.

We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

Publication of outcomes

EPSRC, as part of UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity.

If your application is successful, we will publish some personal information on the UKRI Gateway to Research.

Summary

Word limit: 550

In plain English, provide a summary we can use to identify the most suitable experts to assess your application.

We usually make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, therefore do not include any confidential or sensitive information. Make it suitable for a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the public
  • the wider research community

Guidance for writing a summary

Clearly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • context
  • the challenge the project addresses
  • aims and objectives
  • potential applications and benefits

Core team

List the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • project lead (PL)
  • project co-lead (UK) (PcL)
  • specialist
  • grant manager
  • professional enabling staff
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician
  • visiting researcher
  • researcher co-lead (RcL)

Only list one individual as project lead.

Find out more about UKRI’s core team roles in funding applications.

Application questions

HPC service requested

Word limit: 10

Please name which HPC service are you applying to.

You may also name a reserve choice of service, providing you are willing to take up the offer of this service, should your first choice be oversubscribed and you are awarded time on your reserve choice.

The services available for this opportunity are:

  • ARCHER2 (EPSRC remit only)
  • Baskerville
  • Bede (NICE)
  • CSD3
  • Cirrus
  • Kelvin-2 (NI-HPC)
  • JADE
  • Sulis

HPC resources requested

Word limit: 20

Please enter the units (for example; CU, GPU hours, CPU hours) and quantity of HPC resources that you are requesting.

High End Computing (HEC) consortia

Word limit: 100

If you are a member of a currently funded HEC consortium, and are applying for ARCHER2 compute, please enter the name of the consortium and briefly explain why you are not applying for time through this consortium.

Vision and Approach

Create a document that includes your responses to all criteria. The maximum page limit is dependent on the level of resources requested as shown in the table below. The document must be single spaced in 11-point Arial (or equivalent sans serif font) with margins of at least 2cm. You may include images, graphs, tables. You can have an additional page for a diagrammatic work plan.

Please ensure you have provided the information requested in the bullet points listed in the criteria below. We will be unable to return proposals for amendment so it is essential you include all the information requested, otherwise your proposal may not be able to be fully assessed and it may result in your proposal being rejected. Failure to keep within the page limit may result in proposals being rejected.

Page limits for levels of resources requested:

  • proposals requesting <=300k CU, <=2M CPUh, or <=50k GPUh: 2 sides of A4
  • proposals requesting >300k and <=600k CU, >2M and <=5M CPUh, or >50k and <=100k GPUh: 3 sides of A4
  • proposals requesting >600k CU, >5M CPUh or >100k GPUh: 4 sides of A4

If your proposal includes requests for CPUh and GPUh from a service, please use the larger limit indicated

For the file name, use the unique Funding Service number the system gives you when you create an application, followed by the words ‘Vision and Approach’.

Save this document as a single PDF file, no bigger than 8MB. Unless specifically requested, please do not include any sensitive personal data within the attachment.

If the attachment does not meet these requirements, the application will be rejected.

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply.

What are you hoping to achieve with and how will you deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

For the Vision, explain how your proposed work:

  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the field(s) or area(s)
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, generates new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy or the environment

Within the Vision section we also expect you to:

  • identify the potential direct or indirect benefits and who the beneficiaries might be
  • 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

For the Approach, explain how you have designed your work so that it:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • if applicable, uses a clear and transparent methodology
  • if applicable, summarises the previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts
  • describes how your, and if applicable your team’s, research environment (in terms of the place, and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:

  • include details of the codes and methods to be used and clarification of how they are appropriate for the work being proposed

References may be included within this section.

Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word limit: 1,650

Why are you the right individual or team to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you, and if relevant your team, have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and your approach to develop others
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the service.

The word count for this section is 1,650 words: 1,150 words to be used for R4RI modules (including references) and, if necessary, a further 500 words for Additions.

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you and, if relevant, your team (project and project co-leads, researchers, technicians, specialists, partners and so on) have and how this will help deliver the proposed work. You can include individuals’ specific achievements but only choose past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver this work.

Complete this section using the R4RI module headings listed. Use each heading once and include a response for the whole team, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You should consider how to balance your answer, and emphasise where appropriate the key skills each team member brings:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge
  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community
  • contributions to broader research or innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit
Additions

Provide any further details relevant to your application. This section is optional and can be up to 500 words. You should not use it to describe additional skills, experiences, or outputs, but you can use it to describe any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them).

Complete this as a narrative. Do not format it like a CV.

References may be included within this section.

UKRI has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new Funding Service.

For full details, see Eligibility as an individual.

Computing resources and justification

Word limit: 1,000

What computing resources will you need to deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of:

  • full justification of the resources requested and why you are requesting the specific system
  • justification of why the computing time requested is essential for the successful completion of the project
  • assurance that the resources requested are appropriate and justified

Assessors are not looking for a line-by-line breakdown of all project resources. Overall, they want you to demonstrate how the resources you anticipate needing for your proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes
  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word limit: 500

What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work? If you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues, explain why.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated:

  • the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations
  • how you will manage these considerations

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

If you are collecting or using data, identify:

  • any legal and ethical considerations of collecting, releasing or storing the data including consent, confidentiality, anonymisation, security and other ethical considerations and, in particular, strategies to not preclude further reuse of data
  • formal information standards with which your study will comply

Genetic and biological risk

Word limit: 700

Does your proposed research involve any genetic or biological risk?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

In respect of animals, plants or microbes, are you proposing to:

  • use genetic modification as an experimental tool, like studying gene function in a genetically modified organism
  • release genetically modified organisms
  • ultimately develop commercial and industrial genetically modified outcomes

If yes, provide the name of any required approving body and state if approval is already in place. If it is not, provide an indicative timeframe for obtaining the required approval.

Identify the organism or organisms as a plant, animal or microbe and specify the species and which of the three categories the research relates to.

Identify the genetic and biological risks resulting from the proposed research, their implications, and any mitigation you plan on taking. Assessors will want to know you have considered the risks and their implications to justify that any identified risks do not outweigh any benefits of the proposed research.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Research involving the use of animals

Does your proposed research involve the use of vertebrate animals or other organisms covered by the Animals Scientific Procedures Act?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing research that requires using animals, download and complete the Animals Scientific Procedures Act template (DOCX, 74KB), which contains all the questions relating to research using vertebrate animals or other Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 regulated organisms.

Save it as a PDF. The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Conducting research with animals overseas

Word limit: 700

Will any of the proposed animal research be conducted overseas?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing to conduct overseas research, it must be conducted in accordance with welfare standards consistent with those in the UK, as in Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research, page 14. Ensure all named applicants in the UK and overseas are aware of this requirement.

If your application proposes animal research to be conducted overseas, you must provide a statement in the text box. Depending on the species involved, you may also need to upload a completed template for each species listed.

Statement

Provide a statement to confirm that:

  • all named applicants are aware of the requirements and have agreed to abide by them
  • this overseas research will be conducted in accordance with welfare standards consistent with the principles of UK legislation
  • the expectation set out in Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research will be applied and maintained
  • appropriate national and institutional approvals are in place
Templates

Overseas studies proposing to use non-human primates, cats, dogs, equines or pigs will be assessed during NC3Rs review of research applications. Provide the required information by completing the template from the question ‘Research involving the use of animals’.

For studies involving other species, select, download, and complete the relevant Word checklist or checklists from this list:

Save your completed template as a PDF and upload to the Funding service. If you use more than one checklist template, save it as a single PDF.

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply.

If conducting research with animals overseas does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Research involving human participation

Word limit: 700

Will the project involve the use of human subjects or their personal information?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing research that requires the involvement of human subjects, provide the name of any required approving body and whether approval is already in place.

Justify the number and the diversity of the participants involved, as well as any procedures.

Provide details of any areas of substantial or moderate severity of impact.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Research involving human tissues or biological samples

Word limit: 700

Does your proposed research involve the use of human tissues, or biological samples?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing work that involves human tissues or biological samples, provide the name of any required approving body and whether approval is already in place.

Justify the use of human tissue or biological samples specifying the nature and quantity of the material to be used and its source.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

In the event of this funding opportunity being substantially oversubscribed as to be unmanageable, EPSRC reserve the right to modify the assessment process.

We will assess your application using the following process.

Peer review

We will invite experts to review your application independently, against the specified criteria for this opportunity.

You will not be able to nominate reviewers for applications on the new UKRI Funding Service. Research councils will continue to select expert reviewers.

We are monitoring the requirement for applicant-nominated reviewers as we review policies and processes as part of the continued development of the new Funding Service.

Service assignment

Peer review will score the proposals and place them within bands. Resources from the requested services will then be allocated to the highest band projects, using an innovative randomised approach. Resources are allocated until the budget is exhausted.

If all projects within the highest band receive resources, any remaining resources will then be allocated randomly to projects in the next band. Peer review remains the mainstay of the evaluation process and only projects that reach the ‘fundable’ threshold will receive resources.

EPSRC will make the final decision.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

Assessment criteria

The criteria we will assess your application against are:

  • Vision and Approach
  • Applicant and team capability to deliver
  • Computing resources and justification
  • Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Find details of assessment questions and criteria under the ‘Application questions’ heading in the ‘How to apply’ section.

Contact details

Get help with your application

If you have a question and the answers aren’t provided on this page

Important note: The Helpdesk is committed to helping users of the UKRI Funding Service as effectively and as quickly as possible. In order to manage cases at peak volume times, the Helpdesk will triage and prioritise those queries with an imminent opportunity deadline or a technical issue. Enquiries raised where information is available on the Funding Finder opportunity page and should be understood early in the application process (for example, regarding eligibility or content/remit of an opportunity) will not constitute a priority case and will be addressed as soon as possible.

Contact details

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

For questions related to this specific funding opportunity please contact researchinfrastructure@epsrc.ukri.org

Any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through the Funding Service should be directed to the helpdesk.

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org
Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

To help us process queries quicker, we request that users highlight the council and opportunity name in the subject title of their email query, include the application reference number, and refrain from contacting more than one mailbox at a time.

Find out more information on submitting an application.

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, email researchinfrastructure@epsrc.ukri.org

Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your Funding Service application number].

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • individual is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the ‘Applicant and team capability’ section
  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection
  • the application is an invited resubmission

For information about how UKRI handles personal data, read UKRI’s privacy notice.

Additional info

Webinar for potential applicants

We held a webinar on 12 March 2024 from 11:00am to 12:00am. This provided more information about the funding opportunity and a chance to ask questions.

View the webinar slides (PDF, 125KB).

Read the questions and answers from the webinar (PDF, 49KB).

Research disruption due to COVID-19

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major interruptions and disruptions across our communities. We are committed to ensuring that individual applicants and their wider team, including partners and networks, are not penalised for any disruption to their career, such as:

  • breaks and delays
  • disruptive working patterns and conditions
  • the loss of ongoing work
  • role changes that may have been caused by the pandemic

Reviewers and panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the capability to deliver and career development of those individuals included in the application. They will be asked to consider the capability of the applicant and their wider team to deliver the research they are proposing.

Where disruptions have occurred, you can highlight this within your application if you wish, but there is no requirement to detail the specific circumstances that caused the disruption.

Supporting links

Equality Impact Assessment (DOCX, 69KB)

Service Specification document (PDF, 193KB)

Updates

  • 27 March 2024
    Slides and question and answer from the webinar added as PDF documents under Additional info section.
  • 15 March 2024
    AHRC, BBSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC and STFC added as funders. Compute resources available section updated in What we're looking for.

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