Getting Access to ARCHER
There are specific allocation mechanisms for requesting ARCHER time via the ARCHER partner research councils EPSRC and NERC as detailed below. For researchers in other areas, please get in touch with your research council if you would like to use ARCHER.
The ARCHER User Support Team are available to offer advice and
assistance to any prospective users and can offer guidance as to what
is the best route of access (
Simple Access Mechanisms for New Users
- Access Through the EPSRC/NERC Scientific Consortia - Time for projects within consortia remits. Often the simplest method of getting access if your research is in the remit of one of the consortia.
- Access through the ARCHER Driving Test - Small amount of time for new users and communities who would not otherwise be able to gain initial experience on HPC systems.
Open ARCHER Calls
A list of any currently open calls through which you can apply for access to ARCHER.
Note: access via standard grant applications is always open via standard research council routes and is not listed in this table. Please see below for more information on these routes.
|Call (Web Link)||Closing Date||TA Receipt Deadline||Notes||TA Form Link|
|Instant Access||Always Open||Always Open||EPSRC Remit only, 1,200 kAU (80,000 CPUh) maximum, 6 months maximum||Instant Access TA Form|
|Leadership Projects||No Call Open||No Call Open||No calls planned for 2017. EPSRC and NERC Remit.||Leadership/Grant/RAP TA Form|
|RAP: Access to ARCHER||No Call Open||No Call Open||Next call planned to open Nov 2016. EPSRC remit only.||Leadership/Grant/RAP TA Form|
|RAP: Top-up Access to ARCHER||No Call Open||No Call Open||Next call planned to open Nov 2016. EPSRC remit only.||Leadership/Grant/RAP TA Form|
ARCHER Access Routes
In addition to the simple mechanisms given above, there are multiple access routes to ARCHER:
- ARCHER Specific Calls: RAP and Leadership Projects - Large amounts of time for up to a year or to top up existing projects.
- ARCHER Access Through EPSRC Grants - Time costed on standard grant applications.
- ARCHER Access Through NERC Grants - Time costed on standard grant applications.
- ARCHER Instant Access - Small amounts of time to test ARCHER, provide proof of concept, or obtain scaling information for full applications (EPSRC remit only).
- ARCHER Access Through Grants with Other Funding Bodies - Any other funding bodies.
ARCHER Specific Calls: RAP and Leadership Projects
ARCHER specific calls are periodically opened by the research councils. The current calls are listed in the table at the top of this page. These calls are generally for computing time and storage space only and cannot fund any other expenses.
No Leadership calls are currently planned for 2017 and a reduce number of RAP calls will be available. Statement from EPSRC:
Dear ARCHER users,
You will have noticed that there is a continued high demand for the ARCHER service and you will be aware that the EPSRC and the Service Partners have put in place several mitigations in order to alleviate the pressure on queue times. One of the actions which has been taken by EPSRC is to closely monitor allocations on ARCHER and only release capacity when it becomes available. Due to resource availability next year, it was agreed by the ARCHER Management Board that we will not have a Leadership Call in 2017. Additionally, it is confirmed that there will only be 2 RAP calls for proposals in 2017.
We will continue to monitor availability of resource and if there is spare capacity we will consider holding further Leadership calls for proposals. RAP calls will be published on the EPSRC and ARCHER websites and we will continue to have regular RAP Top-up calls for existing grant holders with ARCHER time. The next RAP Top-up call will be released in November 2016. EPSRC is pleased that ARCHER remains a popular and vital service to the scientific communities and we will continue to work to ensure equitable and fair access for users.
Infrastructure Manager, EPSRC
EPSRC RAP (Resource Allocation Panel) Calls
EPSRC RAP calls are genrally opened three times a year for requests for large allocations on ARCHER for projects in EPSRC remit. The RAP also approves requests for top-ups to current ARCHER allocations for standard EPSRC grants.
RAP allocations provide access to ARCHER for a maximum of 1 year. There is no limit on the number of CPUh (measured in kAU) that can be applied for through RAP access. However, applicants should note that there will be up to a maximum number of kAU available to award at each panel, subject to the quality of the proposals. You may also apply for storage capacity at the Research Data Facility. Applications through the RAP are for compute and storage only. Applicants must make sure that any related expenses such as staff time are covered by other means.
How to Apply For Top Up Resource via The EPSRC RAP
Access to the national high performance computing resource can be allocated as part of EPSRC grants at the time of award. Initially only 3 years of resource are granted at which point, grant holders are invited to apply for a top-up to meet the objectives of their EPSRC grant.
Applicants to this call can request ARCHER compute resource only to facilitate the remainder of their existing EPSRC grant. The number of CPUh requested must be fully justified in the application and reasonable in view of the original allocation and remaining duration of the project. The maximum eligible time period is two years. For longer grants, multiple top-ups are possible. Please note that the panel may recommend a reduced allocation if a request appears to be unfeasible or unjustified.
Applications will not be considered where the previous resource allocated to the applicant has been exhausted due to mismanagement or to undertake any work outside the scope of the original grant.
As with all applications to the RAP, only ARCHER computing resource can be applied for. This does not include staff time and other resources, which should be covered by the existing grant.
ARCHER Leadership Projects
These are calls for applications for direct access to the UK's national supercomputing facility ARCHER for computationally intensive individual projects (>100,000 kAU or 6,666,667 CPUh on ARCHER) for a maximum of 24 months, from academic and non-academic research groups. The resource is for pre-competitive research only and the research area must lie within the remit of either the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) or the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). This call is for compute resource only, including core Computational Science and Engineering support as provided by the ARCHER Service to all users. However, no additional support for staff or consumables can be applied for. Thus applicants must demonstrate substantial high performance computing expertise within their team in order to be considered for funding.
Access Through EPSRC Grants
On J-eS, access can be requested by choosing ARCHER from the drop down list in the Research Council Facilities section for a standard EPSRC grant application. Please add the requested resource in kAU as "unit" and the notional cost in £ as "cost". Reasonable ARCHER allocations are awarded for a 3 year period in the first instance, after which the applicant can apply for a top-up resource via the Resource Allocation Panel (RAP). A completed Grant/RAP Technical Assessment (TA) must be uploaded as one pdf through Je-S, selecting the document type "Technical Assessment".
EPSRC operate a 6-monthly alloction period policy for access on ARCHER. The total number of CPUh (measured in kAU) awarded is broken down into 6-month periods that span the length of access to ARCHER that has been requested (e.g. if you have requested 1 year of access in total then the kAU will be split into two 6 month periods). Applicants specify the period profile on the TA form when they apply for access.
EPSRC period allocations are enforced on ARCHER in the following way:
- Any unused allocation at the end of a period is lost
- You cannot move kAU (CPUh) between different allocation periods
Access Through NERC Grants
NERC applicants should also add ARCHER as a facility in the standard application, contact the relevant NERC consortia leader and check the current NERC policy on access. Full details are on the NERC website. If more than 160,000 kAU (10,666,667 CPUh) are required in any one year, the NERC HPC 'New' Form should be submitted with the standard JeS application.
Applicants in the NERC remit wishing to access ARCHER via the NERC route must contact the relevant consortia leader for advice.
EPSRC Instant Access
As a pump priming opportunity for new HPC users, EPSRC offer instant access to ARCHER for a limited number of CPUh (measured in kAU) over a six month period. This mode of access should give new users the opportunity to test ARCHER for their purposes and work towards a fully peer reviewed application, either via a standard grant or via the Resource Allocation Panel. An extension will only be granted in exceptional cases.
Access Through the EPSRC/NERC Scientific Consortia
EPSRC and NERC fund a number of large consortia that bring together computational scientists working in a particular scientific area. These consortia have large allocations of time on ARCHER that they can distribute out to their members.
If your research is within the remit of a consortia this is often the simplest method of getting access to ARCHER.
Each consortium has its own way of applying for access and allocating time. The ARCHER Scientific Consortia pages have more information on the remit of the individual consortia and their contact details.
Access through the ARCHER Driving Test
The ARCHER Driving Test allows those new to ARCHER to demonstrate that they are sufficiently familiar with ARCHER and HPC to start making use of it.
This scheme is intended to promote access to HPC to new users and communities who would not otherwise be able to gain initial experience on HPC systems.
Access Through Grants with Other Funding Bodies
If eligible, access costs for ARCHER should be included in the grant
application on basis of the rate for non-partner organisations. Prior
to applying for the grant, a completed Grant/RAP Technical Assessment
(TA) must be submitted to the ARCHER helpdesk (
For any questions, please contact EPSRC, the ARCHER Helpdesk and/or the funding body of your choice before applying.