Advanced Research Computing


Fostering International Collaborations in Advanced Digital Research

A new proposal scheme open to UCL research and professional staff, led by ARC Digital Research & Innovation and Change & Digital Portfolio

Introduction to the scheme 

This scheme provides seed funding to strengthen UCL’s leadership in advanced digital research and to facilitate the emerging Exascale. An increasing number of disciplines are harnessing the power of large-scale computing in research and innovation. Members of UCL seeking access to the global frontiers of supercomputing and data-intensive research will have the opportunity to do so via this scheme. Aligned with UCL’s Research Strategy and Global Engagement Strategy the scheme aims to foster international collaborations, develop UCL’s expertise and encourage new research funding applications. 

Call Summary 

Minimum & maximum awards:£10,000 £15,000  
Closing date:29th September 2023, 17.00 BST 
Successful awards announcement:early October 2023
Earliest projects start date:16th October 2023
Projects must end by: 31st July 2024 

This call aims to advance UCL’s Research and Innovation themes in digital research by providing access to personnel and institutions containing globally leading expertise in digital research, software development and matching cyberinfrastructure, including state-of-the-art computational resources. To achieve this, we seek to establish a set of collaborative opportunities for UCL staff with the following set of leading international computational science, e-Science and HPC centres:

Advanced research computing capabilities enables faster, different, and higher quality research and innovation. This call will provide access to advanced support services beyond the current resources available within the UK alone, enabling UCL researchers to develop collaborations and partnerships with international centres of excellence for advanced research computing and digital research.   

Applicants must identify one or more collaborators at the nominated international centre(s) and outline how their involvement will contribute to the objectives of the proposal. Proposals will focus on developing joint capabilities between UCL and the international centres.  

The scope of eligible activities that will be supported includes but is not limited to: 

  • Co-development of new tools, technologies and software.
  • Porting of applications and running them on emerging and/or actual exascale supercomputers.
  • Knowledge exchange workshops in research computing, development of new proof of concepts of new ideas and technologies.
  • Personnel capacity building through knowledge exchange, networking and training initiatives.
  • Exchange visits between institutes.

ARC is a strong proponent of the value of open-source software for research. However, applicants may exercise their discretion if there is a good reason for not releasing the new tools and software that will be developed under an open-source licence. 

The expected outcomes of the call should focus on the following: 

  • Developing new strategic partnerships and collaborations. 
  • How the developed output will be used to make new grant applications, funded by external UK or international funding authorities, jointly with one or more of the international computing partners.
  • Strengthening of current collaborations.
  • How the project will enhance the quality and impact of the existing computational research being conducted.

Eligible applicants 

The call is addressed to all UCL researchers and professional services staff. Please note that Early Career Researchers are eligible and encouraged to apply 

We encourage applicants from all UCL faculties and departments. 

Applicants must have an open-ended UCL contract or a fixed-term contract which lasts until at least the end of July 2024. If an applicant has a fixed-term contract that does not last until July 2024 (end of funding period of the call) they must have a co-applicant who is a UCL staff member with an open-ended contract. 

Eligible expenses  

All expenses must be fully justified in the application. The eligible expenses that can be covered by the call are the following: 

  • Staff cost for UCL based non-permanent staff (e.g. Postdoctoral Researchers).
  • Travel & subsistence for UCL and international co-applicants.
  • Workshop/meeting organisation expenses.
  • Consumables (small costs i.e., marketing, printing costs).
  • We do not expect FTE time for permanent academic staff to be funded from this call.  

All funds must be spent by 31st July 2024. 

How to apply 

Applicants should send the following documents to arc-proposals@ucl.ac.uk by 5pm, 29th September 2023, with their Head of Department and an approver from the relevant international centre(s) in cc:

 For any enquiries, please contact arc-proposals@ucl.ac.uk. 

Evaluation Criteria 

Proposals will be evaluated by a panel composed of UCL academics and senior research technology professionals based on the following criteria, which are equally important: 

  • Contribution to academic and/or service excellence.
  • The suitability of the team, demonstrating that the resources requested fit the project requirements.
  • The strength of the new strategic collaborations developed, or degree of enhancement of current collaborations.
  • The importance of the needs/challenges that will be addressed (e.g. knowledge gap, skills gap, need for the tools created). 
  •  The plan for developing new proposals to UK and/or international funders.  

Monitoring & Reporting  

 Successful applicants will be contacted via email, in early-October with an award letter detailing: 

  • PTAE code with further details on how to process expense claims;
  • details on finance and progress report required at the end of the funding period. 

All funds must be spent by 31st July 2024.