Information Services Division


Research Data Storage Service Overview


The Research Data Storage service is a centrally-provided service for UCL researchers needing somewhere to store and share their research data during the active phase of a research project. It consists of a large capacity networked facility suitable for all shapes and sizes of data, including very large files.

Rather than providing personal data storage, the service follows a project-based approach. Researchers can create projects, define the membership of that project and how long they will last, then upload and download files to and from the designated project space. Files are accessible only to named project members.

The Research Data Storage Service forms one component part of a planned larger infrastructure, which will include a repository for research data that needs to be retained post-project, and various tools and services to make it easier to capture metadata and documentation and to enable others to find and re-use publicly accessible datasets.


When you sign up for a project with RDS, you will be assigned storage space on one of two facilities: our default GPFS facility, or our iRODS/WOS facility. Whichever facility you are using, you may either access files on a copy-in / copy-out basis, or as though your storage was on a mounted drive on your computer. The GPFS facility enables drive mounting natively; the WOS facility requires a third-party interface.

Our storage access guide provides further help and suggestions.

Please be aware that computer viruses and malware can infect mounted drives much more easily than they can storage accessed via copy-in/copy-out mechanisms. It is therefore imperative that you ensure all project members have up-to-date antivirus software on any machines they are using to access RDS storage as a mounted drive. See the ISD Guidance on how to stay secure for more information about UCL’s antivirus software.


Any member of staff with UCL credentials is able to register as a PI and receive a storage allocation via our administration interface. Please note that you need to be within the UCL network or connected via VPN in order to access the registration page.

We do encourage the actual PI of a project to complete the registration process, as this will enable us to automatically associate projects on the RDS system with grant information, and may prevent problems further down the line when it comes to determining who is ultimately responsible for data. That said, we also encourage ‘non-funded’ projects to use the service rather than rely on local storage. More information is available on the online application form:

The registration only takes a few minutes to complete and there are guidelines and information to help with the application. Your project allocation can be set up quite rapidly but it may take up to 48 hours for the authentication process to conclude.

We ask new users to estimate their data storage requirements for their projects, but these may be changed later if required. 

The first 5 terabytes that a project requires are available free of charge. Beyond that there is a charge of £50 per TB per year. So, for example, setting up a project space for a 3-year project with a 20 TB capacity requirement would cost £2,250 ((20TB-15TB)*3*£50). We encourage projects to include these costs in bids to research funders where possible. If you would like to discuss these matters further, do please get in touch with us at researchdata-support@ucl.ac.uk.

External collaborators need to become honorary members of UCL before they can access projects. This is organized at the departmental level, so contact your departmental administrator if you need to assign UCL credentials to a collaborator.