Access Policy

December 2015 / Updated June 2020


Our national platform of systems and services is accessible to all Canadian researchers. Compute Canada Federation facilities are designated for Canadian researchers, or those collaborating on Canadian research projects, with significant advanced research computing (ARC) requirements.

All Compute Canada Federation users must agree to abide by Compute Canada policies (including the Terms of Use and the Privacy Policy), as well as any further policy that applies to the particular system(s) used.


Academic research: Research work that is mainly of academic nature.

Academic Principal Investigator (PI): A faculty member or senior researcher at a Canadian university, college, or research facility (including research hospitals) who conducts academic research. This includes adjunct professors.

Industry PI: An individual leading a research project in a private company, either not-for-profit or for-profit.

Government PI: An individual leading a research project in a government laboratory (NRC, Environment Canada, etc).

Access to Infrastructure: Use of compute and storage resources and services made available by the Compute Canada Federation.

Access to Advanced Computing Experts: The Compute Canada Federation team of experts is available to assist researchers in making efficient use of the infrastructure. This may include installing and configuring software packages, assistance in code optimization, and detailed advice on how to solve technical issues.

User Eligibility

a. Academic Users

This term refers to Academic PIs and their sponsored users, which may include: Graduate Students, Non-Research Staff, Postdoctoral Fellows, Research Assistants, Researchers, Undergraduate Students, Visiting Faculty, and External Collaborators.

Each research group is eligible to obtain a “default allocation” on any Compute Canada Federation system, also known as the Rapid Access Service (RAS). Default allocations provide researchers with a sandbox for experimenting or an easy gateway for using ARC to support their research.

For users who require resources in excess of the default amount, allocations are granted annually through the Resource Allocation Competition (RAC), a national competitive process. The Resource Competitions are peer-reviewed and awarded based on merit. 

A resource allocation does not entitle a research group to deep “embedded” programming support from a Compute Canada Federation team member. As a rule of thumb, our team will help solve problems, such as writing some code for a research group, that requires a few days of their effort, not a few months. Long-term dedicated support can also be provided, at an academic rate, or through special competitions that are offered periodically.

These resources are provided at no cost to academic researchers or to those collaborating with academic researchers.

The infrastructure is primarily intended to be used for research and training purposes and not for education and teaching purposes.

b. Industry Users

The Compute Canada Federation recognizes the value of collaboration with Industry PIs and can accommodate commercial use of its services and resources for a fee.

The nature of the research work being done will determine whether the cost is free or charged at a specialized rate for academic use (for long term support or archival), contractual/non-profit use, for-profit use, etc. Fees will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Work being done by an industry partner in collaboration with an Academic PI is normally free of charge, assuming the research is Academic research.

c. Government Labs

This term refers to government labs that are not eligible for tri-council agency funding.

The Compute Canada Federation recognizes the value of collaboration with government labs and can accommodate use of its services and resources for a fee.

Research laboratories that operate as university-owned (or university-run) projects (ie. TRIUMF, SNOLAB, Canadian Light Source, etc.) fall under the Academic User category.

For questions related to eligibility, please contact us. To create an account, please go to Apply for account.