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CFI Grant Proposals
Collaborating on CFI Grant Proposals
The CFI has two programs relevant to institutions (and their researchers) requiring Advanced Research Computing (ARC) infrastructure: Innovation Fund (IF) and John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF). Compute Canada plays a role in each of these programs, according to CFI’s policies. We encourage institution representatives or researchers to contact us at any time regardless of how specific or general your computing needs are. We can be contacted by email.
CFI Grants – General Information
As a matter of policy, the CFI is convinced that investments in research computing infrastructure are maximized by promoting the sharing of resources. The CFI, therefore, expects that new or additional computing resources funded through their competitions will normally be housed, managed and operated by the Compute Canada Federation. In such cases, a host site within the CCF will usually assume the associated operations and maintenance costs of the computing infrastructure.
Our members are ready to work with institutions to identify and specify the advanced computing component of the proposals submitted. Our team will help develop the best technical and human support solution to address research challenges in the most efficient and cost-effective way.
In addition, it is possible for institutions to request funding for specific ARC infrastructure. In these cases, we are ready to review options for hosting, operating, and maintaining the infrastructure to provide the highest quality and most cost effective total solution. CCF can leverage its existing CFI-funded data centres, technical, and staffing investments to provide extremely high quality and cost-effective operations and maintenance of systems as part of the national platform, meeting a variety of uptime and security requirements.
We can assist institutions in the design and implementation of advanced computing solutions for research in a number of ways; for instance:
- Procurement – Are there opportunities for leveraging the CCF expertise and/or combining infrastructure purchases with other projects to get a better deal from vendors?
- Design – Can the FCC’s technical team help design a vendor-neutral technical solution which can better enable the desired research?
- Deployment – Will housing infrastructure within a CCF host site result in lower costs of installation, operation and renovation of existing space?
- Operations – Can the CCF’s capacity and expertise reduce operational costs by incorporating the infrastructure within a host site?
- Effectiveness – Are there opportunities to leverage other CCF resources to provide a more effective solution for research; for example by allowing “bursting” to larger resources when required?
The CFI and Compute Canada recognize that there are instances where, for compelling reasons, computing resources are best housed, managed and operated by individual institutions. Computing resources that normally would not make sense to deploy and operate at a one of our national host site include:
- Advanced computing resources that need to be directly connected to other equipment, such as data storage facilities required for data collection from sequencers or other experimental apparatus (although later stages of processing would likely be best done elsewhere);
- Advanced computing resources for which the research intrinsically requires the direct physical manipulation of the infrastructure, for instance experimenting with computing networks; and
- Advanced computing resources which have some other locality requirements which CCF cannot provide.
The process described below is designed to draw on our expertise to help institutions identify and define their advanced research computing needs for specific projects.
The Consultation and Collaboration Process for CFI IF and JELF Funds
Institutions are expected by the CFI to consult with the Compute Canada as soon as possible to discuss their advanced computing infrastructure needs.
The purpose of the consultation is to:
- Reach common understanding of the scientific objectives of the project and the type of resources being contemplated;
- Assist in the technical design of the advanced research computing solution needed to enable the proposed research;
- Establish whether CCF host sites can meet the advanced research computing needs of the project with existing resources, or if additional resources are required; and
- Determine whether the project has unique characteristics such that the resources would best be housed, managed and operated by the institution.
Step 1: Let’s Talk
The process begins with an initial email discussion between one of our representatives, an institutional representative and the Project Leader to determine the scope and needs of the proposed project. We encourage institutional representatives and Project Leaders to engage with us as soon as possible when they are planning to request advanced research computing resources and services, where possible including all available background material to help our technical team understand the project and its requirements.
We will respond promptly (within two business days) to either request further information or to set up a meeting in the following two weeks. This meeting will normally include the project leader, a CCF representative and an institutional representative and will be held in person or by teleconference depending on which is most convenient. In Step 1, a we will provide some high level advice about the concept for the project and how the project team should (or should not) interact with us going forward.
Step 2: Developing Collaborative Plans
After the initial meeting, our representative will work with the project team to gather additional details required to build a plan for the advanced computing infrastructure for the proposed project. The timeline for determining the plan will depend on the progress of the project team and institutional deadlines. Our representative will provide a tentative plan within two weeks of receiving all of the necessary information.
As a result of this collaborative discussion, our representative, the institution and the project leader will agree on wording to be included in the budget justification of the submitted proposal. This wording will verify that the proponent has consulted with the CCF and will describe the role (if any) that the CCF will play post-award. The final text of the proposal should normally be sent to us after it has been submitted to CFI.
Step 3: Following Funding Decisions by the CFI
Following final evaluation, the CFI will inform its decision to the funded institutions that chose to employ our services so that both parties can determine the most effective and efficient acquisition, deployment and operation of the infrastructure.
Following the notification of the decision, and at its discretion, the CFI may choose to adjust the conditions of individual awards to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness of the research computing infrastructure that it supports.
Letter of support
We offer to partner with researchers in grants involving an Advanced Research Computing (ARC) component. The Compute Canada Federation can act as a partner, providing resources (in-kind) during a stable term to support the operations of the systems that are funded by the grant.
In order to request a letter of support from us, please follow these steps:
- Send us an email as far as possible ahead of your submission deadline (please give us at least five business days).
- Make sure to include in your email the following information:
- Name(s) of the researcher(s).
- Grant name and name of funding agency.
- Deadline for submitting the letter to the funding agency.
- A short paragraph highlighting the Advanced Research Computing component of the research and explaining why the CCF should enter as a partner in the proposed research.
- A one-page summary of the proposed research.
- Name of the person and institution to which the letter should be addressed.
- Any additional form(s) that need to be filled out.
- Any particular instructions and guidelines that may apply.
- We will contact you within the two days following our receipt of your email to confirm that we have received all the information we need to produce the letter, to request some additional information, or to set up a meeting to discuss the proposal in more detail.
- Once the above steps have been completed and the terms of the partnership have been agreed, we will send by email a signed copy of the support letter with the Compute Canada official letterhead.
If you have any questions, please email us.