Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Resource for GridPP7 operations

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Apply for funding for GridPP7 operations.

You must be:

  • based at a UK research organisation eligible for STFC funding
  • a member of the GridPP Collaboration

GridPP must underpin the UK particle physics programme by providing an efficient service built around:

  • physical hardware and infrastructure
  • software running on physical hardware and infrastructure, and Worldwide LHC Computing Group (WLCG) federal responsibilities
  • middleware and interface to experiments

Funding is for resource grants only. A capital submission will be invited later in 2023.

Who can apply

This funding opportunity is only open to members of the GridPP Collaboration.

You must be:

  • based at a UK research organisation eligible for STFC funding
  • a member of the GridPP7 Collaboration

Check if you are eligible for STFC funding.

What we're looking for

GridPP is in its operational phase supporting the deployment of the UK grid as part of the WLCG infrastructure in direct support of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiments. It provides computing resources, expertise, and training to other particle and high energy physics, and an array of other experiments.

GridPP must underpin and enable the UK particle physics programme by providing an efficient and lean service built around:

  • physical hardware and infrastructure
  • software running on physical hardware and infrastructure, and WLCG federal responsibilities
  • middleware and interface to experiments, and experiment ‘customer’ support

The GridPP7 proposal should identify and describe the most efficient delivery of the above and explain any significant differences to GridPP6. The proposal should set out the international context of the GridPP7 phase and its contribution within global initiatives, and the synergies and coordination with STFC investment in other digital research infrastructure, particularly initiatives such as SWIFT-HEP.

Areas of focus

The review of GridPP6 highlighted a number of areas of consideration that should be included within the GridPP7 proposal baseline.

Research and development activities

The efficiency and sustainability of GridPP as a service should be preserved, and so research and development activities should be included in the proposal. It should set out planned developments and innovations for GridPP7 and the future, including how the collaboration will use new technology and software to develop more efficient and cost-effective operating methods.

Virtual Organisation (VO) opportunities

GridPP should provide opportunities for a number of VOs beyond the LHC experiments, benefitting particle and high energy physics more widely.

Environmental sustainability

Environmental sustainability must feature within the proposal, in line with the UK net zero strategy and the UK Research and Innovation environmental sustainability strategy.

A GridPP environmental sustainability statement must be included, followed by an ‘environmental sustainability vision’ or ‘end goal’, and the outline of a plan as to how to get there. There is an expectation that significant progress should be made within GridPP7, both in terms of implementation and planning for and evolution into potential future GridPP phases. With that in mind, understanding potential early indicators and monitoring methodologies would be beneficial.

Energy efficiency

The proposal must show progress toward improved energy efficiency compared to GridPP6 and have a methodology to monitor and evaluate progress. As with environmental sustainability, it is expected that significant progress should be made within GridPP7, both in terms of implementation as well as planning for potential future GridPP phases.

Funding available

Funding is for resource grants only. A capital submission will be invited later in 2023.

Duration

Funding is available for a 4-year period, from 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2028.

How to apply

You must apply using the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

You can find advice on completing your application in:

We recommend you start your application early.

Your host organisation will also be able to provide advice and guidance.

Submitting your application

Before starting an application, you will need to log in or create an account in Je-S.

All investigators involved in the project need to be registered on Je-S.

Any investigators who do not have a Je-S account must register for one at least 7 working days before the opportunity deadline.

When applying:

  1. Select ‘documents’, then ‘new document’.
  2. Select ‘call search’.
  3. To find the opportunity, search for: GridPP7.

This will populate:

  • council: STFC
  • document type: standard proposal
  • scheme: standard
  • call/type/mode: GridPP7
  • peer review preference: particle physics exploitation

Once you have completed your application, make sure you ‘submit document’.

You can save completed details in Je-S at any time and return to continue your application later.

Your application must be for resource grants only. A capital submission will be invited later in 2023.

Deadline

STFC must receive your application by 2 March 2023 at 4:00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time. Please leave enough time for your proposal to pass through your organisation’s Je-S submission route before this date.

You should ensure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place.

Attachments

Your application must also include the following attachments:

  • case for support
  • form X (to include GridPP6 and GridPP7)
  • financial tables (institute and RAL)
  • data management plan

All documentation (including any references provided) should use margins of a minimum 2cm around each page and be written in 1 of the following fonts:

  • Arial 11pt (please note that this is the preferred font for STFC)
  • Helvetica regular 11pt
  • an equivalent regular 11pt sans serif universal font such as FreeSans

Case for support

This attachment should not exceed 40 sides of A4, including appendices. No appendices except those prescribed by STFC should be included and they must be formatted as specified by STFC. If needed, further information may be requested by STFC. Further guidance on justifying resources requested within the case for support can be found in guidance for applicants.

A separate ‘pathways to impact’ document is no longer required for grant applications. The proposal should still consider how the project will or might achieve impact throughout its duration and include this as part of the case for support. For more information on embedding impact in the proposal, please see our impact guidance.

The proposal should be clear and concise and cover the full ‘business case’ for support, including an explicit analysis of costs, risks, and benefits. The following points should be addressed within the body of the case for support.

Objectives and success criteria

The intended outputs and outcomes of the project should be stated clearly, so that the success or failure of the project can easily be determined at the end of the funded period.

Project description

The scope of the project should be described, setting out the key work areas, links to other research and the nature of the support required. Any unique contributions, the likely global impact, and areas of UK leadership should also be highlighted.

Strategic fit and relevance

The specific STFC science priorities that this project addresses should be identified. You should address the following questions:

  • how does this fit with STFC’s current scientific strategy and priorities?
  • what aspects are particularly relevant?
  • what is its potential impact?
Awareness and context

Describe the status of related activity nationally and worldwide and how this proposal builds on the existing grid model. You should address the following questions:

  • where is this research field likely to be in 10 years’ time?
  • does the project have a strong supportive user base among the relevant community both in the UK and internationally?
Competing research

Provide a summary of any competing (or complementary) projects or techniques and the level of investment. Some analysis of the benefits of this particular project against similar past, current, and planned future experiments worldwide should be included. You should address the following questions:

  • what is the position of the UK within the WLCG compared to other nations?
  • how will development in the field impact the WLCG?
Track record

Describe the proponents’ track record in this field. A list of UK participants should be provided. You should address the following questions:

  • why is your group or consortium the best or most appropriate to carry out this project?
  • how should the assessors be confident that you would be able to deliver the project?

Please provide information on the progress of activities and objectives, and whether there were any deviations from GridPP6.

Project strategy

Describe the implementation strategy for this project and show how this will evolve during the lifetime of the grant period.

Funding scenarios

The applicants must prepare 2 funding scenarios:

  • funding at the 100% level
  • funding at the 90% level

The funding profile is assumed to be largely flat. Funding must not exceed the total budget provided. To provide a basis for developing and assessing options for future GridPP support, work packages or other readily understood activities within these funding scenarios should be prioritised.

Project management plan

Information should be given about the way in which the project is to be led and managed. Further explanation can be found in the STFC project management framework (PDF, 2MB). This must describe:

  • project organisation and participants: provide a project structure diagram identifying key individuals or bodies (for example, project management board, UK spokesperson, project manager, work package leaders) and reporting lines. A table should also be included showing effort for each work package (total full time equivalent per work package per year, broken down into academic and non-academic effort)
  • work breakdown structure (WBS): setting out the key work-packages together with a description of the key deliverables and tasks required to deliver them. The WBS should be broken down sufficiently to allow key work-packages and activities within the project to be understood
  • project schedule: the timescale of major activities, objectives and outcomes should be clearly specified. How will this project be considered a success? Where possible, a Gantt chart showing the major milestones, and which reflects the WBS should be provided. A list of key deliverables, milestones and review points against which progress can be assessed should be given
  • financial and resource plans: covering resources allocated, cost estimates, and budgeting against the WBS. More detailed guidance is available in the costs we fund guidance and guidance for applicants (PDF, 271KB). Ensure that:
    • costs are presented in a clear and understandable way
    • staff resource plans include a brief description of the activity staff will undertake and the need for each post. Resource tables should specify the staff category, and the fraction of the time they will spend on the project or work-package, broken down by year (group leaders should give their agreement and there must be consistency with existing consolidated grants)
  • risk management: risk and how it is dealt with is a critical aspect in every project. A risk analysis, risk register, and risk management action plan should be included. All risks associated with the project should be evaluated and costed and an explanation given of how they will be controlled and managed
  • change control procedures should be specified to enable changes to the scope, schedule or cost of the project to be identified, evaluated, and tracked. This will normally be linked with STFC’s project oversight and control procedures. The interaction between CERN and the UK should be considered
  • management information and reporting arrangements should be described to enable project progress and performance to be managed effectively
  • outreach and public engagement plan: an outline of an outreach and public engagement plan should be provided
Collaborative projects

Linkages or collaborations with key stakeholders. Include how responsibilities are to be shared among the collaborators, both within the UK and internationally. For international collaborations, membership of the international collaboration, a brief breakdown of responsibilities within it, and the significance of the UK contribution to the project should be given. The status of approval and funding of the international experiment should be provided where applicable.

Other funding

Describe any other sources of funding currently held or being investigated.

Form X

Form X is intended to give an indication of how the staff effort will change through the period of the project and how full time equivalent is distributed across institutions and work packages. A completed GridPP6 and GridPP7 form X (XLSX, 47KB) is required for both the GridPP6 award and the GridPP7 request and must be submitted to STFC at the email address pp@stfc.ac.uk by 2 March 2023 at 4:00pm UK time.

Financial tables

Financial tables must be completed for each work package and institute and for the overall project, with a separate table for the RAL laboratory request template (XLSX, 13KB). The tables must be included as an annex in the case for support (not included in the page limit) and also submitted to STFC at the email address pp@stfc.ac.uk by 2 March 2023 at 4:00pm UK time.

Complete the STFC template finance tables.

Data management plan

You are required to provide a data management plan and an acceptable data management plan must be in place before a grant will be awarded. Further information can be found in the data management plan guidance.

How we will assess your application

The standard STFC assessment criteria will be used to assess the proposal.

Read the STFC assessment criteria.

The science case for GridPP has already been made for the experiments. Therefore, this funding opportunity is about the scope and level of GridPP support needed to support the experiments.

Peer review

A peer review panel will be convened to assess the proposal for GridPP7. The panel will be composed of:

  • members of the Particle Physics Grants Panel
  • members of the Project Peer Review Panel
  • computing experts
  • members of the particle physics research community

2 panel meetings are envisaged, and the panel will make its recommendations to Science Board, as well as the STFC Executive Board.

The peer review of the GridPP7 proposal is to ensure that the resources requested are well justified and align with the recommended UK experimental programme.

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity

Nicole Ashman, Programme Manager for Particle Physics

Email: pp@stfc.ukri.org

Include ‘GridPP7 Operations’ in the subject line.

We aim to respond within 5 working days.

Get help with applying through Je-S

Email

jeshelp@je-s.ukri.org

Telephone

01793 444164

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