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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/W032066/1
Title: DRI Professional Skills Pilot Programme
Principal Investigator: Bain, Professor CD
Other Investigators:
Weinzierl, Dr M Probert, Professor M Real, Dr A N
Sinclair, Dr G Clark, Professor SJ
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
University of Oklahoma
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: Durham, University of
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 December 2021 Ends: 31 March 2022 Value (£): 147,701
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Computer Sys. & Architecture Parallel Computing
Software Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
11 Nov 2021 ESPRC Digital Research Infrastructure Phase 1 Assurance Panel 11th November 2021 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The key aspect of this proposal is to create a skills programme for the workforce that will underpin the Digital Research Infrastructure. This will be an in-person event held during the timeframe of this proposal, and the materials will also be recorded and curated, so that these will form the basis of an ongoing training programme. Hence we will directly address the skills of 120 research computing professionals (including RSEs) in the immediate timeframe, which will have an immediate impact on a wide range of academic communities, and also create an ongoing activity for future communities. This will ensure that the proposal delivers long-term value, and supports the evolution of the DRI.

This proposal will directly train a large number (target = 120) of research computing professionals, which will then have a 'ripple effect' on a much wider number of researchers. One of the key aspects of the training is communication between different domains, and addressing the skills gap in areas such as this will have a major impact and enhance the return on investment of many other DRI activities. The existing EPSRC investments in tier-1 and tier-2 computing are at least £80m, and so this modest proposal will significantly impact the ability of researchers to leverage these existing significant investments, and form a basis for training new cohorts in the future.

The skills programme will present opportunities for additional utilisation of EPSRC HPC estate to further expand the user base, including provision for UKRI researchers outside of the EPSRC remit, through equipping a diverse cohort with the relevant professional skills within our institutions. It will support expansion of the HPC user base through new and existing networks of researchers across the EPSRC landscape, and it represents a direct investment in the UK's skills base and software development community required for the continued operation of high quality HPC services.

The timescale of this call are very tight, and given the current extreme difficulties in purchasing hardware within the timeframe, we have opted for the skills programme proposal, rather than additional hardware. We strongly believe that this will have significant impact across the DRI landscape, both in the immediate timeframe of the proposal and in the future. We are confident that we can deliver this programme within the timeframe, without the risk of hardware delivery missing deadlines, whilst also providing very good value for money. There are some minor risks, which have been considered, and appropriate precautionary measures have been put in place.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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