The purpose of discretionary awards is to allow flexible allocation to four classes of project:

  1. Scientifically outstanding projects where DiRAC resources could enable a breakthrough to be made but where the impact of the research would be lost if the project were submitted according to the regular RAC timetable;
  2. Small allocations of DiRAC resources to researchers in non-DiRAC fields who wish to explore whether DiRAC resources could benefit their research output;
  3. Allocations to support innovation activities of strategic importance to the future of the facility;
  4. Allocations to support other activities of strategic benefit to DiRAC and/or UKRI (e.g. training events).

DiRAC researchers who require small amounts of HPC access and are not already associated with a RAC-allocated Project or Large Project will be directed to apply for a Seedcorn Allocation rather than Discretionary Time.

Application and Assessment Process

Applications are accepted at any time by e-mailing the Director, Mark Wilkinson (miw6@leicester.ac.uk) to discuss the appropriateness of applying for discretionary time.

Following this initial discussion, additional information will be requested information from the applicant: this information will be similar to that requested during the seedcorn application process.

The proposal should include a brief science justification. For proposals which are being submitted via this route due to their being time-critical, the proposal must include a clear statement of why the impact of the work would be lost by delaying until the following RAC submission deadline (e.g. a recent discovery requiring theoretical modeling in an internationally competitive field).

The Director will assess the proposal, if necessary obtaining expert scientific and/or technical advice from the RAC co-chairs, an external referee or a member of the DiRAC Technical Working Group or Research Software Engineering team. If the proposal is deemed to be worthy of support, the Director will inform the system managers on the appropriate machine to schedule the requested time at high priority.

At the end of the allocation period, applicants will be asked to submit a report on their usage, including the publications or other outputs which have resulted from the discretionary allocation. All publications resulting from discretionary allocations must include an acknowledgement of DiRAC resources.

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