Wednesday 2 June 2010

EPSRC: FAQs on Computing Costs for the Research Councils

EPSRC has published advice for those confused by the changes (introduced in January) to eligible costs for computers. The EPSRC Funding Guide now states:

“Any proposals requesting items that would ordinarily be found in a department, for example non-specialist computers, should include justification both for why they are required for the project and why they cannot be provided from the research organisation's own resources (including funding from indirect costs from grants).”

EPSRC has had many questions from the community about what this means to them, and has offered the following FAQs to answer the more common ones.
  • Q1: My research proposal involves significant amounts of computational calculations, can I ask for a high performance computer?
  • A2: Yes, if your proposed research requires a high performance computer to do calculations you may request one on the proposal. Please provide details in the Justification of Resources about why you need such a computer for the project and what specifications such a computer should have.
  • Q2: As part of the proposal I am attending conferences and visiting collaborators, can I ask for a laptop?
  • A2: Requests for a laptop for carrying out basic tasks while travelling are not permitted. However, if you plan to do more advanced tasks while away from your department and can provide sufficient justification for why the project requires a high performance laptop then this may be permitted.
  • Q3: Can I request resources for both a desktop and a laptop?
  • A3: No, EPSRC would not expect to fund both a desktop and a laptop for a single researcher on a proposal. Requests for a laptop and docking station may be considered.
  • Q4: Can I request resources for a printer and/or scanner?
  • A4: No, printers and scanners should be provided by your department.
The Mathematical Sciences programme receives many requests for Macintosh computers; since these cost significantly more than the equivalent PC you should provide justification for why a Macintosh is required for the project.

Thanks to Peter Clarkson for highlighting this info.

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