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UK joins EU supercomputing scheme and opens researcher funding

13th May 2024
Sheryl Miles
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British researchers, businesses, and academics will have enhanced access to future supercomputer research funding from 13th May 2024 as the UK joins the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC).

The move will boost the UK’s global supercomputing research community, power the discovery of new drugs, harness the full potential of AI, and more. 

EuroHPC brings together top-class supercomputing resources from across 35 countries, including Norway, Turkey, and all 27 EU member states, to drive research in the next generation of computing technologies. The UK has secured enhanced access to the Horizon Europe funded portion of the programme, worth over £770 million between 2021 to 2027.

The move will support scientists to make use of the cutting-edge European supercomputing facilities the UK gained access to through Horizon Europe. Their ability to solve problems and perform calculations with more speed and power than traditional computers are capable of, make these systems vital to the development of exciting discoveries that will benefit us all, from new medical treatments to novel clean energy applications.

The partnership aims to boost world-class leadership in supercomputing, as members pool resources and knowledge to develop scientific excellence in this field. By joining the Joint Undertaking, UK scientists will have the opportunity to bid for vital research support, strengthening the UK’s computer capacity.  

In November the UK’s bespoke deal to associate to Horizon Europe secured UK researchers access to future EuroHPC supercomputers. The UK now gains further access to the Horizon Europe-funded portion of EuroHPC, which is worth around £770 million from 2021 to 2027.

With match funding from the government, UK researchers, businesses, and scientists can now bid confidently for further EuroHPC grants, ensuring our brightest minds have access to cutting-edge compute facilities.  

EuroHPC grants require match-funding from the UK on a case-by-case basis, and more information on how this will be made available, will be provided in due course. Researchers can apply for time on EuroHPC systems and for Horizon funded research and innovation grants on the EuroHPC website.    

Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary, Michelle Donelan said: “I have made it my mission to unleash the benefits of AI for the British public and supercomputers are essential tools that our best and brightest researchers need to deliver breakthroughs that will grow the economy and improve all our lives, from healthcare to energy security.  

“This deal will only strengthen the UK’s science and tech superpower credentials, by giving our scientists and businesses even greater access to a leading network of expertise and powerful computing systems from Finland to Portugal. 

“I urge researchers to seize this exciting opportunity and bid for EuroHPC support.”

This is the latest deal secured by the government to maximise UK researchers’, scientists’ and businesses’ access to R&D funding and opportunities for international collaboration. Following a bespoke deal signed by the Prime Minister last year, the UK has associated to Horizon Europe, the world’s largest programme of research collaboration, worth around £80 billion in total.

With a Horizon grant worth £450,000 on average to a UK business, we have launched a campaign to boost UK participation, with a multichannel PR blitz, ‘pump-priming’ grants to support applicants, and a Roadshow of information events taking place around the UK – the next of which will be in Glasgow, on 12th June 2024. 

In March, the UK joined the ‘Chips Joint Undertaking’, providing the UK semiconductor industry with enhanced access to a £1.1 billion pot of funds set aside from Horizon Europe to support research in semiconductor technologies up to 2007. 

Supercomputing has incredible potential to transform our scientific understanding and enable breakthroughs in nearly every scientific field. It is already powering the discovery of new drugs and development of targeting medical therapies for the individual needs of patients suffering with diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer.  

Joining EuroHPC further builds on the government’s £1.5 billion plan to deliver world-leading compute facilities for the nation’s businesses and researchers, including backing for the Isambard-AI supercomputer in Bristol and the Dawn supercomputer in Cambridge, both of which will come online this year, and a new national exascale supercomputing facility, to be hosted in Edinburgh. 

Through EuroHPC, UK researchers have access to:  

  • LUMI, a pre-exascale EuroHPC supercomputer located in Kajaani, Finland 
  • Leonardo, a pre-exascale EuroHPC supercomputer in the Bologna Technopole, Italy 
  • MareNostrum 5, a pre-exascale EuroHPC supercomputer located in Barcelona, Spain. 
  • MeluXina, a petascale EuroHPC supercomputer located in Bissen, Luxembourg 
  • Karolina, a petascale EuroHPC supercomputer located in Ostrava, Czech Republic. 
  • Discoverer, a petascale EuroHPC supercomputer located in Sofia, Bulgaria 
  • Vega, a petascale EuroHPC supercomputer located in Maribor, Slovenia 
  • Deucalion, a petascale EuroHPC supercomputer located in Guimarães, Portugal.

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