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NAIRR Pilot Proposal Instructions

Preparing your NAIRR Pilot Project Request

To request access to NAIRR Pilot resources, you must prepare a description, no longer than three (3) pages, of your proposed work. Do not include any proprietary information in proposals.

Reminder: Eligibility

This call is generally open to meritorious advanced computing proposals by US-based researchers and educators from US-based institutions including academic institutions, non-profits, federal agencies or federally-funded R&D centers, state, local, or tribal agencies, startups and small businesses with federal grants. However, a few individual resources available via this call may have differing eligibility rules. Assignment of supported proposals will be guided by these constraints.

Note that the email address you provide must be your institutional email. Requests providing personal email addresses such as “” addresses will not be considered.

Project Description Outline

To ensure your request can be properly reviewed and projects are directed to the appropriate resource(s), your description should include the sections outlined here.

A. Scientific/Technical Goal

Describe how your proposed work contributes to the NAIRR Pilot focus areas.

  • What is the scientific/technical goal?
  • What are the plan and timetable for getting to the goal?
  • Where do you plan to publish or otherwise publicly disseminate your results and in what timeline?

Your proposal should typically devote about one page to describing the scientific and technical goals, which should be sufficiently detailed to help reviewers understand the need for the resources being requested. If the proposed work is not supported by a merit-reviewed funding grant, you may consider devoting additional space to describing the scientific merit of the work as proposals for research activities without merit-reviewed support will be accepted, but will be subject to additional review regarding the scientific merits of the work. 

B. Estimate of Compute, Storage and Other Resources (if relevant to your request.

To the extent possible, provide an estimate of the scale and type of the resources needed to complete the work. Please be as specific as possible in your resource request along with data supporting the request made.  Your proposal text should indicate your first choice of resource(s), if any and your first alternate choice, should there not be sufficient availability on your first choice. Please select only your first choice of resource(s) in the online submission form.

The following questions should be addressed in the Resources section of your proposal.  

  • Describe your planned research experiments and the resources (computational, data, model, platform/software) needed to conduct the work. How do the  experiments relate to the research objectives?
  • For computing requests:
    • Describe the computing time needed in terms of GPU-hours or the units for your preferred resource(s). Describe how you arrived at your estimated resource need. How does this break down into the number of independent computations and their individual compute requirements? A table is often useful for presenting this information.
    • Describe how you determined the computational costs, whether by prior efforts by the team, citable results from other researchers, or benchmark runs.
    • Which computing architectures or systems are most appropriate (e.g. GPUs, large memory, etc.)?
    • How distributed can the computation be, and can it be split across multiple resources? Can this workload execute in a commercial cloud environment?
  • For model access, describe how you intend to use the model and how you estimated the number of credits needed for your research (if applicable).
  • Describe the storage needs of the project.
  • If your project requires access to any public datasets, please describe these datasets and how you intend to use them.
  • If your project requires access to specific software packages, describe this software (including whether it is open source or licensed) and how you intend to use it.

Your proposal should typically devote about one page to describing how you determined the scope of the  resources required. The justification should be sufficiently detailed to help reviewers understand how the work is appropriate for your preferred resource or other available resources and, if resources are constrained, how the request might be adjusted with minimal impact on your ability to accomplish your research goals.

C. Support Needs

Some NAIRR Pilot Resource Providers are offering access to collaborations with research teams via the request process. If you are interested in such a collaboration, describe how your project is suited to the collaboration offering and how the collaboration will help accelerate the progress to your research goals.

For other types of support or assistance, describe whether support from staff at the NAIRR Pilot Resource Providers (e.g. commercial cloud providers, academic research computing centers, platform or software) will be essential, helpful, or unnecessary. Estimates of necessary support are very helpful. 

Teams should also identify any restrictions that might apply to the project, such as export-controlled code, ITAR restrictions, proprietary data sets, regional location of compute resources, or personal health information (PHI) or HIPAA restrictions. In such cases, please provide information on security, privacy, and access issues.

D. Team and Team Preparedness

Summarize your team's qualifications and readiness to execute the project both in using the methods proposed and the resources requested.

  • Describe how you plan to accomplish the proposed work within the twelve-month period for NAIRR Pilot projects.
  • What systems have you recently used and what was the scale of the applications?
  • Given that some resources are at federal facilities with restrictions, please provide a list of the team members that will require accounts on resources along with their citizenship.

Supporting Documents

In addition to the main proposal document, please also prepare a CV or other biographical sketch document for the project team lead. Biosketch documents prepared for federal funding agency grant proposals will satisfy this requirement.

While the main document is limited to three pages, you may also provide a separate document to list the references cited in the main document.

Document Formatting

While readability is of greatest importance, documents must satisfy the following minimum requirements. Documents that conform to National Science Foundation proposal format guidelines will satisfy these guidelines.

  • Margins: Documents must have 2.5-cm (1-inch) margins at the top, bottom, and sides.
  • Fonts and Spacing: The type size used throughout the documents must conform to the following three requirements:
    • Use one of the following typefaces identified below:
      • Arial 11, Courier New, or Palatino Linotype at a font size of 10 points or larger;
      • Times New Roman at a font size of 11 points or larger; or
      • Computer Modern family of fonts at a font size of 11 points or larger.
    • A font size of less than 10 points may be used for mathematical formulas or equations, figures, table or diagram captions and when using a Symbol font to insert Greek letters or special characters. However, the text must still be readable.
    • Type density must be no more than 15 characters per 2.5 cm (1 inch).
    • No more than 6 lines must be within a vertical space of 2.5 cm (1 inch).
  • Page Numbering: Page numbers should be included in each file by the submitter. Page numbering is not provided by the submission system.
  • File Format: Only PDF file formats are accepted.