Will I entail a charge for using RCS services?

Standard access

Standard access to RCS systems is free at the point of use.

This includes:

  • A fair share access to computer resources, where your jobs are scheduled as resources permit.
  • A small storage allocation.
  • Access to advice from our support team.

Please refer to our "Get Access" web page for information on how to register for our key services. 

Specifically, access to HPC is free when using shared access.

HPC users have a standard entitlement of 1TB for private working space. This is unmovable.

Each individually funded research project receives an entitlement of 2TB of online storage, split across all of the associated RDS project allocations. We consider a research project to be a unique entry in the college's grant management system - i.e. a project account with a P or PS code. Non-project GL accounts can also be used but these receive no standard entitlement.

Research Software Engineering support is free for informal consultations, short collaborations (under 2 days) and code surgeries (30 minutes every fortnight).

Express Access

Standard access to our systems is unmetered and free-at-the-point-of-use. If you find yourself requiring more than the standard service provides, for example to meet a specific deadline, you may pay for express access. 

The current charges for express access are: 

CPU Compute: is £0.01 per (physical) core-hour. We currently have 3 options available:

  • High-Throughput Compute: Nodes with 24 cores, 128GB of memory and low-performance interconnect
  • High-End Compute: Nodes with 28 cores, 128GB of memory and high-performance interconnect.
  • General Compute: nodes with 128 cores, 960gb of memory and mid-performance interconnect.

GPU Compute: £0.13/GPU-hour, with Nvidia Quadro RTX 6000 GPUs, up to 8 GPUs, 16 cores and 192GB of memory per job.

If you are a PI or grant holder you can create an express access account directly via the self-service portal. 

Grant funding (charging)

Imperial College makes a strategic annual investment in excess of £4 million in research computing in recognition of its broad utility to the whole academic community. The Research Computing Service, as part of the College's central ICT Department, administers this investment providing a high-quality, free at the point of use, service encompassing access to compute, research data storage, training and professional research software engineering services. The Service has over 5000 active users, representing over 50% of the College's active research projects. 

The RCS's compute estate is tailored to support the diverse computing needs of the research community, from high-throughput capacity (60k cores) to high-end capability (17k cores), the latter providing a complement to national Tier-1 resources. Supporting this is a high-capacity research data system (14PB capacity) appropriate for storage of data through all stages of its lifecycle. The RCS is working towards ISO-certification of the RDS for the secure storage of sensitive data. The Service's equipment is housed in a modern ISO 27001-certified commercial data-centre providing secure, highly reliable hosting. 

Imperial College researchers benefit from significant resource allocation free at the point of use. Where a project's needs exceed the Service's standard offering, compute and storage is available at flexible, low-cost metered rates. 

Additionally, the RCS provides regular training for Service users at all levels of experience, but with particular emphasis on training for early-career researchers, equipping them with the board skillset required for effective research computing. A recent strategic development for the RCS is the creation of a Research Software Engineering team staffed by professional engineers and available for expert, in-depth consultancy to research projects through both short and long-term engagements. 

Costing for Grants

  • See Express Access for rate for compute time
  • RDS Data storage rates can be found on our Research Data Store page.
  • Research Software Engineering consultancy is available at a rate of £400/day, but there are also free support avaliable as described in the Research Software Engineering page.
  • We ask that researchers preparing proposals including RCS services also include a professional services fee of £400 per researcher per annum, as a contribution to our user support and training 

These services cost on grants in Worktribe under the Research Computing Service charge-out facility.

Research Software Engineering

The Research Software Engineering Team offers a selection of paid for consultancy services as well as free options to support its mission of increasing the quality, impact and sustainability of the research software developed at Imperial. You can find all details in the Research Software Engineering page, but as a sumary, the initiatives they offer are:

  • Software projects: Substantial software projects to add features, improve sustainability or build high-quality tools from the ground up. This includes providing ongoing support to teams developing software themselves. These are charged at a rate of £400/day.
  • Open-source booster: Free, short (<2 days) collaborations to maximise the impact of open-source software developed at Imperial.
  • Code surgeries: Free, 30 min fortnightly sessions to provide advice on programming best practices, solve coding issues or guide researchers to the right tools.