Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : HPC PPP - Centres of Excellence on HPC

Topic identifier: INFRAEDI-02-2018
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
CSA Coordination and support action
Opening date:
05 December 2017
Deadline: 22 March 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Excellent Science
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

This topic covers two interrelated and synergic areas:

(a) Supporting Centres of Excellence (CoE) that promote the use of upcoming exascale and extreme performance computing capabilities in areas where user communities in collaboration with other HPC stakeholders can develop or scale up existing parallel codes towards exascale and extreme scaling performance, resulting into tangible benefits for addressing scientific, industrial or societal challenges.

(b) Addressing the fragmentation of activities for excellence in HPC applications, and fostering the widening of the use of HPC codes in the EU, by establishing a focal point for the consulting skills and training available from the CoE, and from other HPC centres or organisations, including PRACE.


(a) Research and Innovation Actions

CoEs will be user-driven and inherently committed to co-design activities so as to ensure that future HPC architectures are well-suited for the applications and their users, providing them with a high performance and scalable application base. CoEs will federate capabilities around Europe, exploiting available competences, and ensuring multidisciplinarity (combining application domain and HPC system, software and algorithm expertise) and synergies with national/local programmes.

Proposals for CoEs should clearly identify one of the following areas as the main focus of their work and the challenges addressed:

  1. Engineering: aeronautics, automotive and/or new combustion engines;
  2. Environmental sciences: climate and weather simulation, natural hazards forecast and prevention;
  3. Biomolecular research: combined research in chemical, biological, physical and computational science;
  4. Health/medicine:, computational methods and simulation in the biomedical domain;
  5. Materials science and engineering: materials design, simulation and modelling;
  6. Energy: optimising energy consumption and supporting the transition to a reliable and low carbon and clean energy supply;
  7. Big Data and Global Challenges: Big Data analytics for strategic global issues;
  8. Performance optimisation: optimisation and productivity services for HPC academic and industrial code(s) (including support to selected Centres of Excellence)
  9. Other domains (with a focus not addressed by any of the areas above)

Proposals should address all the following points:

  • Research in HPC applications towards highly scalable, optimised codes and the path to exascale performance (both computing and extreme data);
  • The provision of services supporting different usage models for the community needs, and contributing to the potential convergence of HPC, High Throughput Computing (HTC), and HPDA (High-Performance Data Analytics). This includes developing, maintaining, optimising (if needed re-design) and scaling HPC application codes, addressing the full scientific/industrial workflow, particularly covering data aspects; testing and validating codes and quality assurance;
  • Commitment to the co-design approach (hardware, software, codes), including the identification of suitable applications relevant to the development of HPC technologies towards exascale;
  • In collaboration with PRACE, address the skills gap in computational science in the targeted domain by specialised training and capacity building measures to develop the human capital resources for increased adoption of advanced HPC in industry (including SMEs) and academia;
  • Data management and long term data stewardship, in particular towards exascale;
  • Widening the access to codes and fostering transfer of know-how to user communities, including specific and targeted measures for industry and SMEs;
  • Business plans for long-term sustainability embracing a wide range of service models and funding options;
  • In collaboration with the support action foreseen for CoEs (specific challenge (b) of this topic), addressing the fragmentation of HPC activities for excellence in applications, and fostering the widening of the use of HPC codes in the EU

Proposals should include clear KPIs allowing the assessment and monitoring of the progress towards the objectives, both in terms of outputs and ultimate impact.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 6 and 8 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

(b) Coordination and Support Action

Proposals will address the following activities:

  • Coordinate the services (including e.g. consultancy to other organisations), training and skills development, and outreach activities for the CoE projects and potentially other initiatives and HPC stakeholders (e.g. PRACE), ensuring that best practices are shared;
  • Act as a clearing house for HPC training and consultancy, working with relevant stakeholders to ensure gaps are filled and overlaps avoided where possible;
  • Promote outreach to industry and SMEs, especially targeting specific industrial sectors and their events, and in view of supporting the INFRAINNOV-01-2019 action for stimulating the innovation potential of SMEs as users of advanced HPC services.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 2 million would allow this area to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

(a) Research and Innovation Actions

  • European leadership in exascale and extreme-scale -oriented codes and innovative algorithms/solutions that address societal challenges or are important for key scientific and industrial applications;
  • Improved access to computing applications and expertise that enables researchers and industry to be more productive, leading to scientific excellence and economic and social benefit;
  • Improved competitiveness for European companies and SMEs through access to CoE expertise and services;
  • Federating capabilities and integrating communities around computational science in Europe;
  • A large number of scientists and engineers, in particular female and young ones, trained in the use of computational methods and optimisation of applications.

(b) Coordination and Support Action

  • Access to consultancy and services (including training) offered by CoEs for external potential users and learners;
  • Maximise visibility and outreach of Centres of Excellence, in particular to industry;
  • Promoting the use of HPC by identifying industrial and SMEs users in the different business areas, and matching their needs with the available expertise in the CoEs;
  • Improved coordination and increased availability of training activities on HPC in Europe, in particular with PRACE.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities
Open Science

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual.


2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme.


Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.


3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme. 
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

(a) Research and Innovation actions

Grants will be awarded to proposals according to the ranking list. However, in order to ensure a balanced portfolio of supported actions, at least the highest-ranked proposal per area will be funded provided that it attains all thresholds and within the limits of the budget available for this topic.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (single-stage call): maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Research and Innovation Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement

Coordination and Support Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement

6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
Classified information
Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply

For grants awarded under this topic the Commission may object to a transfer of ownership or the exclusive or non-exclusive licensing of results to a third party established in a third country not associated to Horizon 2020. The respective option of Article 30.3 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
4. Research infrastructures (including e-Infrastructures) WP 2018-20
18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.


Additional documents

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