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The Swedish Research Council is funding a new organisation for large-scale computational resources

The Swedish Research Council has approved the application from Linköping University for the call Grant to infrastructure for national computational resources and associated services. The new organisation will become operational on 1 January 2023.

Sven Stafström, Director General för Swedish Research Council is satisfied with the decision.

“I look forward to Sweden having a forward-looking and more unified organisation that can effectively use the developments in technology in the field to address the needs of research. This will also give Sweden a prominent role in international collaborations.”

“We are very happy and honoured to have the opportunity to contribute to developing the prerequisites for an infrastructure for large-scale computation that is modern and fit-for-purpose,” says Jan-Ingvar Jönsson, Vice Chancellor, and Matts Karlsson, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Linköping University.

“The rapidly growing need for computation and data analysis within ever more fields required a quick-footed organisation, that with national responsibility in an international context also utilises local leading-edge competence. We are now beginning the work of developing guidelines for the future organisation and its management; a task that will be done in close collaboration with the other higher education institutions in Sweden.”

The new infrastructure will replace SNIC

In 2021, the Swedish Research Council decided to cease funding the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC) as from 2023, as it emerged that SNIC’s organisational structure could not fulfil the growing needs of Swedish research for computational and storage resources.

As a result, the Swedish Research Council issued a call for funding for a new organisation that could fulfil these needs. To obtain views from the research community ahead of the call, a hearing was held about funding and organisation of national services for large-scale computational resources. The issues were also discussed by the Higher Education Institutions’ Reference Group for Research Infrastructure (URFI).

The call closed on 31 March, and an application was received that has been assessed both by an international panel and by the Swedish Research Council’s scientific councils and RFI’s advisory groups.

“The successful application means that the Swedish research community will now have an up-to-date organisation that will provide first-class services for large-scale computation and storage within all scientific fields,” establishes Lisbeth Olsson, Secretary General of RFI.

Walter Lioen, Domain Manager Research Services at SURF and chair of the international panel evaluating the application is forecasting a bright future for Swedish High-Performance Computing, HPC.

“The new organisation, to be hosted by Linköping University, is the evolutionary next step towards a Swedish national HPC infrastructure, enabling future-proof internationally competitive computationally intensive scientific research.”

It is important that the transition process works smoothly

In parallel with the call, the Swedish Research Council has held a dialogue with SNIC and Uppsala University – which is hosting SNIC – to manage issues that have arisen as a result of the change. To support the higher education institutions during the transition, the Swedish Research Council also awarded funding to cover transition costs, and the Council for Research Infrastructures, RFI, which processed the application, emphasised the importance of a smooth transition process.

“We have put great efforts into ensuring that both the allocation work and also national and international engagements and agreements continue working in the future, and that we utilise the expertise that exists within SNIC,” emphasises Ingela Nyström, Chair of SNIC.

The Swedish Research Council has begun a dialogue with Linköping University to formulate special grant conditions, where recommendations arising during the review process are taken into account, for example to clarify the model for coordination of user support.

Linköping University will also, together with SNIC and Uppsala University, prepare for a smooth transition from the current SNIC to the new organisation – a process that SNIC and the Swedish Research Council have already begun.

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