The HECToR Service is now closed and has been superceded by ARCHER.

THE HECToR SERVICE WILL CLOSE ON MARCH 21st 2014 AND WILL BE SUPERCEDED BY THE ARCHER SERVICE. Prospective users should refer to the ARCHER Website. These pages are kept for historical reasons only.

EPSRC/BBSRC Class 1a HECToR Application Process

People who wish to apply for Class 1a access to the service must submit a proposed research project to one of the Research Councils for approval. This is the procedure to follow for both EPSRC and BBSRC researchers.

The person making the application is called the Principal Investigator (PI). It is assumed that they will be in charge of the project.

Please note:

  • Since the Research Councils are funded by the UK Government, they only support research based at UK institutions.
  • The procedure described below is that for applying to EPSRC or BBSRC. The procedures for the other Research Councils may differ. (See the application procedures page for more information.)
  • This is a summary. For full details, please consult EPSRC webpages on how to apply to HECToR.
  • Note: as of 1 July 2012, applications for HECToR class 1a access on standard research grants should be limited to the first two years of the grant. Any access required for the last year of the grant will be through "top-up" applications through the Resource Allocation Panel (RAP). The RAP meets three times a year and further details on the assessment process of top-up applications can be found in the current call document. Please see the EPSRC web page on access routes for further details.

1. Plan your proposal

The EPSRC webpage Funding Basics is a good start. Also, we recommend you check the EPSRC webpages on how to apply to HECToR.

2. Fill in the Application Form

You can download the Application Form (sometimes called the Technical Assessment Form) from the link, or from the EPSRC website. It's a Word document; please fill it in by editing the file.

Time on HECToR is measured in Allocation Units (kAUs). 1 kAU is proportional to a 1 Tflop/s processor running for 1 hour. Using the kAU enables you to apply for access to the various parts of HECToR using the same unit.

As shown in paragraph 9 of the form, HECToR is currently at phase 3 and you need to specify how many kAUs you require. You will also be asked to divide the time between smaller and larger jobs. Filling in this part of the form will be useful in step 4 below.

You can use the online HECToR AU calculator to help you fill in these parts of the Technical Assessment form.

If you have any problems filling in the form, please contact the helpdesk at

3. Get a Technical Assessment from HECToR

Send the completed form, together with your draft case for support and any other documentation, to the helpdesk at Please send these documents by email if at all possible; this will speed up the process. We will send the form back with our Technical Assessment added in Section 2.

The Technical Assessment only addresses the question of whether what you wish to do is possible and suitable for HECToR. It does not consider your proposal from the scientific point of view; that will be done later by peer review.

You need to leave two weeks for us to do the assessment and send back the form. If your application presents any problems, we may get in touch to discuss possible changes; in this case, the process may take longer.

4. Submit your application to the Research Council

Applications are made through the Research Councils' J-eS (Joint electronic Submission) online system. Consult The J-eS Handbook if you are unfamiliar with this.

Use the system to request access to the HECToR facility. There is only one facility so you will need to add up all the kAUs requested on the HECToR TA form to get the total number of kAUs that you require. Using your Application Form as reference, fill in the total number of kAUs you require in the Units box. Note that J-eS has never heard of kAUs. It speaks in terms of hours; but this really means kAUs.

When you submit your case for support through the J-eS system, you must include your completed Application Form including the Technical Assessment as a single PDF file. If you don't do this, your application will not be considered.

J-eS will work out the cost of your use of HECToR, and will include this in your application.

Once you have submitted your application, it will be considered by the Research Council. Expect this process to take 4-6 months.

5. When you receive your award letter...

If all goes well, you will receive an award letter from the Research Council. Since this letter has been generated automatically by J-eS, once again it will detail your award in hours. When the award letter says 'hours', it actually means 'kAUs'.

Contact HECToR through the helpdesk at to arrange access. You can postpone access for up to six months after the nominal start date of your award.

6. Computational Science and Engineering support

CSE support for projects on HECToR is provided by NAG Ltd, through a network of distributed support staff located with the various projects. This includes help with optimisation, scaling and porting of codes. If your project needs distributed support from NAG of this kind, you can apply for it separately; you can't apply through the procedure outlined above. Details of this can be found on the distributed CSE page.