Research PortalResearch Platforms and Portals (RPP) Competition


The Research Platforms and Portals (RPP) Competition was created to enable communities to develop projects that improve access to shared datasets, enhance existing online research tools and facilities, or advance national or international research collaborations. For more information about other Compute Canada Resource Allocation Competitions, please see our main Resource Allocation Competitions page.

Process Changes for 2017

In response to feedback received from the research community and in an attempt to improve the application process, we have made some important changes to our resource allocation process, which includes a new competition schedule and the creation of multiple streams in each competition. Please read this year’s Application Guide carefully, and visit the Compute Canada website to learn more about these important changes.

2017 Application Guide Table of Contents

Competition Eligibility
Guidelines for Completing an Application
Pre-Submission Consultations
Online Application Form
Request Streams
Evaluation Process
Resource Justification
General Presentation Guidelines for the Free Form Sections
Questions and Additional Information

Competition Eligibility

Groups are encouraged to use the RPP competition if their application falls within any of the following categories:

  • Resources requested on behalf of a large community of users that will be reallocated to individuals and small groups following the award.
  • Applications that provide a public platform that will make use of Compute Canada computing or storage.
  • Groups engaging in international agreements to provide multi-year computing or storage solutions based in Canada.
  • Groups that are providing shared data sets accessible using a third party (non-Compute Canada) interface.

If your project does not fall into any of the categories above, you are encouraged to access Compute Canada resources through other means:

  1. All Compute Canada users have access to modest quantities of resources without scientific review through a new Rapid Access Service (RAS). (Note: RAS replaces what was formerly known as a default allocation.)
  2. If you need more resources than can be obtained through Rapid Access but do not meet the RPP criteria above, please apply to the Resource Requests for Groups (RRG) competition.

If you have any questions about whether your resource needs fit within the RPP Competition, please contact us at to discuss.

Allocations in this competition may be awarded over multiple years (maximum of three years). Multi-year allocations are subject to an annual review prior to the start of subsequent years and to the availability of resources.

Individual applicants wishing to create more than one Research Platform or Portal may submit multiple applications (ie. one per portal) or may choose to combine their related platforms or portals into a single application. In addition, there is no restriction prohibiting an applicant from simultaneously holding an RPP and an RRG award.

Please note that Compute Canada resources are limited and thus applications may be scaled based on need and availability. Please refer to the Appendix at the end of this Guide for the RPP Evaluation Criteria.

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Guidelines for Completing an RPP Application

Applications to the RPP undergo a two-stage evaluation. Both stages of the competition are mandatory and must be completed by the identified deadline dates:

Stage Deadline Description
Notice of Intent (NOI) Thursday, September 22, 2016,
at 4:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
– The NOI stage is not competitive. Applications are only evaluated against the eligibility criteria to ensure alignment with the RPP competition rules.
– Successful NOIs will be invited to submit a full application.
– Unsuccessful NOI applicants may be directed to the RRG Competition.
Full application Thursday, November 24, 2016, at 4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time The Full Application stage includes details about the requested resources, availability of the resources to the platform or portal, operation and management of the platform, and expected impacts and opportunities resulting from the resource allocation.
Notice of Intent

The NOI should be completed online via the CCDB following the instructions provided in the online form. It is meant to be a lightweight notification process and is not competitive. The primary purposes are for competition planning and assurance that the applicant has chosen the correct competition.

The NOI includes the following sections:

Platform/Portal: Identify the platform or portal you wish to support or create with this project. Include: name and website.

Duration: Applications should not exceed three (3) years in duration.

Resources requested: The amount of compute, storage and/or VCPUs needed for each year of the allocation.

Overview: Outline the requested resources and the duration of the activities.

Rationale: Provide rationale for supporting or creating the platform/portal and why this is necessary.

Operation: Describe how the platform/portal provides or awards access to the resources granted through the RPP competition. Include general details on how the platform/portal will work with the community of researchers and enable greater collaboration between participants.

Scale: Identify the expected types of participants who will make use of the resource (e.g. Canadian academic researchers, Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP), international researchers, etc.), and the envisioned breakdown of domestic and international institutions involved.

Full Application (by invitation only)

Following a review of the NOIs, Compute Canada will contact applicants to invite them to participate in the RPP Competition. If your project is not a fit for this competition, Compute Canada will advise you of your other options for accessing the resources you need. Everyone who submitted an NOI will be contacted by the first week of October, 2016.

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Pre-Submission Consultations

Before completing a proposal for the competition, applicants are encouraged to consult with the Compute Canada technical staff responsible for the systems they intend to use. If you do not know the appropriate technical staff, please email Consultation is in the best interest of the applicants and ensures the technical aspects of the proposals are appropriately matched with the requested systems.

RAC consultations must happen prior to November 15, 2016, to allow adequate time for support by Compute Canada technical staff.

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Online Application Form

All applications to the RPP Competition are submitted online through the CCDB. Users must log in to the CCDB using an existing account or register for a new account. To create an RPP application, go to the Resource Applications page on CCDB.

In the online form, you will be asked to provide an up-to-date Canadian Common CV (CCV) and to identify which of your publications were enabled by your use of Compute Canada resources. This is useful information for the RPP review committee members and is also important for use in Compute Canada’s reporting to its funders.

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Request Streams

Depending on your request, your RPP application will fall into one of the two streams below:

  • Service Portal: Compute Canada hosts many research web portals which serve datasets or tools to a broad research community. These portals generally do not require large computing or storage resources, but may require support effort by the Compute Canada technical team. Groups applying for a service portal often use the Compute Canada Cloud, generally require a static IP address, and may (or may not) have more stringent up-time requirements than most research projects. This option is shown as “Portal” in the online form.
  • Compute and Storage Platform: Compute Canada hosts several platforms which serve significant compute and storage resources to a community of users. This may include a user-friendly front-end that submits traditional batch jobs on the back-end. Please note: Any proposal requiring at least 50 core years (or 50 VCPUs in the cloud) OR at least 50 TB of storage is considered to be a Compute and Storage Platform. This option is shown as “Platform” in the online form.

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Evaluation Process

Generally speaking, Compute and Storage Platforms consume much larger physical resources than Service Portals. As such, they will be subjected to more rigorous review.

Stream Evaluation
Service Portal – At least 1 peer review and 1 technical review.

– May be awarded without further panel discussion if reviews are positive.

Compute and Storage Platform – At least 2 peer reviews and 1 technical review.

– Mandatory scoring discussion at the RPP committee meeting.

– Potential science impact review from a disciplinary panel.

– Potentially discussed at the multidisciplinary face-to-face meeting of RAC committee chairs to determine final allocation.

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Resource Justification

The Resource Justification section is a free form document to be completed following the guidelines in the General Presentation section. This section provides additional details to complement the Resource Request Table and should include:

  • Details on the resource usage.
  • A description of the storage needs.
  • If applicable, a rationale for the choice of specific computing and storage resources.
  • If applicable, a description of high demand periods.
  • A description of who is expected to use the resources (domestic proportion across country, international proportion and distribution).
  • A description of the support required from Compute Canada to enable success of the platform/portal.

Strategic Plan

The Strategic Plan section is a free form document that should be completed following the guidelines in the General Presentation section. It should include the information listed below.

Typically a strategic plan for a Service Portal will be roughly 2 pages long, while a strategic plan for a Compute and Storage Platform may be 5-10 pages. However, no strict boundaries will be imposed.

Normally, the main section headings of the document would follow this structure:

Goal and Alignment

  • Main goal of the application
  • Importance of the scientific area to Canada
  • Alignment with the strategic goals of Compute Canada as outlined in the Strategic Plan 2014-2019

Use of a Platform/Portal

  • Describe the need for a platform/portal and the added value that will be created for the community of researchers
  • Provide context of the demand by the research community to consolidate efforts into a platform
  • Describe the level of interaction between Canadian and international research groups and platforms
  • Outline the proposed approach to sharing data sets across the platform

Expected Impacts

  • Describe the expected impacts of the research resulting from the research platform/portal
  • Provide a detailed list of the outcomes resulting from the use of the Compute Canada resources and the expected schedule for delivery of these outcomes
  • Explain how other partners, researchers or scientific areas will benefit from the outcomes of the research

Management and Operation of the Platform/Portal

  • Provide a detailed description of the management system and how the resources will be shared/distributed across the platform/portal
  • Explain how the research community will access the resources and how the platform/portal will maintain/increase the population accessing resources
  • If applicable, describe the evaluation mechanisms used to provide scientific rigor in selecting projects
  • Detail the type of information collected and the regularity of the project reporting to track the progress towards the anticipated expected outcomes

Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP)

  • Describe the potential impacts on HQP through their involvement in research activities using Compute Canada’s resources
  • Provide a table of the total number of HQP directly engaged in projects utilizing Compute Canada Resources and across academic levels (e.g. Undergraduate, Masters, PhD, PostDoc, etc.)
  • Describe any unique training opportunities for HQP resulting from the platform/portal
  • Provide any examples of potential for cross pollination between disciplines of HQP within the platform/portal community

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General Presentation Guidelines for the Free Form Sections

All applications must be submitted electronically via the CCDB. No paper applications will be accepted. The applications must be compiled into one searchable PDF version and must not be assembled using scanned documents. Applications should be compiled in the following order:

  1. Resource Justification
  2. Strategic Plan Free Form

Hard page limits will not be enforced, as very large projects or very large resource requests may naturally require more space to describe.

All free form sections should follow these formatting recommendations:

  • ­Page size: 8½ x 11 inches
  • ­Margins: no less than ¾ of an inch on all sides
  • ­Font: Times New Roman (no smaller than 12 pts) or Arial (no smaller than 11 pts)
  • ­Header: include the title of the application at the top of every page
  • ­All pages should be consecutively numbered

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Questions & Additional Information

For any questions or for more information on the RPP Competition please contact us at

For questions related to specific technology deployments, please also feel free to contact your regional support team:








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