NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery Since 1974

2016 Call for Proposals to use NERSC Resources

NOTE: This is historical content. It may include references to programs, people, and research no longer active at Berkeley Lab. It may also link to web pages that no longer exist or refer to documents no longer available. It is provided as-is.

Overview and Schedule

The Office of Science of the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) solicits proposals for 2015 allocations of high performance computing resources at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Proposals must support the mission of the DOE Office of Science, and can be submitted starting August 4, 2015.

All current projects (including startup, education, and Director Reserve) must be renewed for 2016 if you wish to continue using NERSC. New project requests may be submitted as well (for either the remainder of 2015 or to start in 2016).

The deadline for submitting 2016 NERSC proposals (both renewed and new) is September 21, 2015, 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

Award decisions for requests submitted before this deadline will be emailed to Principal Investigators and PI Proxies on December 11, 2015. Production requests made after September 21 will be reviewed in late January 2016. New requests awarded after August 2015 may be renewed for 2016 after the September 21 deadline.

2016 allocations will be for the period January 12, 2016, through January 9, 2017.

Submitting Your Request

Requests to use NERSC resources are submitted via a web form known as the ERCAP (Energy Research Computing Allocations Process) Request Form. ERCAP is accessed through the NERSC Information Management (NIM) system at See Help for the ERCAP Allocations Request Form.

Most projects fall under the "allocation type" of "DOE Production." Unless you know otherwise, you should select this allocation type on the ERCAP form. The currency of time at NERSC is the "MPP Hour," which is equivalent to 1 (one) CPU core hour on NERSC's Hopper supercomputer (2.1 GHZ AMD "Magny-Cours" processors). Each system has a "machine charge" factor relative to Hopper. Edison's machine charge factor is 2.0. Since NERSC charges for exclusive use of entire nodes, one hour of usage on an Edison 24-core node is charged 48 MPP Hours.

Projects that use PDSF and Genepool

Requests to renew NERSC's PDSF (Parallel Distributed Systems Facility) and Joint Genome Institute Genepool projects are part of the ERCAP form as well. These allocations, however, are handled separately from NERSC DOE allocations. PDSF is used by researchers in the high energy physics and nuclear science communities and access must be approved by the PDSF Steering Committee. Please do not answer the questions on the PDSF tab if you are not a PDSF user. If you would like information about joining PDSF please see Likewise, JGI Genepool projects must be pre-approved. Please do not request a Genepool "GPSHARE" unless you are a Genepool user.

Validating Your User List

If you are renewing your project you must also validate your user list: review and if necessary correct contact and other information for each active user.  Delete users who have left your project (the deletion process will start immediately - see User Deletion Process under Managing Your Allocation.)


If you need help with your 2016 allocation request please contact

 If you have forgotten your NERSC password and if you have already set up the answers to your Security Questions, you can get a new password by following the link on the NIM login page: - Forgot your NIM password?

Otherwise, since we do not send passwords via email, you will need to call the Account Support Office at 1-800-66-NERSC menu option 2, or 1-510-486-8612. You can call us at any time, 24 x 7, and somebody will be here to assist you.

What's New for 2016?

  • DOE Funding tab, question 11.1 - Protected and Controlled information
    • An answer is now required for this question
    • The options are now checkboxes and if something other than "None" is selected, requires an additional text explanation
  • Resources Requested, question 18 - Realtime Computing Needs
    • A new question for this year.
  • Genepool and PDSF, now have pre-authorized questions that must be answered before a new repo can be requested under these resources. 
    • (Not a very frequent action, but often selected mistakenly.)
  • Code Descriptions, question 20
    • The requested information has been reduced.
  • Data & Analytics, questions now are just 21 & 22
    • Reduced number of questions


NERSC supports research that reflects the mission of DOE's Office of Science. All Principal Investigators funded by the Office of Science may apply for an allocation of NERSC resources. In addition, researchers who aren't directly funded by DOE SC but with projects that are relevant to its mission may also apply to use NERSC resources. If you are not funded by the DOE Office of Science you should explain how your research falls within the DOE mission. See Eligibility.

New Principal Investigators

New PIs (who do not have a NERSC login name) must fill out the ERCAP Access Request web form. They must also fill out and submit NERSC's online Appropriate Use Policy form. Once this is done the Account Support group will notify the new PI of their NIM login name and password.  See Applying for your First NERSC Allocation.

Accessing the ERCAP Allocations Request Form

The ERCAP request form is accessed from NIM at You log into NIM using your NERSC login name and password. If you have forgotten your NERSC password and if you have already set up the answers to your Security Questions, you can get a new password by following the link on the NIM login page: - Forgot your NIM password?
Otherwise, since we do not send passwords via email, you will need to call the Account  Support Office at 1-800-66-NERSC menu option 2, or 1-510-486-8612..

After you have logged into NIM select My ERCAP Requests from the My Stuff pull-down menu.  If you want to keep your current repository in 2016 make sure that you Click to Renew (green recycle icon) rather than start a new request.

The questions on the request form are divided into several sections. Each section is grouped under a tab. When you first renew a previous year's request, or when you first create a new request, you will be in the first tab, called Project Overview. The other tabs are not clickable until you have saved the Project Overview; after which you can click on any tab in any order.

You MUST click the "Save" button located at both the top and bottom of each section in order to save your work in that section before selecting another tab.  If you move to another tab without saving your changes will be lost.

See ERCAP Allocation Request Form.

Designating Proxies to fill out the Request Form

Principal Investigators can designate one or more "PI Proxies" who write the request form for the PI (or in conjunction with the PI). See Overview and Eligibility.