NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery Since 1974

2021 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NOTE: This is historical content. It may include references to programs, people, and research no longer active at Berkeley Lab.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 2021 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 10, 2020.

All current projects (including Exploratory, Education, and Director's Reserve, but excluding ALCC) must be renewed for 2021 if you wish to continue using NERSC. New project requests may be submitted as well (to start in 2021).

The deadline for submitting AY 2021 NERSC proposals (both renewed and new) is October 5, 2020, 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

Award decisions for requests submitted before this deadline will be emailed to Principal Investigators and Project Managers the week of December 14, 2020. ERCAP requests for new projects submitted after October 5 will be reviewed in late January 2021. 2020 requests for new projects that are approved and awarded after September 2020 are eligible to submit an AY 2021 renewal request after the October 5 deadline.

2021 allocations will be for the period January 19, 2021, through January 10, 2022.

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 at See Help for the ERCAP Allocations Request Form.

Most projects fall under the "Class" of "DOE Mission Science." Unless you know otherwise, you should select this class on the ERCAP form. 


If you need help with your 2021 allocation request please submit a help request through or send email to [email protected].

We will be holding ERCAP Office Hours to provide one-on-one assistance. The office hours will be provided through Zoom sessions. The final Office hours will be held on: 

  • Thursday, October 1
  • Monday, October 5 (ERCAP due date)

October office hours will take place from 9-12 noon and 1-4 pm (Pacific time). Please join the Zoom meeting via this link, or type the meeting number (7314990879) and password (NERSC) into your Zoom app.


NERSC supports research that reflects the mission of DOE's Office of Science. All Principal Investigators funded by the Office of Science (SC) 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.


Resources available for 2021 allocation requests:

  • Cori
  • Community File System (CFS)

Only request time/space on these resources.

The currency at NERSC is the "NERSC Hour," which is equivalent to the "MPP Hour" used in previous years. The change in nomenclature was made to incorporate the KNL nodes available in Cori and follow-on systems that may not have a clear relationship to the "MPP Hour," which was based on a multiple of a core-hour on the retired Hopper system. The following charges apply for parallel jobs:

  • Cori Haswell processors: 140 NERSC Hours per hour per node used
  • Cori KNL processors: 80 NERSC Hours per hour per node used

The new Perlmutter supercomputer is expected to be available, without charge, for part of 2021. Details will be sent to users at a later date.

New Principal Investigators

New PIs (who do not have a NERSC login name) must fill out the New NERSC PI Account web form. Once this is done the Account Support group will notify the new PI of their login name and password to be used to access  See Applying for your First NERSC Allocation.

Accessing the ERCAP Allocations Request Form

The ERCAP request form is accessed at You log in using your NERSC login name and password. If you have forgotten your NERSC password you can get a new password by following the Forgot password link on the Iris login page.

You will also be required to sign in using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). If you have not already set up MFA for your account, you can find our online documentation here: Multi-Factor Authentication

After you have logged into ERCAP, and if you do not end up on the ERCAP Requests homepage, find the ERCAP Requests section of the left-hand navigation menu and select the Manage My Requests link. If you want to keep your current project in 2021, make sure that you click on the green Request a Project Renewal for 2021 button rather than start a request for a new project.

See ERCAP Allocation Request Form.

Designating Authorized Preparers to fill out the Request Form

Principal Investigators can designate one or more "Authorized Preparers" who can help fill in the ERCAP request form for the PI (or in conjunction with the PI). See Apply for Your First Allocation.