NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery Since 1974

The NERSC Allocation Request Form (ERCAP)

Requests to use NERSC resources are submitted annually via a web form known as the ERCAP (Energy Research Computing Allocations Process) Request Form. ERCAP is accessed through the NERSC Help Desk system and is available year-round.

If you are new to NERSC and want to apply for an allocation as a new Principal Investigator please read Applying for your First NERSC Allocation.

In general existing projects should be renewed for the next allocation year - you should not start a new request if you have an existing repository.  Renewing carries forward many of the responses to the request questions except for any new or revised questions.

Preparing an ERCAP Request

The procedures for starting an ERCAP request for a new project, renewing a current project and editing an in-progress request that you previously saved are described below. 

  1. Point your browser to, and login using your NIM credentials. Go to "ERCAP Requests -> Manage My Requests" in the navigator bar on the left (if you don't see the navigator, you may need to toggle it with the right-pointing arrow button at the bottom left of the screen). You should see the ERCAP Requests homepage:

    ERCAP Requests Homepage


  2. If you don't see the ERCAP Requests homepage, you can find your way there either using the Navigation bar on the left-hand side; under the ERCAP heading, click on the ERCAP Requests link. Or you can go to the Self Service homepage by clicking on the Home link under the NERSC Help Desk heading, then click on the ERCAP Requests Homepage link under "Can We Help You?"


    Self Serve homepage


  3. You will be presented with blue "Request a New Project for 20xx" button(s) and green "Request a Project Renewal for 20xx" for renewing an existing project.

    If you are renewing a current project, select the "Request a Project Renewal for 20xx" button - this will pre-fill some of the form questions based on your existing project.

    If you are returning to continue work on a draft request you started earlier, you should see your request under the "Draft Requests" section. Choose the request to continue editing by clicking its ERCAP Number link.

    For a completely new project, select the "Request a New Project" button. If you want to start computing before the end of this year, select the button with this year's number on it. If you don't need to start computing before next year, which typically starts early in January, select the button with next year's number on it. (see ERCAP Application Deadlines for dates)


  4. When your request is ready to submit, click on the "Submit for Review" button.


    ERCAP Submit Request

Saving Your Work for Later

At any point in the form you can save your draft, and either continue editing immediately or return to work on it later.

Draft Requests


Attaching Supporting Documents

For longer questions, you can attach supporting documentation to the request. Look for the "paperclip" at the top of the page and click on it to upload your documents. After uploading the documents, click on the "X" to close the upload window.

ERCAP Attachments collage


More Helpful Features

We tried to make the form as easy to use and intuitive as possible. We have included many built-in mechanisms to assist you:

Colorful help text

ERCAP Color Help Text


Asterisks to indicate missing mandatory data next to questions and in the tabs

ERCAP Asterisks


Hover text and Info links

ERCAP Hover Text


Multiple options for searching through lists


In any field that has a "magnifying glass" to the right of the field, you can view a short list by typing in two asterisks or filter the list by entering a word phrase, or you can pop-up a full list by clicking on the magnifying glass. Once you have the full list, you can further search on a word or phrase: ERCAP Multi Search Options


Lookup for previous requests when renewing


If you are creating a renewal request, once you are in the ERCAP form, you will see a box with the label "ERCAP Number of Request to Renew". You can search through your requests from the previous two years by clicking on the magnifying glass symbol. A pop-up window will show a list of your previous requests that are available to be renewed. Click on the ERCAP number link to select the request.

ERCAP Renewal select list


Answering ERCAP Request Questions

Project Title and Short Project Name

Please choose a project title that succinctly describes your project, suitable for display in award lists and in NERSC's Annual Report. The NERSC Project Title is not required to match the title of any existing DOE grant or project.  The Title is limited to 256 characters; shorter titles are preferable (100 or fewer characters). In summary, the title should be short and descriptive.

Also choose a short project name (10 characters maximum) that uniquely identifies your project. Examples of such project names are "MPICH" (for the project that supports MPICH software development) and "STAR" (for the project that analyzes data from the STAR experiment). If you wish, you may use a repository name as your project name.

Principal Investigator

The Principal Investigator, commonly referred to as the PI, is responsible for the project and for managing any resources awarded to the project. The PI is usually one of the PIs on a grant listed on the DOE Funding tab.

If your project has multiple PIs, please pick one to be the NERSC PI. Other PIs can be listed as Senior Investigators under the Personnel tab. Senior Investigators are the key contributors in your project. Once the ERCAP request has been approved and provisioned in NIM (the NERSC Information Management website), If you need to change the PI for the project, contact the Account Support Group at

Project Class

Choose one of the following:

  • DOE Mission Science: for production-ready projects that receive direct grant support from one of the six DOE Offices of Science or whose research reflects the mission of the Office of Science. See Eligibility and DOE Mission.
  • Education: only if the project is for classroom teaching (and not research).
  • Exploratory: for PIs who wish to investigate using NERSC resources for new projects, or who wish to port or develop new codes. The maximum Exploratory awards are 100,000 NERSC hours and 1 TB of archival storage space in HPSS.

DOE Program and Sub Programs

Select the DOE Program to review your request.

If you are not funded by the DOE Office of Science, see Eligibility

Some DOE Programs have Sub-Programs to help categorize their research. When an Program is selected that has Sub-Programs, an additional selection field will be displayed. Make a selection from the list of options:

Sub Programs


Science Category

Select the Science Category that best categorizes your project. Please do not select Other (this is just a place holder). You can Search through the entire list of Science Categories, or you can reduce your search by entering a significant term to see the categories that contain that term:

Science Categories PhysicsFollowing is the full list of Science Categories for AY 2020:

  • Biosciences
  • Biosciences: Bioenergy
  • Biosciences: Genomics
  • Biosciences: Molecular Science
  • Chemistry
  • Chemistry : Biochemistry
  • Chemistry : Catalysis
  • Chemistry : Chemical Physics
  • Chemistry : Photosynthetic Systems
  • Chemistry : Physical Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Science : Data and I/O
  • Computer Science : Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science : Optimization and Tuning
  • Computer Science : Quantum and Neuromorphic
  • Computer Science : Systems Software and Programming Environ
  • Computer Science : Visualization
  • Energy
  • Energy : Combustion
  • Energy : Fossil Fuels
  • Energy : Fusion
  • Energy : Nuclear Energy
  • Energy : Renewable
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Science - Earth and Environmental Systems
  • Environmental Science : Atmosphere
  • Environmental Science : Coupled Systems
  • Environmental Science : Ocean - Cryosphere
  • Environmental Science : Terrestial
  • Geoscience
  • Geoscience : Geochemistry
  • Geoscience : Geophysics
  • Materials Science
  • Materials Science : Biomolecular
  • Materials Science : Chemistry
  • Materials Science : Condensed Matter
  • Materials Science : Energy Storage
  • Materials Science : Nanomaterials
  • Materials Science : Soft Matter
  • Math - Applied Mathematics
  • Math : Algorithms and Libraries
  • Math : Data Analytics and Machine Learning
  • Math : Numerical Optimization
  • Math : Uncertainty Quantification and Statistics
  • Other
  • Physics
  • Physics : Accelerator Science
  • Physics : Astrophysics
  • Physics : Condensed Matter
  • Physics : Cosmology
  • Physics : High Energy Physics (Experimental)
  • Physics : High Energy Physics (Theory)
  • Physics : Nuclear Physics (Experimental)
  • Physics : Nuclear Physics (Theory)
  • Scientific User Facilities
  • Social Sciences

Personnel Tab

Senior Investigators

Senior Investigators are the key contributors in your project. Please list them by name, organization, email address.

Authorized Preparers

A Principal Investigator can designate one or more Authorized Preparers who help to fill out the ERCAP request form.  You can add an Authorized Preparer to your ERCAP request by searching the available NERSC users. You can start the search by typing in the person's name in the Search field (with the magnifying glass symbol at the far right) or by clicking on the magnifying glass for a more advanced search.

Authorized Preparers


Funding Tab

Click on the checkbox next to ALL of the entities that provide funding for your project. Once you click on a checkbox, you will be asked to provide additional information.

DOE Office of Science funding

  • Funding Office
  • Funding Program Manager (select from the list)
  • DOE/SC Grant, PAMS, and/or FWP numbers

    DOE SC Program managers

Federal Agency other than DOE/SC

Grants supported by areas of DOE outside the Office of Science (e.g. Office of Nuclear Energy, Science, and Technology; Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy), and other federal agencies: e.g. NASA, NSF, NOAA, etc.

Federal Agencies


Other funding options:

  • State, local, or foreign government or agency
  • University
  • Non-profit Organization
  • Other

For projects not funded by DOE/SC, please describe the project's relevance to one of the six DOE Office of Science program offices and the mission of that office.

PLEASE NOTE: The purpose of this section is to state how the goals of your project overlap with or align with the mission of DOE Office of Science. Your request will be evaluated partly on the basis of alignment with a DOE program mission. Find one of the mission statements and give just two or three sentences stating how and why your work is related to it. You will have ample opportunity to describe your project's overall importance and impact in the Project Details Tab. Please do not include that information here.

Security Tab

NERSC supports only open research intended to be published in open scientific journals. Proprietary research is not allowed.

In addition, NERSC does not allow the use of the following:

  • Classified or controlled military or defense information
  • Export controlled or ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) information
  • Personally identifiable information
  • Protected health information

You must select one of the two options: I attest that this project adheres to these guidelines, or I request an exception to these policies, based on the following:. If you select the latter option, you will be given a text box to explain your answer. If necessary, NERSC will contact you for more information.

Project Details Tab

Project Summary and Goals

Please provide a succinct description of your project that is suitable for the general public (i.e., at a Scientific American level of sophistication). This description should emphasize what the project expects to accomplish and the significance of the work.

Project Description for DOE Managers

Provide a more technically detailed explanation of your research for review by the DOE managers.

Website URL

All projects should provide a project URL; these are useful in obtaining additional information about a project (e.g. when responding to queries for information).

Additional Fields Required for Renewal Requests

Accomplishments Summary

Summarize in non-technical terms the accomplishments made by this project using NERSC resources in the previous year. Explain why your results are important and how the use of NERSC resources allowed you to meet your research objectives. This is optional for Startup requests.

You can include a long, technical description of your project's accomplishments as a PDF document to upload. Find the paperclip at the top of the page.

Refereed Publications

List all refereed publications in the last 12 months based on research using NERSC resources. You may include publications that are accepted and are in press, or published in journals but not publications in preparation. Do Not include publications that were entered here last year. Please indicate if your article was highlighted on a journal cover.

Enter in the order authors, title, journal.

Please do not dump information from latex into this area!  Ideally you will enter all information as plain text.

Non-refereed Publications

Here you may include publications that have been submutted but not yet published, as well as non refereed publications.

Resources Tab

You should only enter numbers in the fields for the various resources requested. Characters will be removed and decimals will be rounded up to the next whole integer. For storage resources such as Archival (HPSS) and Project space, we are standardizing on TB increments.

Resources Requested Alpha

The 25 Million hours requested, will have the characters stripped and only the 25 will be saved. Also, any number that is entered as a decimal will be rounded.

Resources Requested Integers Rounded


Computational Resources

NERSC's computational resources share a common "MPP" (which stands for Massively Parallel Processing) allocation called NERSC hours. For 2019, the MPP systems will be Edison and Cori. See Usage Charging.

Archival Storage

All NERSC projects have accounts on the mass storage system, HPSS. See HPSS Charging for details.

Also, please enter how much HPSS Archival storage space you anticipate you will need. Please enter the number in Terabytes.

Project Directory Storage

NGF project directories are renewed by entering the Storage Requested amounts in TiBs. Requested storage amounts over 20 TiBs will be reviewed by NERSC and may require additional justification and approval for higher amounts.

Brief Justification for Requested Resources

Tell us how you determined/estimated the number of compute hours and storage/scratch space you requested above.

Events or Deadlines 

Please describe any anticipated periods of unusually high or low utilization through the year. 

Real-Time Computing Needs

Does your project require real-time computing resources? For example does your project require immediate access to computing resources because it is connected to a live experiment. Please select either "Yes" or "No". If you answer "Yes", you will be presented with a text box to explain your answer.

Experimental or Observational project?

Will the primary role of this project be to support the operation of and/or data analysis from an experimental or observational facility or mission?

Check the box if this applies to your project.

Special Requirements

If this project has multi-year needs in support of a mission or DOE project, or has other special needs (e.g, libraries or software, data pipeline requirements, etc.), please describe those here.

Codes Tab

The code descriptions you provide are used by DOE and NERSC to evaluate the type and extent of machine resources that users require.

A code description should be provided for each of your project's 5 most frequently used or important codes and applications. 

If renewing, please check:

  1. That you still intend to use all of the codes listed - delete those you no longer use.
  2. Add new codes as needed.
  3. Check that the information provided for each code is still accurate.

The following information is requested for each code:

  • Code Name: This is the name by which your code is known, e.g. NIMROD, AMBER.
  • URL: Pointing to the Code Description
  • Code Description: Provide a brief description of the code. What does the code do, what are the science questions it addresses?



Supporting Information Tab

Other HPC Support

List any additional HPC resources that may be awarded or otherwise committed to this project (from outside NERSC). This includes a local compute cluster, a DOE INCITE application or award, an XSEDE award, etc.

Additional Information

If your project has special requirements that you would like NERSC to consider, describe them here. Enter any additional information you would like the review committees to consider in support of this request.


Use this space to provide feedback on ERCAP, the NERSC application/allocation process

Usage Agreement Tab

If this project is given a NERSC award, I agree to monitor the usage associated with it to ensure that, to the best of my ability, usage is for the project described here.  Furthermore, if this is a continuing project, I confirm that I have audited the usage associated with this project, and to the best of my ability to determine, all usage was for the project specified.


Enter your initials in the designated box as an "electronic" signature that you agree to these terms. You must enter your agreement or you will not be able to submit your ERCAP request.

Submitting your request

When you have completed answering to your satisfaction all the questions on the request form click the "Submit for Review" button.  This will submit your request and send it to the appropriate Office to evaluate it.

ERCAP Submit Request


Printing and Saving to Disk

  1. You should find a "Create PDF" button in the top right corner of the request.
  2. When you click this button, the ERCAP system will generate a PDF and attach it to your request. You should see the file name below the grey bar where the Create PDF button is located.
  3. You can then download the PDF and save it to your local computer and print it.



Advice for Answering Long Text Questions

It is not recommended that you directly type in long answers. Rather, compose your answers elsewhere, and paste them into the ERCAP text boxes.

Note for Internet Explorer users: some Explorer browsers interpret a carriage return (the Enter or Return key) in the short text boxes (the text boxes without a scroll bar) as a Save: if you enter a carriage control in a short text box it is as though you had clicked the Save button. Also note that you can use the Tab key to jump to the next text box.

Most of the text boxes have a maximum of 4,000 characters associated with them. If your answer exceeds 4,000 characters you will get an error message when you click Save. You should remove some of your text and try to Save again.

ERCAP error messages

Most of the fields have self-checking actions on them and you will be notified immediately if you have entered something incorrectly.

Before you can submit your request, you must answer all mandatory questions. These are indicated with a red asterisk next to the question label. Also, any tab that has an un-answered mandatory question in it will have a small asterisk next to the tab label. If you have any un-answered mandatory questions when you try to submit your request, you will get an error message at the top of the form telling you which question(s) need to be answered.

ERCAP Submit Missing Info


Deleting a request

If you need to delete a request contact the Account Support Office for help: