Expanding ACCESS to Students

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Student at iCLEM, introductory college level experience in microbiology at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, CA. Original public domain image from Flickr

In an effort to expand access to the research computing and data ecosystem, graduate students can now request their own ACCESS allocations for dissertation-related work on these available systems

Graduate students are eligible to be principal investigators (PIs) on Explore ACCESS allocations, ACCESS’s small-scale award. NSF Graduate Student Fellows and Honorable Mention recipients may serve as PIs on requests for Discover ACCESS allocations, ACCESS’s medium-scale award. More information on the allocation opportunities are available here.  

To request an allocation, all graduate students must provide a letter of collaboration from their graduate advisor confirming their awareness of the request and engagement in guiding the computational activity. It should be written on institutional letterhead and state that the proposed work is being performed primarily by the graduate student and is separate from the advisor’s own research. All graduate students must also include their advisor as a co-PI on the request. 

This new policy will allow graduate students to keep their work separate from their advisor’s research and offers these students the chance to dabble with serving as a PI – a role that assumes primary responsibility for an allocated project and is expected to be aware of collaborators’ activities as part of the project, the overall consumption of allocated resources, and the direction of the project’s computational efforts. Ultimately, this expanded access is just one way that the ACCESS program is making strides toward creating an open, inviting and democratized allocations marketplace.  

According to the ACCESS’s Allocations PI, Stephen Deems, “This particular policy change has been warmly welcomed by many community members. Graduate students make up the majority of individuals who utilize ACCESS resources, so we’re ecstatic to provide the opportunity for them to lead their own allocations.”


The ACCESS program, is supported by National Science Foundation grants #2138259, #2138286, #2138307, #2137603, and #2138296.

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