Important Considerations

This document provides specific information on how to request public cloud resources in your NSF proposal. Before you begin here are some important considerations:

  1. CloudBank resources are only available through NSF solicitations that explicitly state they are eligible for cloud resources through CloudBank. Cloudbank provides a list of available CloudBank Research Eligible Solicitations.
     
  2. Requests for cloud resources will be made via a supplementary document. The supplementary document should not to be included in the formal Budget request.
     
  3. The sum of the formal budget request and the cloud resources request must not exceed the budget limit specified in a given solicitation.

Steps for developing your cloud resource request

  1. Read the solicitation thoroughly. While the general process and requirements for making a cloud request are the same across solicitations, there may be subtle differences regarding format and length.
     
  2. Determine which cloud provider(s) are appropriate for your project and the solicitation you are responding to. Assessing the options available from cloud providers can be overwhelming. There is a wide variety of compute, storage, networking, services and software available. To make this a little easier, the CloudBank site provides a convenient cloud services catalog where you can view a side-by-side comparison of available options. Additional information regarding specific cloud providers is linked in the cloud services catalog.
     
  3. Use the publicly available calculators from the providers to develop your cost estimates. All cloud providers provide proprietary calculators that allow users to preemptively evaluate costs. User can select from a menu of available resources (e.g., compute, storage, networking, software) and input anticipated resource requirements, including but not limited to number of resource units and duration of access, to estimate total cost to for their proposal. We suggest you save a copy to include in your proposal.

    Specific cloud provider calculators:

     

  4. Put together your Supplementary document. The solicitation will include detailed information about what to include in your Supplementary document. Generally, this will include:

    • Title of the proposal
    • Total cost of computing resources, with yearly breakdown
    • Requested public cloud provider(s)
    • Technical description and justification of the request, along with how the cost was estimated. We recommend a concise summary of the output from the providers calculators, or the the calculator output page itself if space is available.

Still need help?

  • Cloud Provider Representatives: Many universities have local representatives from the cloud providers that support researchers in their region. If you're not sure if there is such a person available, please let us know and we will find out.

  • CloudBank User Support: Please start by emailing help@cloudbank.org. Include the following information in your request:

    • Your name
    • Best way to contact you
    • Which solicitation you are responding to
    • Your question
    • Please do not include information you consider competitive. The CloudBank team has conflict of interest policies in place such that no one may provide support if they themselves are responding to a solicitation, but we nevertheless do not want to receive information you consider to be competitive.
       
  • NSF Program Officer: Reach out to the solicitation's cognizant NSF program officer. For topics unrelated to you cloud request, e.g. appropriateness of research, you should contact NSF.  Please also see the NSF FAQ page.