Seeking Proposals for Cloud Research Support Engineers
The Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University (PTI@IU) has been engaged throughout 2019 in a new endeavor to study the role that people play in supporting research use of cloud-based cyberinfrastructure (CI), and the aspects related to the return on investment (ROI) of use of cloud CI as compared to traditional, premise-based or other regional/national CI platforms.
This project is called “Humans Advancing Research in the Cloud” (HARC) and may be explored on the Web at: https://harc.iu.edu. As part of the next phase of the project, the PTI@IU is now making a request for proposals for institutions (or established research groups at identified institutions) engaged in cyberinfrastructure-supported research using commercial cloud platforms, across any discipline, to fulfill the role of Cloud Research Support Engineers (CSREs).
Selected institutions will receive funding to support individuals in research-intensive roles that are classified as research associate or post-doctorate fellows at their institutions. Up to $50,000 in funding to their institution will be provided by the PTI@IU to support the use of cloud-based CI at their institutions and to demonstrate the value of cloud computing environments in research. The exact number of awards to be made will be based upon a number of factors, including the amounts requested in proposals and available funding; we anticipate the ability to fund multiple awards (≥5). Please note that while these awards will be made to institutions and not individuals, NO INDIRECT COSTS will be allowed; all funds are to be directly applied to support of an individual CRSE. Institutions may use the funds in any way appropriate, including covering salary, benefits, travel, training, etc.
The period of support will be from January 2020 (or date of award) through December 2020. The institutions selected must already be in possession of (or documented intent to acquire) cloud credits from a commercial provider (Microsoft Azure, Google, Amazon Web Services, IBM, or other) for research endeavors. The purpose of this effort and funding support is to fully enable achieving meaningful results from use of commercial vendor cloud credits. Candidates may also receive some technical support for their endeavors, provided by the PTI@IU, but should work with their selected vendor or other sources for most of their support needs.
In return for this funding support, institutions/labs will be required to deliver the following throughout the support period, and at the end of this period:
- Candidates will be expected to report on tasks and outcomes on a monthly basis to the HARC Project Director based at Indiana University. The format for these reports will be provided by PTI@IU.
- Candidates will be expected to contribute to the HARC GitHub (https://github.com/HARC-PTI), including relevant papers, presentations, and especially pre-built tools and other support documentation into the respective repositories.
- Candidates will support the set-up and maintenance of their institution’s/lab’s cloud instance using the credits provided/acquired separately from their chosen vendor(s), including governance processes and procedures, and share their experiences with other CRSEs brought onto the program, and via the aforementioned GitHub repositories, in an effort to support the larger community-building efforts of the HARC program.
- Candidates will be expected develop a paper for publication to a recognized journal in their field, and participate in workshops or conferences to present their experiences. Costs for workshop participation will be in addition to the funding provided for their proposals.
- Candidates will be expected to submit a final report of their overall efforts by 31 January 2021. The format for these reports will be provided by PTI@IU and will be delivered to the HARC Project Director.
Selected CRSEs will become part of a collaborative team of colleagues who are engaged in the HARC project. While individual, localized efforts and outcomes will be paramount in importance to the success of the project, the broader effort to build a sustainable model for supporting cloud-based tools in support of successful research, and on perspectives of the ‘return on investment’ (ROI) of cloud versus premise or other available cyberinfrastructure. As a result, a degree of teamwork and esprit de corps across the initiative will be expected.
Efforts of the CRSEs will be closely coordinated by the HARC Project Director, Mr. Brian D. Voss, of the PTI@IU, and will also be expected to work closely with other staff and leadership at Indiana University to advance the overall HARC project. Mr. Voss will have sole discretion on the evaluation of performance of CRSEs, including decisions regarding their continued affiliation with and support received from the project.