Frequently asked questions

The IRIS Delivery Board, comprised of the partners, is the body that sets the strategy of the IRIS Collaboration, monitors progress and approves (hardware) Resource Allocations. The principle officers of IRIS are: Jonathan Hays (Scientific Director) Andrew Sansum (Technical Director) Deniza Chekrygina (Capacity Manager) Anjali Bhatt (Project Manager) Joanne Ogden (Project Secretary)

This is in the remit of the user activity science sectors. Each activity needs to find the resource for its activity specific software stack as an integral part of that activity. We all understand that such may be poorly resourced in some domains at present, and that is a chronic problem that is consistently pointed out up the chain. Of course, IRIS can and will lobby that such software staff are as essential to a project as a physical instrument (e.g. the proposal for a set of RSEs) but it has no magic wand (resources) in this area.

IRIS does coordinate its partners to have a common approach to sInfrastructure where it makes sense to do so, but it is only the partners themselves which can actually do any work and provide software services. So, the answer to this question is domain specific. Some examples are given below: Facilities: SCD and ALC Particle Physics: GridPP AstroParticle: These have some project funding, and some are making use of the Grid and so are supported indirectly through GridPP Diamond Light Source (DLS): The Diamond Compute Group We appreciate that some domains (particularly Astronomy projects) are not yet effectively resourced for common sInfrastructure, and IRIS will continue to lobby on their behalf.

IRIS has no means to do this as it is not a computing project. IRIS funds it partners and others to provide hardware to meet the needs of its user activities, but that hardware has to be made available to users by the user activities themselves. Again, we appreciate this is more difficult in some domains due to no historical support. IRIS will continue to provide evidence needed to back any request you need to make.

Details will be given on the IRIS web site ( as soon as possible. Briefly,

  • If you are an explicit IRIS partner you will prepare an annual Resource Request Document and submit it to the RSA (Resource Scrutiny and Allocation) Panel.
  • If have been peer reviewed and are a small activity, or an activity in exploitation phase, you contact your IRIS Delivery Board representative (see IRIS DB member list on the web site). This mostly applies to the many diverse Astronomy projects.
  • If you have not been peer reviewed, then you apply through the DiRAC RAC for now.

If in doubt, please seek advice from your “scientifically closest” DB member of from the Project Directors.

  • Yes, but only to create Digital Assets, not for operations.

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IRIS does:

  • act as a coordination body for eInfrastructure for its partners;
  • act as a community expertise body to make cases and lobby up the chain;
  • as a result of the 2018 capital award from BEIS (also known as the IRIS 4×4), IRIS commissions the provision of hardware resources through its partners;
  • commission digital assets through ALC for Facilities and to a small extent though the partners for other domains;
  • share existing compute resources and expertise for the common good;
  • carry out joint actions which its partners agree to, and can provide resource for these actions.

It is essentially a Project Office that is overseen by a Collaboration of partners.

IRIS does not:

  • behave as project like DiRAC, GridPP or a Department like SCD or Hartree;
  • have any staff resource to provide operational computing services;
  • provide computing services directly to end users
  • Hardware resources (CPU cycles, PetaBytes and Network equipment)
  • Research Software Engineer staff and other computing staff

Cases have already been submitted to STFC for both of the above.