Startup Allocations
Last update: January 20, 2022

New Field of Science Hierarchy for XSEDE Allocation Requests - XSEDE's Field of Science hierarchy for categorizing allocation requests has been replaced. The new list has been added to our allocations documentation, and users will soon see the new Fields of Science in the allocation request forms for Startup and other small requests and for the Research submission period starting in September.

Startup allocations, along with Campus Champion and Trial allocations, are one of the fastest ways to gain access to and start using XSEDE-allocated resources. We recommend that all new XSEDE users begin by requesting Startup allocation.

Appropriate uses for Startup allocations include:

  • Small-scale computational activities that require the unique capabilities of resources allocated through XSEDE
  • Application development by researchers and research teams
  • Benchmarking, evaluation and experimentation on the various resources
  • Developing a science gateway or other infrastructure software components

Users may request a single resource or a combination of resources. Each request is subject to Startup Limits for each resource, shown in the Startup Request Resource Limits table below. Startup requests are further limited to no more than three separate computational resources, unless the abstract explicitly justifies the need for each resource to the reviewers' satisfaction.

New or Renewal Startup requests supported by merit-reviewed grants can now ask for allocations to last longer than one year - see below for information on Multi-Year Startup Allocations. In other cases, Startup allocations will continue to be awarded for one year.

A Principal Investigator (PI) may be awarded only one active Startup project at a time. NOTE: If you have an existing Research or Startup allocation, and would like a Startup-scale allocation on a new resource for the purposes described here, please request a Supplement to your existing project.

Startup requests require minimal documentation: the project's abstract and the PI's CV. See below for requirement details and example Startup requests. You must have an XSEDE User Portal account in order to submit requests.

Upon approval of the Startup allocation request, PIs can request that other users be given accounts to use the allocation. See Managing Allocations.

Submission Schedule

Startup allocation requests are evaluated continuously throughout the year.
Click here to submit your Startup request.

Startup requests are typically reviewed and awarded within two weeks.


Startup allocations are available to faculty members and researchers, including postdoctoral researchers, at a U.S.-based institution. Eligible institutions include federal research labs or commercial organizations; however, special rules may apply if your institution is not a university or a two- or four-year college. Investigators with support from any funding source, not just NSF, are encouraged to apply.

Required Components

Startup requests require the following elements:

  • Project Abstract: The Project Abstract is the most important part of the submission. An ideal abstract will not only describe the research objectives of the project, but also explain briefly why the project needs access to XSEDE resources, state how the requested amounts were estimated, and note why the requested resources were selected.
  • CVs (2 pages per CV): Startup requests require a curriculum vitae (CV) for the PI and for any listed co-PI. CVs should be two pages maximum, in standard NSF or NIH format. The Documents upload section will require a CV upload for the PI and each co-PI entered in the Co-PI information area.
  • NSF Fellowship award letter (if applicable): Graduate students with NSF Fellowship or Honorable Mention awards are eligible to be PIs on a Startup allocation request. Enter your award information in the Supporting Grant section and attach a copy of your NSF award letter to their request.


Projects that require computational resources beyond the scale of what a startup allocation can provide in a calendar year are expected to submit a Research request. If your preliminary work indicates an ongoing need for low-level resource requirements, startup renewals are encouraged to be submitted.

The requirements for a renewal startup submission are the same as a new submission with the addition of a required Progress Report document that details the work explored and completed since receiving the initial (or previous renewal) allocation.

PIs with an NSF GRFP award or honorable mention are encouraged to submit renewals to their allocation, as needed. If the allocation requirements of the graduate student grow beyond the level that a startup allocation can provide, they are urged to prepare a Research submission with their advisor (or another eligible person) as PI.

Startup Allocation Limits

This table displays the Startup allocations limits request per resource.

Resource Service Units Limit
Anvil-CPU (Purdue) 100,000 core-hours
Anvil-GPU (Purdue) 1,000 GPU-hours
Bridges-2 Regular Memory (PSC) 50,000 core-hours
Bridges-2 Extreme Memory (PSC) 1,000 core-hours
Bridges-2 GPU (PSC) 2,500 GPU-hours
Bridges GPU-AI (PSC) 1,500 GPU-hours
DARWIN CPU (Univ. of Delaware) 20,000 core-hours
DARWIN GPU (Univ. of Delaware) 400 GPU-hours
DARWIN Storage (Univ. of Delaware) 1,000 GB
Expanse (SDSC) 50,000 core-hours
Expanse GPU (SDSC) 2,500 GPU-hours
Jetstream (IU/TACC) 50,000 Virtual CPU Hours
KyRIC (Univ. of Kentucky) 1,000 core-hours
Open Science Grid 200,000 CPU-hours
Open Storage Network 10TB
Rockfish Regular memory 20,000 core-hours
Rockfish Large Memory 1,000 core-hours
Rockfish GPU 500 GPU-hours
Stampede2 (TACC) 1,600 node-hours

Multi-year Startup Allocations

XSEDE is now permitting PIs on some Startup requests to ask for their allocations to last up to three years instead of the 12-month default. To request a longer allocation period, select a date on the Title/Abstract screen or section in the submissions form.

As we roll-out this process, we are only accepting requests for multi-year Startup allocations for submissions that have a supporting science grant that extends longer than 12 months. The Startup allocation can be requested for the duration of the supporting grant.

For now, the Startup allocation limits are not affected by a multi-year request. As stated above, the request is subject to the Startup Limits for each resource and further limited to no more than three separate computational resources, unless the abstract explicitly justifies the need for each resource to the reviewers' satisfaction.

Other Rapid Access Options

In addition to startup allocations, other mechanisms for expedited access to XSEDE resources exist through potential Campus Champions at your institution, or by individual site providers on specific XSEDE-allocated resources.

Campus Champion Allocations

Nearly 200 campuses across the country have designated "Campus Champions" to facilitate and support use of XSEDE-allocated resources by researchers, educators, and students on their campuses. Most Campus Champions have established projects on XSEDE resources, which campus users can access to evaluate systems, conduct benchmark runs, or carry out small-scale research projects.

Contact your Campus Champion for fast and easy access to XSEDE-allocated resources or to get help submitting your own allocation request.

Please consult the Campus Champions page for more on the program.

Trial Allocations

XSEDE offers Trial Allocations on some of its major resources.

Expanse Trial Allocations

SDSC now offers Trial Allocations on its Expanse cluster. Trial Allocations are designed to give potential users rapid but limited access to the Expanse resource. Trial allocations are for 1,000 CPU core-hours and/or 100 GPU hours for 6 months. This is sufficient for initial resource evaluation, giving new users the ability to compile and run software and evaluate results. Within one business day, users will be able to log on and evaluate the Expanse system prior to requesting a larger Startup or Research allocation as discussed above.

To apply for a Trial Allocation on Expanse, create an XSEDE User Portal (XUP) account. Once you have your XUP account, please submit a ticket to the XSEDE Help Desk.

Jetstream Trial Allocations

XSEDE offers Trial Access Allocations to Jetstream. These are designed to give potential users simpler but limited access to Jetstream.

Jetstream Trial Access allocations include:

  • 1000 Service Units
  • 1 small (2-core) Virtual Machine (VM) instance per cloud at a time
  • 1 VM backup snapshot per instance
  • 1 small 10 GB disk external storage volume This is enough power to give new users an experience with virtual computing and try some "cloud-native" work, but is not a substantial usage of the system.

The Trial Access (aka Easy Button) is for exploratory purposes only and currently the limits are hard-wired into the allocation. The additional limits placed on a Trial Access account are not present for Startup and Full allocations. See Jetstream Trial Access Allocations for more information.

XSEDE currently has quite a rapid turn around on Startup allocations, often less than a week (excluding holidays).