Research Councils UK (RCUK) has revealed plans to invest up to £33 million in a government-backed high performance computing facility (HPC) that aims to help position the UK at the forefront of supercomputer research.

Last December, David Willetts, the Minister for Science, announced a £158 million investment in e-infrastructure, which included a pledge of £43 million for the next national HPC facility for academic research, dubbed ARCHER.

ARCHER will build on existing investments in national HPC facilities and support the government’s aim of making the UK a leader on the international scene for computational science and engineering.

An online prior information notice released by RCUK states that the UK will realise this ambition if researchers are able to make “valuable contributions to the solution of real, current Grand Challenge problems” and partner in “high profile international collaborations”, which provide improved access to large HPC resources in other countries.

RCUK is planning to tender for the HPC hardware, the service provision that manages academic access to the facility and the computational science and engineering support that will provide assistance to users of the facility who need to run their codes as effectively as possible.

The cost of RCUK’s investment in the facility could reach up to £33 million.

A tender notice for the hardware will be formally released in July, with two separate tender notices to follow in January 2013 for the support and service provision.