Scaling Compute

Clarification questions for TA1-3

Answering your questions

Applications for Scaling Compute TA1-3 are now closed.

If you still have questions related to Scaling Compute TA1-3, please reach out to

“It is stated that for TA1 “each building block should be manufacturable using existing CMOS processing facilities.” Does this mean that TA1 is limited exclusively to digital CMOS hardware platforms?”

No, it does not mean we are interested exclusively in digital CMOS technologies. The facilities should be similar to those that process CMOS microelectronics, but the platform does not have to be digital CMOS.


“My main concern is how to provide a good response to ‘How does your proposed project contribute to the programme in the UK?” I assume this means we should team up with some UK partners, or what kind of synergistic relations does your organisation values especially?”

There should be a clear case for how the research will benefit the UK.

Proposals originating from applicants outside the UK who seek to establish operations inside the UK, perform a majority of the research inside the UK and present a credible plan for achieving this within the programme duration will be deemed ‘UK Applicants’ (note this will be reflected in your contract/grant terms). 

These are not the only ways to deliver benefits to the UK. As an example, you could choose to team up with an organisation based in the UK or create a UK subsidiary to deliver a portion of the proposed activity. 

For all other non-UK applicants we will evaluate the proposal based on its potential to boost the net impact of the programme in the UK. When considering the benefit to the UK, the proposal will be considered on a portfolio basis and with regard to the next best alternative proposal (from a UK organisation/individual).


“We are planning on addressing multiple Technical Areas. The funding call specifies that applicants can address multiple paths – should we submit a single, integrated concept paper in total or one paper per TA path?”

Within section 1 of the application form on the portal there is a specific question asking you which Technical Areas you are seeking to pursue. 

Where your proposed concept is best understood as a single holistic integrated concept paper across all three TAs you can submit a single concept paper (you should note the format constraints).

If however your proposed concept could be delivered as standalone projects you should submit a concept paper per TA path.


“As part of our application, we will be proposing the creation of a UK subsidiary to carry out our work. Should we articulate our plans within the concept paper or wait to do this within the full proposal?”

Within section 2 of the application form on the portal there is a specific question asking you if you are based in the UK or not. For those who are currently based outside of the UK, you will be asked to provide a brief summary of your proposed plans or commitments. 

At the full proposal stage we will require a more detailed plan to be provided.


“I was wondering if it is recommended (desirable or necessary) to have formed a team prior to submitting the concept paper, if one’s intention for the full-proposal stage is for the proposal to involve a team (i.e., not just a single institution/investigator, but also one or more subcontractors)? If teaming before the concept-paper submission is not necessary, will there be an opportunity to meet other applicants prior to the full proposal submission to form teams? (I.e., somewhat analogous to DARPA’s Proposers Days, although in this case after the DARPA whitepaper stage)”

Where you believe your proposal would benefit from collaboration with another organisation but you are yet to connect with potential partners you should identify any gaps or potential areas where you may need a partner in your concept paper.

We are not planning to hold a ‘proposers day’ for this programme but where you identify potential gaps or areas you may need to partner on, we may offer an introduction to any suitable matches we identify (there will be no obligation to meet with these matches).

At full proposal stage any proposed collaborators/partners should be included within the proposal, including sub contractors/grantees, who they are and which elements of the project they will support/deliver. How you intend to coordinate and manage the teams including any collaborations with third parties. Any potential gaps in your core competency which would be required in order to achieve the overall goals.


“Is there a maximum amount that can be applied for in this call?”

We have provided guidance on the budget for each technical area and the number of awards we expect to make (copied below). You should consider this guidance when developing your concept. We are looking to fund: 

  • Technical Area 1 with up to £26M. We expect to fund two to four awards in this TA.
  • Technical Area 2 with up to £8M. We expect to fund three to five awards in this TA.
  • Technical Area 3 with up to £5M. We expect to make one award in this Technical Area.


“As a university we will be costing at 100% FEC as per your guidance, and can see there is a separate line on the budget template for indirects to be costed. Could you clarify whether estates and infrastructure technicians costs should be added to the indirects total or put on the ‘other’ cost line?”

Please include estates and infrastructure costs within the indirect costs box. If appropriate please add a comment showing the breakdown.


My proposal includes non-UK based collaborators, would it be possible to fund costs related to their contribution (e.g. salary and consumables) if they are not based in the UK?

As part of your application and in the cost breakdown required, please indicate which collaborators are non-UK based and the portion of the funding you are proposing that will go to these collaborators. 

You should also note the non UK evaluation criteria in the solicitation documentation.


Are we allowed to submit letters of support for the research Proposals? Is there a way for us to provide appendices/supplementary information as needed to expand on technical aspects of the proposals (e.g. detailed mathematical proofs)?

Unfortunately we aren’t able to review any additional information other than the 10 page proposal.

If your application is progressed to the next stage, we may ask for further information to help clarify your application where required.


According to the call for proposals document, the “grant signature” must be completed within 8 weeks following the award notification. Does this mean that the project is expected to start promptly after the “grant signature,” or is there flexibility to select a slightly later start date, such as January 2025? Our concern is that an immediate start may pose considerable hiring challenges, given that recruitment efforts can only commence once funding is secured.

Yes, there is some flexibility in a slightly later start date to your project, however, our preference is for projects to start as soon as possible after grant signature.

Please include details of your proposed start date, including any recruitment activities required, in your proposal and we will review this as part of your application.


My proposal includes working with colleagues from a different academic institution. When submitting the cost breakdown spreadsheet, do you expect that the costs for both institutions should be included on one spreadsheet, or should each institution prepare a separate spreadsheet of costs, with each receiving funding directly from ARIA if awarded?

If the two institutions are applying under a single application proposing a single project, we’d expect you to indicate a lead applicant in the proposal with the other institution acting as a sub grantee/contractor. As such you should include the costs of both organisations in one cost sheet as a total cost.

Please include the costs from the sub grantee/contractor in the cost detail tab under subcontracting. We may ask for further details on these costs at a later stage if your application is successful.


How does section 2 of the application factors into the 10 page limit. We have a large team so including domains of expertise, bio’s and time allocation, takes up a large portion of our proposal. Is the team section omitted from the 10 page limit, or should we seek other ways to summarise our team and their details?

Section 2 should be included within the 10 page limit of your proposal.

We would encourage you to think about the level of information that is required to help us learn more about who will be doing the research, their expertise, and why the team is motivated to solve the problem. 

It may also be helpful to look over our evaluation criteria in section 8 of the solicitation document to tailor your response to these areas.


Do we need to provide any financial info on the main 10-page proposal, or should financial info appear purely on the spreadsheet?

You don’t need to include any financial information within the 10 page proposal.

Having said that, financial information doesn’t necessarily need to be excluded from the 10 page proposal if it is helpful in explaining your proposal, but the majority of this information should be contained in the spreadsheet.


In relation to the Commercialisation Hypothesis, we assume that the “funded personnel” referred to in question 3 means personnel funded by the Aria project. Is our interpretation correct?

Yes, your interpretation is correct – this question is only referring to the team/individuals funded by ARIA.


Is an accountant report/audit required at the end of the project and at the end of each financial year?

Yes, an accountant report/audit is required at the end of the project and at the end of each financial year.


Which payroll documentation is required for monthly personnel costs reporting?

Payroll documentation may not be required every month, our likely approach is to verify these once at the start of the project against payslips or other company payroll information.


Which format (xls, other…) will be required to report the timesheets?

There is no specific format required for timesheets.


Can a bonus be added to the non-discretionary line of the budget and be eligible?

Our preference is for bonuses to be discussed with ARIA if they are discretionary in nature. 


In the eligible costs, we can’t see anything prohibiting the recruitment of further specialist FTE. Will we have the ability to grow our team as the project progresses? 

If you think you will need additional resources to deliver your project, please include this detail within your application as part of your Project Plan and within your costings.