Collaborative computational projects


Collaborative computational projects (CCPs) bring together the major UK groups in a given field of computational research to tackle large-scale scientific software development projects, maintenance, distribution, training and user support. There are hundreds of UK groups participating in the CCPs and extensive collaborations with international groups and industry.


The CCPs aim to exploit research investment by encouraging widespread use of the software in the long term. One of the purposes of the CCPs is to exploit the computing codes produced for use on the high end computing systems, such as ARCHER, so that a larger community using smaller systems can benefit. CCPs also help train the community to develop and produce better codes, and to port them and optimise them for high end facilities.

Main work activities

  • Maintain and distribute code libraries
  • Organise training in methods, algorithms and the use of specific codes
  • Hold meetings and research workshops, issue regular newsletters
  • Encourage collaboration between UK research groups, in particular new researchers
  • Invite overseas researchers for short term lecture tours and collaborative visits
  • Implement "flagship" code development projects

Flagship projects

Flagship projects are innovative and challenging software developments at the leading edge of the relevant area of science or engineering. Projects vary from three to five years in length and may support a postdoctoral research assistant.

Software resulting from projects will normally become part of the code library and the CCP will maintain, distribute and develop it as required, providing training and user support where necessary. Several projects, especially those closely involved with interpreting experimental results, give greater emphasis to the collation, standardisation, maintenance and distribution of existing data analysis codes.

Computational support

CCPs may benefit from some computational support by staff at STFC's Scientific Computing Department, funded through an agreement with EPSRC. Support involves expert technical and administrative back-up, carrying out a range of functions. Staff are frequently involved in the flagship projects.

Guidance for reviewers of proposals from CCPs

Proposals from CCPs are different to most other research proposals. Please bear this in mind when reviewing them.

CCP activities involve a strong element of support for the computational community and emphasise the quality, longevity and exploitation of codes generated in flagship projects. These infrastructural characteristics distinguish CCP proposals from most other responsive mode research proposals as a CCP aims to enable and underpin high quality UK computational research in its field.

Bear in mind when reviewing a proposal from a CCP:

  • Significance and potential of the research
    Has the CCP clearly stated what its aims are and how the proposal will fulfil them?
    How will the codes in the CCP library be maintained, developed and distributed?
  • People and training
    Is there a clear strategy for providing training for the duration of the proposal?
  • Collaboration
    What mechanisms are there to encourage collaborations and interactions among UK groups, internationally and with industry?

Bear in mind when reviewing a flagship research proposal from a CCP:

  • Significance and potential of the research
    What is the strategy of the CCP and how will this proposal help to forward it?
    Has the CCP demonstrated a clear need for this code or development within the UK community?
  • Degree of novelty or risk
    Will this development underpin adventure in research in the UK?
  • People and training
    Is provision made for maintenance and distribution of the code and for training in the new methods, algorithms and codes?

Current projects

Title Chair
CCP9: Computational Electronic Structure of Condensed Matter Professor Michael Payne, University of Cambridge
CCP-NC: Collaborative Computer Project for NMR Crystallography Dr Jonathan Yates, University of Oxford
CCPQ: Quantum dynamics in Atomic Molecular and Optical Physics Professor Graham Worth, University of Birmingham
CCP in Synergistic PET-MR Reconstruction Dr Kris Thielemans, University College London
CCP5: The computer Simulation of Condensed Phases Professor Neil Allan, University of Bristol
The Plasma-CCP Network Professor Tony Arber, University of Warwick
CCP-WSI: Wave/Structure Interaction Professor Deborah Greaves, Plymouth University
CCP-BioSim: Biomolecular simulation at the life sciences interface Professor Adrian Mulholland, University of Bristol
CCP in the area of Computational Discrete Mathematics Professor Steve Linton, University of St Andrews
CCPi: Tomographic Imaging Professor Philip Withers, The University of Manchester
CCP on Computational Magnetism Professor Julie Staunton, University of Warwick

Each CCP has a chair and working group that sets the scientific agenda, decides the work programme and monitors progress. A steering panel, made up of CCP chairs plus international and industrial members oversees the programme as a whole.

Additional UK-USA CCP (August 2013 - July 2017)

Title Chair
CCP-SAS: Collaborative Computational Project for advanced analyses of structural data in chemical biology and soft condensed matter Professor Stephen Perkins, University College London
Professor Paul Butler, University of Tennessee