Financing the future of supercomputing: advisory study by the European Investment Bank


The results of this study prepared by the European Investment Bank on behalf of the EC DG Research and Innovation and DG Connect  are available. The authors had interviews  with some ETP4HPC office members and with some of our members.

"European supercomputing infrastructure represents a strategic resource for the future of EU industry, SMEs and the creation of new jobs"

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society

Finding 1: Demand for HPC capabilities is rapidly increasing  in key sectors of the European economy, such as aerospace, automotive, energy, manufacturing and financial services,  while Europe’s more ‘traditional’ SMEs are lagging behind.

Finding 2: Fragmentation and limited coordination at the EU level has resulted in a suboptimal investment climate and an underinvestment in strategic HPC infrastructures in Europe.

Finding 3: Most European HPC centres are largely publicly  financed and owned, and dedicated to research. More  commercially oriented HPC centres and activities within public  HPC centres are emerging, but are often hampered by rules  and regulations. 

Finding 4: Key Stakeholders (from HPC centres to HPC customers) in the European HPC ecosystem face different financial challenges that need tailored solutions. 

Finding 5: HPC intermediaries represent a key link between HPC infrastructure and customers, able to further catalyse commercial exploitation by matching supply with demand.

Finding 6: Demand for HPC services among SMEs is not only constrained by the limited knowledge of the benefits of HPC, but also by a lack of finance to invest. 

Finding 7: Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) are crucial actors in European HPC. However, ISVs have difficulties in accessing finance. 

Finding 8: Private investors are already engaged in the financing of commercial HPC infrastructure (especially HPC centres), but not in public HPC infrastructure with limited ‘bankability’ prospects.

Recommendation 1: Increase financial support from the public sector for strategic HPC infrastructure and services with an emphasis on improved coordination and a strong public value investment approach.  

Recommendation 2: Strengthen the uptake by HPC users, in particular for commercial applications by industry, SMEs, and innovative companies and start-ups by strengthening the role of HPC intermediaries via public support. 

Recommendation 3: Support (mainly via public support) HPC stakeholders (in particular HPC centres and intermediaries) in developing more commercially oriented business models based on the provision of secure and flexible HPC services and infrastructure.

Recommendation 4: Adapt existing financial instruments and explore the development of more dedicated financial instruments and blended instruments for the financing of HPC centres and to support the digitalisation of companies including HPC development and deployment.

Recommendation 5: Improve knowledge of, and access to, public financing instruments and financial advisory services for HPC stakeholders.


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