HGHI Partners with Google Cloud to Award Cloud Research Credits

The Harvard Global Health Institute is partnering with Google Cloud to enable researchers to harness the power of the Cloud in their fight against COVID-19. As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, research teams are moving quickly to bring their work to the next level. To support this vital effort, Google is offering a pool of $20 million in Google Cloud credits to researchers studying COVID-19. To distribute these credits effectively, HGHI has gathered a team of experts to review submissions and award credits.

“With academic researchers racing to discover potential treatments and therapies, collaboration is more important than ever. Our partnership with Google provides these researchers much needed resources to speed up our response to COVID-19,” said Dr. Ashish K. Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. The COVID-19 Google Cloud Research project builds upon HGHI’s previous collaborations with Google.

Companies, government agencies, non-profit organizations and academic institutions are doing important work to battle this disease. By identifying promising research opportunities and applying Google Cloud’s capabilities to support them, we can move the needle together.

Apply for credits here


The Selection Process

Teams at Google Cloud and HGHI will review proposals and expedite Google Cloud Research Credits to approved researchers. HGHI’s Selection Committee brings together experts from a broad swath of organizations and academic institutions, including Emory, Harvard, and the University of Texas. Their work represents a diverse range of scientific disciplines, from evolutionary genomics to machine learning. Committee members will assess proposals that align with their area of expertise. They will evaluate applications based on four criteria:

  • Is the work timely and essential?
  • Is it innovative?
  • Is it feasible?
  • Is there an articulated need for Google Cloud credits?

All research approaches will be considered under this call, including areas such as clinical research, bench science research, drug delivery and therapeutics research, health services and policy research, and epidemiological research.


Application Guidelines & Submission Deadlines

Proposals should include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Background and Specific Aims: Briefly describe the research problem to be addressed and the context. List specific aims, hypothesis, and rationale.
  • Project Approach: Briefly outline how the work will be carried out and which Google Cloud Platform tools will be used to accomplish this.
  • Project Timeline: Summarize anticipated project outcomes and proposed timeline.

Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Applicants will be notified up to 2-weeks after submission. Proposals are limited to 500 words, not including references. Applications must be submitted in English.

Apply for credits here


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the eligibility criteria to apply for Google Cloud Platform research credits for COVID-19?

Applicants must be a verifiable researcher from a commercial, nonprofit, government or academic research institution. Please note that government related requests will be reviewed on the basis of compliance with regulatory norms prior to considering the application. The institution must be based in a country where GCP credits are approved:

Australia Austria Belgium Bulgaria
Canada Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark
Estonia Finland France Germany
Greece Hungary Ireland India (Limited)
Israel Italy Latvia Lithuania
Luxembourg Malta Netherlands New Zealand
Norway Poland Portugal Romania
Slovakia Spain Sweden Switzerland
United Kingdom United States    


Is there a deadline to apply? 

No, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis during the COVID-19 pandemic.


What type of research will be approved?

Google will be funding COVID-19 related research projects for potential treatments, techniques and datasets, and working with the Harvard Global Health Institute to prioritize grant recipients based on the project impact on public health. Preference will be given to projects that plan to make their datasets publicly available and referenceable. Unlike academic research seed grants, COVID-19 research grants are designed to fund urgent public health related projects in-full. COVID-19 research grants are valid for 90 days only.


Will credit grants for COVID-19 related work that is not research be accepted?

The pool of credits is exclusively for COVID-19 related research and cannot be used for other Cloud computing needs.


How long does it take from the moment I apply to when my credit is issued?

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis between the Harvard Global Health Institute and Google Cloud committee. We expect the majority of reviews to be completed within 1-2 weeks, but if follow-up questions are required, then this may be extended.


How much are the credit awards?

Research credits are meant to fully fund COVID-19 related research in accordance with the proposal submitted. Please expect that higher credit requests may require further follow-up.


When will the credits expire?

Credit awards must be activated within 60 days of the project start date indicated in the application form. Credit awards will expire 90 days from the coupon redemption date, or when the credit amount has been fully used, whichever comes first.


Can a researcher submit multiple applications? 

Yes, although this will be taken into consideration when reviewing our support priorities.


Can multiple individuals from the same research proposal apply? 

Only one person per research proposal may apply.


Can multiple individuals from the same research institution apply for different proposals?

Yes. Each proposal will be evaluated for compliance and impact on its own merit.


Can I still apply if I have a researcher on my team working in a country where Google Cloud Credits are not approved? 

To be considered, the Google Cloud account must be located in an approved country from the list above.


Can a researcher who has already received a Google Cloud research credit grant apply? 

Yes. Researchers who are currently utilizing a Google Cloud research credit grant can submit a new research proposal related to COVID-19 to be considered.


What can GCP credits awarded through this program be used for? 

Google Cloud research credits can be used for most computing services on Google Cloud Platform such as storage, compute, and data analysis. The credits can not be used for Maps Platform products. Credits may not be used for Google Cloud support packages. Credits must only be used for COVID-19 research described in the proposal section of your application.


What documentation or training is available? 

Explore Google Cloud Platform documentation and our Getting Started with Google Cloud Platform Guide. Specific to COVID-19 related research, our Genomic data reference architecture site may be relevant as well as a pre-hosted repository of public datasets like Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (JHU CSSE), US Census, and Hospital General Information from HHS via our BigQuery public datasets program. 


How should I disclose that I received and used Google Cloud credits in my research?

You should acknowledge the connection between your project and your use of Google Cloud Platform via a research credit, with a statement like the following: “This material is based upon work supported by Google Cloud.”


What GCP Terms of Service apply to my use of GCP services?

If you have a current GCP account through your educational institution, the Terms of Service negotiated between your institution and Google will continue to apply, as before. If you do not have a pre-existing GCP account through your educational institution and must create a new account to access GCP services, the Terms of Service you must click-to-accept govern your use of GCP.


What are the tax and/or legal implications of receiving a free credit award?

Researchers should consult their own tax and/or legal advisors if they have questions about the tax and/or legal implications of receiving research credits from Google Cloud.


How do I estimate the amount I request in Google Cloud Platform credits?

To estimate credit size based on current prices, see the Google Cloud Platform Pricing Calculator.


Who should I contact if I have any questions? 

For any additional questions, please contact gcpresearchcredits@google.com.