About BEAR





The Birmingham Environment for Academic Research (BEAR) is a collection of complementary IT resources managed by IT Services that are designed to help research, free at the point of use for all bar those with exceptional needs. The 2015/16 procurement for an industry integrator/partner to work with across the suite of services resulted in a framework agreement with OCF, backed by leading technology companies such as Lenovo, IBM, DDN, Mellanox, Mechdyne and IOCOM who together offer a broad spread of expertise to help build the environment and develop services.

This short video provides a quick intro to the services and the Research Engagement Team.


Currently the components of BEAR are:

  • BlueBEAR, our Linux-based, batch processing High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster
  • BEAR Cloud, the next generation of powerful interactive virtual machines for compute or data intensive work - built for flexibility, accessibility & efficiency.
  • CaStLeS (powered by BEAR), - powerful compute and storage to meet the challenges of life sciences research in all Colleges.
  • BEAR DataShare, offering dropbox-type facilities for collaboration both on and off campus
  • BEAR Research Data Store, providing storage for ‘work-in-progress’ data, including a facility for groups with exceptionally large requirements to purchase extra capacity.
  • BEAR Archive, a cost effective and energy efficient archive for the long-term retention of completed research data.
  • BEAR Research Data Network, catering for the fast transmission of exceptional data volumes, generated by specific scientific equipment on campus.
  • BEAR Gitlab, an on-campus software repository supporting academic programmers through the whole software lifecycle.
  • BEAR Software: advice, coaching and coding services from Research Software Engineers.
  • BEAR View, offering visualisation, collaboration and large scale video-conferencing facilities including a 4metre by 2metre display screen, 2 and 3-D imaging and movement tracking.
  • BEAR Plus, additional computational resources available to Birmingham researchers through the Tier2 regional centres and other national resources. (Note, some of these national resources may be paid-for services).
  • Exclusive BEAR, enabling research groups with demanding or time-sensitive workloads to buy centrally managed and dedicated compute capacity. Costs for management and all supporting infrastructure (racks, switches and of course electricity) are usually met by IT Services.
  • BEAR Database Service, runs in a high-availability cluster and is available both from the BlueBEAR cluster and from the campus network.
  • BEAR Galaxy (for computational biologists) - a platform for data-intensive biomedical research (analysis and process sharing).

Problems or questions should be logged with the IT Service Desk at http://www.itservicedesk.bham.ac.uk. This ensures that they reach the most appropriate person and are tracked. It also allows any common or persistent areas of uncertainty or concern to be identified. See the 'Contact Us' page for further all ways to get in touch with the Research Computing Team.

To justify ongoing funding for this service it is essential that outcomes such as publications and/or grant awards are recognised by the University. Please complete a brief on-line form to give us this information.

Last modified: 3 August 2018