Life Science Grid

The Life Science Grid is a network of compute clusters intended specifically for researchers in the life sciences. Research institutions in the Netherlands house clusters that are embedded in the international grid infrastructure. Researchers can use this to scale up their computational power and exchange data with partners at other institutions.

On-site cluster

The Life Science Grid (LSG) consists of 10 compute clusters. Each member institution has access to an on-site compute cluster managed by SURFsara. The institution can use this cluster locally for data analysis or computing on a relatively limited scale. Clusters are present at the following locations: Amsterdam (AMC, VU), Nijmegen (Radboud University), Wageningen (WUR), Leiden (LUMC), Maastricht (UM), Groningen (RUG), Delft (TU), Utrecht (BCBR) and Rotterdam (Erasmus MC).

Scaling up via the grid infrastructure

Using the grid structure, institutions can scale up to greater computational power or storage capacity when performing large-scale analyses. All LSG clusters are part of a single whole due to the grid infrastructure. Thanks to Grid middleware, it is possible to distribute the work of conducting analyses. For analyses of a still greater volume, researchers can scale up to use the entire Dutch grid infrastructure or even the European grid infrastructure.

Easy collaboration

The LSG simplifies and enhances the potential for collaboration. It enables researchers to share their data and applications not only with colleagues in their own working environment, but also with collaborative partners at other institutions. This is no trivial matter considering the highly secure nature of hospital environments. Of course institutions always have the possibility to retain their own data, if necessary.

Ambassador and technical contact

The LSG is made by and for the institutions who use it, as evidenced by the organisational structure surrounding it. A contact person is present at each location to serve as LSG ambassador. The primary role of this ambassador is to promote use of the LSG and make people aware of its existence. SURFsara also tries to maintain a technical contact at each institution; this person can provide new local users with any necessary support, among other tasks.

LSG characteristics

The LSG offers the following facilities to researchers in the life sciences:

  • A local cluster for computing and data analysis;
  • Local storage for large data sets (temporary storage for input and output data);
  • The potential for scaling up to centralised clusters for fast processing;
  • Access to scalable facilities for grid storage on disk and tape;
  • Professional management and administration by SURFsara.


Our support is available to all LSG users. SURFsara will arrange access and assist with any problems that may occur. We help new users get their production runs off to a good start. This includes instruction for users on how to make their applications suitable for using the LSG and how to manage the scaling-up process. Manuals are also available online.


Our helpdesk can be reached by phone or email. It is also possible to make an appointment with one of our associates. If you have any questions or want to report a problem, please send an e-mail to or phone +31-208001400. The helpdesk is available during office hours (9:00–17:00).

In need of specific advice such as how to port your application to the LSG? Our consultancy service will be happy to help you.

Who is it for?

The LSG brings computing capacity within reach of the life sciences at Dutch research institutions. This involves research in areas such as bioinformatics, genome analysis, biobanking and medical data. A great deal of research in the life sciences is subject to strict guidelines concerning privacy. View a research example of the Biomedical Imaging Group Rotterdam (BIGR) on brain research. Do you need more examples? Read three use cases of the Erasmus MC, the WUR and AMC. On you can find also many examples of how grid computing has been used successfully in the Netherlands.

More information and contact

You can find more (technical) information regarding the use of the service on the website with user information. Are you looking for a printable version of the service description? You can download a service description of the Life Science Grid in pdf. Need additional information? Please contact us at

Latest modifications 20 Dec 2016