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@tlabruyere This may not address your problem, but I have a similar setup (University env on our cluster). We are able to install python packages locally or to our assigned cluster projects without admin rights or creating a virtualenv. I was able to do this using the following instructions (http://www.bu.edu/tech/support/research/software-and-programming/common-languages/python/packages/).
I am at Boston University using the MGHPCC, so it might not apply directly to your cluster, but I'd imagine most University clusters would provide ways to custom install local packages in a similar way. It wouldn't be a very useful cluster if you could only use what the admins install since research computing often has to be quite customized.
If you are able to accomplish this via this process, the --target option on pip will likely be helpful.