How do I apply to use the facilities?
If you are eligible for a NERC training award or research grant as a PI or Co-I you can apply for access to any of our services or facilities (for eligibility see section C of the Research Grants Handbook).
Prospective applicants must first seek the advice of the appropriate facility contact before any formal application is submitted.
Access to these facilities is either provided free-at-the-point-of-delivery or on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Many of the NERC facilities are block funded and are therefore provide collaborative support free-at-the-point-of-delivery. The facility costs involved with grant-funded work are awarded notionally to the PI. The PI should submit an application to the facility steering committee once the grant is awarded.
We also provide direct access to facilities by a 'grant in kind', subject to peer-review and prioritisation of applications by the facility steering committee to ensure that the highest quality science is supported. Direct access cannot be applied for to cover facility usage in connection with a grant; the facility costs must be included in the grant, ie direct access is not intended to supplement NERC grants.
Some NERC facilities (and all NERC recognised facilities) are funded on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Researchers can only apply to these facilities once they have secured funds to cover the full costs from one or other of the NERC funding modes or other sources, although limited support may be available for students and small proof-of-concept studies. Spare capacity in any of the facilities may be made available to non-NERC researchers or commercially.
NERC grant applications involving NERC facilities
If research grants are being submitted that depend on facility support it is important to discuss your requirements with the head of the facility prior to submission of the grant application. It is also important to state on fellowship, studentship and grant application forms what services and facilities you require and who you have contacted at the facility to discuss your work.
Estimated facility costs should be costed into research grants under 'Other directly incurred costs'. This is not necessary for studentships, unless using a pay-as-you-go facility. Facilities costs that were not requested on the grant proposal will not be added later.
From 20 August 2013, grant PIs will need to submit a mandatory technical assessment document (a quote for the facility work), supplied by the facility, as part of their grant application.
Applications to the facility steering committee
Potential users must contact the facility and complete an application form, which they submit to the appropriate steering committee as per the instructions given by the facility. It is important to note on the application if the work is part of a NERC grant. Applications for the use of facilities to support student training should be made by the student's supervisor. All applications for work to be carried out by the facility will be subject to the endorsement of the facility's steering committee, with respect to feasibility, resource allocation and peer-review if not already carried out.
If the anticipated use will have a significant impact upon the facility capacity (ie in excess of approximately 10% of the total annual facility capacity) the applicant should seek advice from the head of the facility.
We have prepared a short guide which covers loss and/or damage to equipment which is loaned from NERC facilities.