Guidance on the use of marine facilities
Scientists who have secured science funding from NERC, or from a non-NERC peer reviewed source (eg the EU & NSF) or from commissioned research, can bid to NERC for 'free at the point of use' access to its research ships and marine equipment.
Under these arrangements the only cost that is payable by the scientist is the cost of all technician and equipment support (ie the 'superstructure' cost). The infrastructure & capital cost of supporting the ships and the marine equipment is paid from central NERC infrastructure & capital funds.
'Free at the point of use' access to NERC's marine facilities will only be provided to science that is of international quality (ie science that has been graded alpha 3 or higher).
If science funding has not been secured from a peer reviewed source then a two-page science case should be submitted to NERC so that arrangements can be made for it to be reviewed by the most appropriate member(s) of NERC's Peer Review College to ensure that the proposed science is of international quality.
All scientists bidding for 'free at the point of use' access to any of NERC's marine facilities are required to submit an online Ship-time & Marine Equipment (SME) application form to NERC by creating a cruise profile on the Marine Facilities Planning website. Applicants should refer to the information provided in the applying to use the facilities page.
The Principal Scientist on the SME can be different from the Principal Investigator on any associated grant application, recognising the importance of this role. Guidelines have been developed to provide a clear indication of the expectations that NERC has on anyone undertaking the role of Principal Scientist.
The NERC marine facilities programmes will be developed within the limits of affordability.
The RV Prince Madog, operated by P&O Maritime Ocean Sciences, is run on a 'pay as you go' basis as a recognised NERC facility.
For NMF Sea Systems the infrastructure allocation from NERC will allow it to support the NERC marine facilities programme, although there are a number of 'high load' activities, such as seismic and giant piston coring cruises, which NMF Sea Systems will only be able to support a limited number of in any one year.