Application Procedure

If you are employed at an eligible UK academic or research institution or hold an NERC Fellowship, then you are eligible to apply to use services provided by NERC LSMSF (Bristol). With the recent relaxation of criteria for individual eligibility, if you are a member of contract research staff you may also be able to make an application as the Principal Investigator. For further details please refer to the NERC funding guide. In all instances potential applicants should first contact a member of the Facility staff to discuss their proposal. At this stage any potential problems can be identified and the feasibility of carrying out the proposed work assessed; in some cases a pilot study comprising a few samples may be undertaken at the discretion of the Facility manager.

Assuming the proposed work is analytically and operationally feasible then you should complete and return an NERC LSMSF application form. Completed forms must be returned electronically and, in addition, a hardcopy with signed declaration (section 5) and signed data protocol declaration returned by conventional mail. Failure to submit an electronic copy shall result in a void application. The scientific case for supporting each application is assessed by the NERC LSMSF steering committee at one of its biannual (May and November) meetings. There is a deadline for the submission of applications before each meeting; the current deadline may be found on the NERC LSMSF and NERC LSMSF (Bristol) homepages. Successful applicants are usually notified within two weeks of the steering committee meeting. Awards are given a monetary value and may be considered as a 'grant-in-kind' with analytical services being 'free-at-point-of-use'. The steering committee encourages, in particular, applications supporting NERC funded studentships although applications in support of studentships supported by other funding sources that fall within the science remit of NERC are welcomed.

Applicants seeking analytical services in support of an NERC grant should make a separate additional application to NERC LSMSF. Since any award made through NERC LSMSF carries a monetary value such costs should not also be sought through standard NERC grant funding mechanisms.

In many cases samples require significant wet chemical pre-treatment prior to analysis. NERC LSMSF, can undertake such preparations in a service capacity but applicants should be aware that this can greatly increase the costs associated with an award. Applicants who have the necessary infrastructure and expertise to conduct the required extractions/wet-chemical separations/derivatisations are advised to conduct this work at their host institution. A popular compromise between these two situations involves the applicant (or a nominated researcher) visiting NERC LSMSF and using local facilities whilst receiving training in the various laboratory techniques employed. Applicants opting for this route should be aware that such preparative work and training can take up to several weeks and that the Facility cannot cover the cost of travel, accomodation or subsistence.

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