There are four main pathways to access the Atmospheric Measurement & Observation Facility. They are NERC Grant Applications, non-NERC Grant Applications, Direct Access and Commercial Applications.
NERC Grant Application
PIs preparing NERC grant proposals that plan to use AMOF (including applications to UKRI cross-cutting schemes where the application comes through NERC on JeS) should apply to the Facility (via the online application form) to obtain a ‘technical assessment’ and cost estimates for submission with their proposal. This should be at least one month before the grant submission deadline.
Applicants need to be aware that it is best practice to create a new document for submission to JeS and not to use the copy facility. If a facility that is no longer listed in JeS (for example AMF and NFARR) has been picked on an old document it causes import issues resulting in the need for manual intervention at the JeS end. This has happened in proposals recently submitted.
The Facility Manager will provide a Facility Charge for the project to be included in the Je-S form under the Research Council Facilities box. This covers the Facility’s ‘ready-to-go’ costs. Additional Facility costs required to carry out the project, e.g. consumables, shipping or travel and subsistence, will also be provided by the Facility Manager and should be included as Directly Incurred costs on the JeS form.
A separate Science case is not needed as the relevant Research Council Peer review outcome will be used to determine access to AMOF.
Where a proposal requires more than 40 working days of Facility staff time the PI must consult NCAS (via the Facility Manager) and include the extra staff time costs on the JeS form: for example by making the staff member concerned a Co-investigator or named researcher on the grant.
Non-NERC Grant Application
This access pathway is for PIs applying for use via other grant schemes from national and international funding agencies, and applications from public sector not-for-profit organisations.
Organisations falling into this category include UKRI funding councils (other than NERC), NSF, EU, UK Met Office etc.
To comply with NERC reporting requirements, ensure transparency of access, and to ensure science quality, PIs will be required to submit a 2-page Science Proposal alongside the AMOF application. This document will be peer reviewed by 3 independent members of the Facility Steering Committee (AMOFSC) and scored following the NERC grant scoring scheme. Applications receiving a score of 7 or over will be considered eligible for Facility support, subject to prioritisation.
EU projects will be expected to recover costs as allowed by EU rules.
Projects led by public sector not-for-profit organisations will be granted access at marginal cost (including staff costs), subject to the Facility having available capacity.
PIs preparing grant proposals which plan to use AMOF should apply to the Facility (via the online application form) to obtain a “technical assessment” and cost estimate for submission with their proposal. This should be at least one month before the grant submission deadline.
This scheme is open to academic and research staff employed at UK Universities and NERC research centres. NERC-funded PhD students may also apply through this scheme.
Direct access allows for small projects which require 20 working days (1 month) or less of Facility staff time.
NERC Services and Facilities have decreed that NERC Grant holders cannot apply through DA to use NERC facilities in support of funded projects – that must be requested through the original proposal. We have been asked to refer such requests to NERC Head Office. This change is consistent with the 2020 edition of NERC’s Grants Handbook.
The majority of applicants will be required to submit a Science Proposal of up to 2 pages which will be peer-reviewed by AMOFSC: the exceptions are as follows:
National Capability Access:
NERC research centres may use the Facility as part of their commissioned National Capability Underpinning or Long-Term Science programmes. Such usage will not be subject to further peer review, but an application to the Facility will be needed through the Direct Access route to allow AMOF to meet NERC reporting requirements. Such applications are restricted to 40 person-days staff support, and must provide the necessary non-staff costs. A Science Proposal is not required.
Usage of Facility by AMOF staff:
The Facility staff may utilise up to 10% of the NERC-funded capacity for Facility research and development purposes. This will be by agreement with the Facility Manager. If a particular project requires an abnormally large amount of the capacity the facility (>10% of that available annually), the cost of the work should normally be funded externally (e.g. via a grant or NC science programme). An application to the Facility will be needed through the Direct Access route to allow AMOF to meet NERC reporting requirements. Where the request is in support of commissioned National Capability Underpinning or Long-Term Science programmes no 2-page Science Proposal is required and no external peer review by the AMOFSC occurs.
Where the request is in support of facility development no 2-page Science Proposal is required and no external peer review by the AMOFSC occurs. The Facility Manager provides overview and sign off and a report to Facility Management is expected at the end of requested period.
Minor additional support may be awarded to projects already supported by AMOF at the Facility Manager’s discretion. No additional peer review will be needed in such a case.
NERC-funded PhD students and those funded through UKRI cross-council schemes involving NERC may apply in their own right for AMOF, and in this case may request up to 40 working days (2 months) Facility staff support.
PhD students not funded by NERC are not eligible to apply directly to AMOF, but eligible supervisors may apply on their behalf though Direct Access as above (and are restricted to 20 working days instrument scientist support).
AMOF does not normally have the capacity to undertake commercial work, but if there is spare capacity commercial work will be costed according to the procedures of the institution that employs the relevant staff member (and owns the equipment).
Prospective users should contact the Facility manager for further details.