Frequently Asked Questions

How are applications reviewed?

All applications are first reviewed by Facility Management in order to allocate them to the most appropriate member of staff.

The appointed staff member performs a technical review which is based on the information provided in the application form and if this is not sufficient they will contact the applicant directly to discuss the needs of the porject.

This technical review allows the Facility to determine what staff time support maybe need, whether what is beign requested is feasible,  what consumables the project will be required to supply and also to provide adivise on best deloyment practice if required.

If Peer Review of the a Science Proposal is required this is erformed by independent memberos of the AMOF Sterring Commitee. They use the grading citeria used by NERC and projects receiving a mark of 7 or higher will be provided with Facility support – the overall mark is also used in prioritization. 

What is the application process?

With the exception of commercial interests, all access to AMOF must come via the online application form: commercial interests should contact the Facility directly.

On receipt of an application, the project will be issued with a tracking number and this should be used when contacting the Facility regarding the project.

Once the technical review and any peer review have been performed the applicant will receive a formal letter detailing the support offered and any costs that may be incurred.

Should the applicant wish to take up the offer all that is needed is for them to let us know and to make the logistical arrangments with the allocated Facility staff member.

How quickly can you deploy instruments?

We aim to process an application and issue an offer with 7 working days of its receipt. 

How quickly the request can then be actioned is dependent totally on the nature of the request. The Faility staff member will work with the applicant to ensure any request is actioned as quickly as possible.

How are applications prioritised?

When allocating resources the Facility Manager will prioritize as follows:

  1. NERC grant applications
  2. UKRI cross-council schemes involving NERC
  3. NERC NC
  4. Direct Access
  5. UKRI Non-NERC Research Council grant applications
  6. EU grants, public not-for-profit organisations and recognised national\international funding bodies
  7. Commercial organisations

The score obtained by a NERC grant and the score resulting from AMOF peer review (based on the NERC grant scoring scheme) determines prioritisation within a category.

If scheduling clash still occurs then allocation of resources within that category will be on a first-come-first served basis.

Applications from NERC-funded PhD students will be considered as part of Direct Access.

In the event of a scheduling clash that cannot be resolved within these guidelines, the Facility
Manager will consult by email with AMOFSC.

Disputes will be referred to the Chair of AMOFSC.

Is training available?

Training in the operation and best practices is always available and is arranged by direct discussion with the Facility staff member. 

Training takes place at a time and a place that is mutually compatible.  

There is no additional cost for training.

What level of support can I expect?

Facility instruments are categorised to provide users with an indication of the minimal level of Facility support required. A user can request any level of support and bespoke training is always available.

1. The instrument can be deployed, operated without Facility Staff intervention and no Facility Staff time is required to process data.

2. Facility Staff input is required for data processing only.

3. Facility Staff input is required for data processing and instrument deployment.

4. Facility Staff input is required for data processing, instrument deployment, and operation\monitoring.

5. Facility Staff input is required for instrument deployment and operation but due to the complexity of the data processing a large amount of Facilty Staff time is required.

6. The instrument is under development\testing. No AMOF data products are available for instruments in this category. The Value Added Data (VAD) products offered are developmental and subject to frequent changes as our confidence in the validity of the data produced increases. Contact the associated IS for access details.

Facility Staff are always available to give advice and provide help and support. 

Operational Exceptions

In instances where mobile instrumentation is deployed supporting a project that is coming to an end a Direct Access application requesting a continuation of the deployment can be supported if:

  • The applicant is not associated with the original project
  • There are no other projects requesting access to the particular facility
  • Any costs (other than shipping) associated with operations in the locations are met by the Direct Access project.
  • The PI of the original project is amenable to deferring payment for the return shipment until the Direct Access project has finished. The two project PI must come to an agreement independently of AMOF:  if this does not occur the Direct Access project will be charged for all costs incurred in returning the instrument to its home base.

Due to the level of support required for operation the following instruments have two modes of operation: 1) operation at host observatory and 2) operation at another site in the UK or abroad. The instruments are:

  • Mobile X-band Radar
  • Mobile Ka-band Radar
  • Boundary Layer Radar Wind Profiler

These instruments are available via grant and Direct Access when operating at their home base.

These instruments are only available for operation away from there home base when accessed through “applying for a NERC grant” path. Operational deployments away from the instruments home base of operations is not available via the Direct Access scheme.

Remember, you can contact us if you have any other questions. We’re always happy to help.