STFC supported facilities

There are a number of facilities supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). Major facilities include Diamond, ISIS, Central Laser Facility (CLF), Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF).

Funding for access

EPSRC provides support for groups to carry out projects which use the facilities through research grants. Typically EPSRC funds the research staff and consumables needed for a project, with the research group accessing beam time at the facilities free at the point of access. STFC is responsible for allocating access to the facilities.

You need to apply to STFC for funding to cover facility access and related travel and subsistence costs. Any costs for facility time associated with carrying out experiments on the STFC facilities are not an eligible item on an EPSRC research proposal.

For more information see research facilities on STFC website.

Facilities in the UK

Major facilities include:

  • Diamond Light Source
    The UK national synchrotron facility based at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
  • ISIS
    Pulsed neutron and muon source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
  • Central Laser Facility
    Based at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, the facility provides access to large-scale laser systems for researchers from the UK and other EU countries.


STFC provides the subscription for UK participation in the international facilities ILL and ESRF. This subscription provides support for the operation and development of the facilities as agreed by their respective governing bodies.

We anticipate that most of the interests of the UK research community will be provided for through access to public beamlines and the public elements of any private beamlines at these facilities which are resourced by the subscription paid by STFC.

Collaborative research groups

In exceptional circumstances, where a clear scientific need that is of particular importance to the UK research programme and which can only be addressed by developing a beamline / instrument not available any where else, we are prepared to consider a request for collaborative research group support.

We judge any proposals using usual research council criteria. You would also need to explain the uniqueness of the required facility such that establishing a collaborative research group - at either ILL or ESRF - is the only route for taking forward the proposed programme of work. We ask STFC to comment on any proposals.

If you are interested in submitting this kind of proposal, please discuss it with us. We will only accept proposals that have been discussed with us first, or which are not solely aimed at securing beamtime for a particular research project.


Major facilities include:

UK Large facilities roadmap

Maintaining access to leading-edge experimental facilities, either in the UK or abroad, is an essential part of keeping UK researchers competitive and at the forefront of their fields of research.

Working together, the research councils are responsible for producing the Large Facilities Roadmap. The roadmap provides UK policy makers and researchers with a clear, strategic view of how best to provide scientists access to world-class research facilities and also how best to manage the investment of public funds in such facilities.

Covering all academic disciplines, the roadmap provides a comprehensive picture of the new facilities which are already under construction in the UK or internationally, and provides details of potential large facility and infrastructure projects that UK researchers would like to see available over the next 10-15 years.

Following consultation with the community, the final version of the roadmap will be published in early 2010.

For more information and draft version, please see UK Research and Innovation Large Facilities Roadmap on UKRI website.