Underpinning multi-user equipment

(The diagram below demonstrates the EPSRC approach to equipment funding; the most appropriate scheme or schemes to apply for are expressed as a function of the scale (from single user to national facility) and the nature of the equipment (from essential underpinning equipment to the cutting edge of innovation). Further details of each of the schemes are described in the following sections.)

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Underpinning equipment is of strategic value at departmental or university level, rather than of national significance. It maintains competitiveness in current fields rather than transforming the existing capability of the host institution. It is not project-specific and would be of service to multiple users on a regular basis. Its use should be dedicated to research rather than teaching purposes.

The specification of the equipment would reflect this anticipated usage (i.e. high-specification equipment using a particular technique may be considered as strategic rather than underpinning and would require a different business case to be developed to justify the request). The equipment requested could include renewals or upgrades, and investments to increase the capacity of the host institution. Examples of this type of equipment could include, but is not limited to:

  • Lower field-strength NMR
  • Standard specification spectrometers (e.g. ICP, mass spectrometers, ramen spectrometers,)
  • Standard specification microscopy equipment
  • Basic wind tunnels
  • Bioreactors
  • Mechanical testing, metrology and microfabrication equipment
  • Standard laser equipment
  • X-ray CT, XRD, XPS

EPSRC will fund this type of equipment through targeted activities subject to available funds. Investments in underpinning equipment may be informed by equipment roadmaps and areas for intervention may be prioritised using EPSRC strategies.

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