Facilities and resources - NERC


Find a NERC facility or resource

Environmental Data Service (EDS)

You can get environmental science data, including some physical specimens and sample materials, through five data centres under the umbrella of NERC’s Environmental Data Service. The data centres are:

You can also get data from NERC-funded research in science-based archaeology that is managed and made available by the Archaeology Data Service.

The EDS supports NERC in meeting its data policy. The data value checklist aims to identify which data should be considered for accession to the NERC Environmental Data Service and offers guidance on assessing their long-term value.

When planning an application, read more about:

Visit the NERC Environmental Data Service brochure site to learn more about the data service and its resources, or search the NERC Data Catalogue Service database of data holdings in the EDS.

Ask a question about EDS

Email: data@nerc.ukri.org

High performance computing

You can access high-performing computer and data facilities provided by NERC. These are:

  • ARCHER2 – the UKRI national supercomputer
  • Monsoon2 – a collaboration between NERC and the Met Office that provides tools for forecasting climate and its impacts
  • JASMIN – the UK’s data analysis facility for environmental science

Find out more about applying to use high performance computing services with NERC.

NERC scientific support and facilities (S&F)

Atmospheric Measurement and Observation Facility

You can get full-project lifecycle support for advanced measurements of the atmosphere through the Atmospheric Measurement and Observation Facility. The facility offers:

  • access to a wide range of instrumentation, observatories and laboratories
  • quality-controlled and quality-assured data supported by open access processing toolchains
  • expert support, training and advice from world-leading instrument scientists embedded in university research groups

Find out more about the Atmospheric Measurement and Observation Facility.

Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa (CCAP)

You can get access to cultures through CCAP, which maintains more than 2,500 strains, located at the Scottish Association for Marine Science. The collection also provides a wide range of other services including a depository, identification, short courses and research.

Find out more about CCAP.

Watch a video about CCAP on Vimeo.

European Incoherent Scatter Radar (EISCAT) UK Support Facility

You can get support for the use of EISCAT radars through the European Incoherent Scatter Radar UK Support Facility. These UHF, VHF and ESR radars conduct research on the lower, middle and upper atmosphere and ionosphere, using the technique of incoherent scatter. They will be joined by EISCAT 3D in late 2022, a new phased array that will provide a more powerful and versatile research platform.

Find out more about the European Incoherent Scatter Radar UK Support Facility.

Field Spectroscopy Facility

The Field Spectroscopy Facility can loan you:

  • ground-based field spectrometers
  • solar-induced fluorescence spectrometers (from the ground or an unmanned aerial vehicle)
  • unmanned aerial vehicle-based hyperspectral and multispectral imaging sensors
  • column atmospheric or trace gas analysis over large scales
  • an underwater bio-optical sensor suite
  • UK’s largest and most distributed AERONET sun photometer networks

All of the instruments provided are calibrated at the facility’s internationally accredited optical laboratory, which can be loaned for use with your own instruments. They also offer advice and training on sensor choice and methodologies to answer your science questions. They are based at the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences.

Find out more about the Field Spectroscopy Facility.

Geophysical Equipment Facility

The Geophysical Equipment Facility provides geophysical instrumentation to support both land-based and seabed research via:

  • equipment loan to users for land-based studies
  • equipment accompanied by operational technical support for sea-based studies

Advice and training are also provided, each tailored to user and project needs. It has three hosts specialising in:

  • global navigational satellite systems, ground penetrating radar, geomagnetic survey equipment and terrestrial laser scanning systems. This facility is based in the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh, which is also the administrative centre
  • land-based seismological systems. SEIS UK based in the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment at Leicester University
  • seabed multisensor geophysical instrumentation. Ocean Bottom Instrument Facility based at Durham University and the University of Southampton

Find out more about the Geophysical Equipment Facility.

Ion Microprobe Facility

The Ion Microprobe Facility provides in-situ, high spatial resolution (one to 20 micrometres (µm)), high-precision microanalysis using secondary ion mass spectrometry.

The facility based in the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh currently operates two instruments, the Cameca ims 7f-Geo and the Cameca ims-1270. Together, they enable the analysis of stable and radiogenic isotope ratios, trace metals, light and elements or volatile elements (H, Li, Be, B, C, N, halogens) in minerals, geomaterials and organic matter.

The facility can obtain micron-scale quantitative concentrations with:

  • parts per million to parts per billion detection limits
  • isotopic data for light and volatile elements (D/H, Li, B, C, O, Si, S, Cl)
  • radiogenic ages for U-Th bearing minerals from mega annum to 4.5 giga annum with 15 to 25 µm spatial resolution

Find out more about the Ion Microprobe Facility.

NERC Environmental Omics Facility

You can access a full range of omic tools, advice and training from the NERC Environmental Omics Facility for research into environmental science challenges, including in the fields of biodiversity, species interactions and threats to wildlife. NEOF is delivered by world-leading laboratories at the Universities of Liverpool and Sheffield.

Find out more about NERC Environmental Omics Facility.

NERC Earth Observation Data Analysis and Artificial Intelligence Service (NEODAAS)

You can get earth observation data processing and analysis, advice and training through NEODAAS, based at Plymouth Marine Laboratory. The service downloads and processes data from the latest satellite passes.

NEODAAS operates the Massive Graphical Processing Unit Cluster for Earth Observation, which can apply deep learning to earth observation data.

Find out more about NERC Earth Observation Data Acquisition and Analysis Service.

National Environmental Isotope Facility

The National Environmental Isotope Facility provides an integrated platform of state-of-the-art isotope and organic geochemistry analytical capabilities and specialisms, including:

  • environmental and life science tracers (including bulk, molecular and elemental characterisation of gases, liquids, solids and extant or extinct organisms for all common stable isotopes and matrices)
  • chronology (long and short-lived radioisotope chronometers, cosmogenic isotope dating including noble gas isotopes and radiocarbon dating)

The facility is run by a partnership of four institutions:

  • British Geological Survey
  • Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Oxford

They provide a range of introductory to advanced training opportunities.

Find out more about the National Environmental Isotope Facility.

Take a 3D tour of the National Environmental Isotope Facility.

Apply to use NERC’s scientific support and facilities

Find out more about how to apply to use any of NERC’s scientific support and facilities.

Ask a question about the facilities

Email: researchfacilities@nerc.ukri.org

Large research infrastructure

Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements

You can use NERC’s airborne laboratory, a modified BAe-146 aircraft, and its wide range of core instruments and staff expertise to measure basic meteorological parameters, aerosol properties, cloud microphysics, complex chemical species and radiation.

Find out more about the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements.

Find out how FAAM are creating a virtual tour of our research aircraft.

British Ocean Sediment Core Research Facility

You can get access to sediment core samples taken from beneath the ocean by NERC ships and NERC-funded researchers through the British Ocean Sediment Core Research Facility. They also operate a suite of advanced instruments for non-destructive core analysis and offer training opportunities.

Find out more about the British Ocean Sediment Core Research Facility.

Take a 3D tour of the British Ocean Sediment Core Research Facility.

Polar research facilities

You can apply to visit polar research stations and facilities operated on NERC’s behalf by the British Antarctic Survey. This includes both significant research projects and opportunities to carry out small-scale fieldwork through the Collaborative Antarctic Science Scheme. The main facilities are:

Find out more about fieldwork via information from NERC or you can also apply to carry out polar fieldwork directly from the British Antarctic Survey.

Find out more about:

Take virtual tours:

UK Geoenergy Observatories (UKGEOS)

UKGEOS in Glasgow and Cheshire provide an opportunity to explore the subsurface using heavily instrumented boreholes.

The Glasgow observatory accesses a flooded coalmine, a man-made aquifer, to enable investigation into subsurface heat extraction and storage.

The Cheshire observatory enables investigations into flows through natural aquifers.

Find out about how to apply to access the Glasgow and Cheshire observatories, how to apply to access the core scanning facility and about UKGEOS.

NERC’s marine facilities

You can get access to ships, technicians and marine science equipment through NERC. This includes:

Take virtual tours:

Find out more about:

RV Prince Madog, run by the joint venture company Prince Madog Offshore Services, is run on a pay-as-you-go basis and you can access it directly.

National Marine Equipment Pool (NMEP)

The National Marine Equipment Pool can provide you with instruments and technologies for marine research. You can also get technological support from NMEP’s engineers and technicians.

Find out more about the National Marine Equipment Pool.

Large research facilities at Harwell

You can apply for free use of any of the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s large facilities at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory if you are a NERC eligible researcher. You should apply directly to:

Last updated: 27 February 2024

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