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:
- British Oceanographic Data Centre (marine)
- Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (atmospheric, earth observation, and solar and space physics)
- Environmental Information Data Centre (terrestrial and freshwater)
- National Geoscience Data Centre (geoscience)
- UK Polar Data Centre (polar and cryosphere).
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
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 help with advanced measurements of the atmosphere through the Atmospheric Measurement and Observation Facility. The facility has mobile instrumentation, observatories and laboratories and offers training and advice.
Find out more about the Atmospheric Measurement and Observation Facility.
Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa
You can get access to cultures through the Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa, 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 the Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa.
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, UAV-based hyperspectral and multispectral imaging, column atmospheric/trace gas analysis over large scales, an underwater bio-optical sensor suite and UK’s largest and most distributed AERONET sun photometer networks. They also offer advice and training. 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 supports both land-based and seabed geophysical 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 locations specialising in:
- global navigational satellite systems, ground penetrating radar, geomagnetic survey equipment, and terrestrial laser scanning systems – based at the Grant Institute at the University of Edinburgh, which is also the administrative centre
- seismology – SEIS UK, based in the Department of Geology at Leicester University
- seabed multi-sensor geophysical instrumentation – Ocean Bottom Instrument Facility based at Durham and Southampton universities.
Find out more about the Geophysical Equipment Facility.
Ion Microprobe Facility
You can get secondary ion mass spectrometry analysis of small volumes of solid material down to parts per billion through the Ion Microprobe Facility. It’s based at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Geosciences.
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 Acquisition and Analysis Service
You can get earth observation data processing and analysis, advice and training through the NERC Earth Observation Data Acquisition and Analysis Service (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
You can get support for analysis of environmental materials using isotope and organic geochemistry capabilities through the National Environmental Isotope Facility. The facility is run by a partnership of five institutions:
- British Geological Survey
- Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
- University of Bristol
- UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
- University of Oxford.
They provide a range of introductory to advanced training opportunities.
Find out more about 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
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.
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.
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:
- UK Arctic Research Station – laboratory space, equipment and field support based at Ny-Ålesund, Spitsbergen, in the Svalbard Archipelago. Suitable for ecological and marine research, glacial and periglacial geomorphology, hydrology and atmospheric chemistry
- Rothera Research Station, Adelaide Island
- Halley VI Research Station, Coats Land
- Bird Island Research Station, South Georgia
- King Edward Point Research Station, South Georgia
- Signy Research Station, South Orkney Islands – summer only
- Fossil Bluff Field Station, Alexander Island – summer only
- Sky-Blu Field Station, Eastern Ellsworth Land – summer only
- polar ships – managed by the British Antarctic Survey.
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:
- polar infrastructure governance
- prioritisation framework
- map of key transit routes and locations around Antarctica
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:
- ships operated by the National Oceanography Centre – the RRS James Cook and the RRS Discovery
- the RRS Sir David Attenborough, operated by the British Antarctic Survey
- Ocean Facilities Exchange Group – facilities available for barter under an agreement between the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain
- UK-USA barter arrangement – NERC has a barter arrangement with the National Science Foundation that provides access to marine facilities of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System.
Find out more about:
- how to apply for NERC’s marine facilities
- marine facilities policies and guidance
- marine facilities governance
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: