NNUF funded user access scheme: overview and workflow

Left to right: scientist at University of Manchester Dalton Cumbrian Facility; actinide complex in solution at Centre for Radiochemistry Research; MRF hot cell wall; aerial view of Diamond Light Source; Multimodal thermal analysis in the HADES facility
The UK Government has provided £6.5m of funding to allow any UK-based university researcher to apply to access facilities affiliated with NNUF. Some of these facilities are already up and running, whilst many others are in the process of being set up.
The facilities will be free at the point of access for successful applicants under this scheme. Applications for access will be reviewed by the NNUF Management Group, and accepted on the basis of scientific merit. Application rounds will be run quarterly. The first application round is now open.

    Workflow to follow when applying for access funded by NNUF

    Please note that the following workflow applies to all NNUF facilities, with the exception of the Diamond Active Materials Laboratory, when used in conjunction with beamtime. Please consult the Diamond page on this website for information about how to apply for NNUF access funds for Diamond.

    There is also a special process to follow for those who have been awarded access by NNL as part of their 2020/2021 “nuclear fuel and recycle” call. Please consult the NNL page on this website for further details.

    1. Please contact the facility directly, mentioning that you are enquiring in connection with the NNUF funded access scheme.

    • Discuss with them the practical feasibility of conducting your research at their facility/using their equipment (e.g. can your research question be addressed using their facility? How many days of experimental work would this be likely to involve? Is the facility likely to be available during the time period you had in mind? What training / support with operation do they provide? What are their health and safety requirements?) Please use the facility feasibility checklist to structure these discussions.
    • Some facilities may have their own quality-checking process, even for applications which will go on to be submitted for the NNUF funded user access scheme. They will let you know if your research proposal needs to pass the facility's own quality control checks at this point.


    2. In order to be considered for funding under the NNUF access scheme, you will then need to complete a simple application form. When completing the application form, you will be asked to include an email exchange between yourself and the facility in question, confirming the feasibility of undertaking your proposed research using the facility.


    3. On a quarterly basis, the Management Group will review all applications received, using scientific merit as the primary metric. The Management Group will inform applicants, and the manager of the selected facility, of the outcome of all applications.

    4. If your application is successful, you will then be encouraged to liaise with the facility directly to arrange your use of the facility. The NNUF Management Group must be notified when the dates of your access have been arranged. Once your access has taken place, the NNUF Management Group will transfer directly to the facility the necessary funds (day rates etc.) to cover your use of the facility, and any travel, subsistence costs and sample transport costs to your institution.


    5. After your use of the facility you will need to:

    • Complete a feedback form detailing the research undertaken, the number of days for which you used the facility, how many members of your research team took part in the experiment etc.
    • Cite NNUF in any publications, reports, patents or other “outputs” which result from your research, and notify the NNUF Management Group (by emailing francesca.mcgowan@materials.ox.ac.uk) when any such “outputs” occur. Please respond in a timely manner to enquiries from the NNUF Management Group on these matters, as this information is required for our reporting to EPSRC and the UK government.

    If you work in industry, or work outside the UK (or if you do not wish to apply for access funded by NNUF for any other reason), you do not need to apply via this website. Please contact the facility directly. They will have their own access application process to use in such cases.

    Further information

    For further information about the access scheme as a whole, please contact Francesca McGowan, NNUF Administrator, University of Oxford (francesca.mcgowan@materials.ox.ac.uk), who would be delighted to assist or advise in any way on behalf of the NNUF Management Group. The Management Group's aim is to ensure that the access funding available is used to encourage as many scientists and engineers from as many institutions as possible to make use of NNUF facilities during the lifetime of the project.

    For further information about individual NNUF facilities, please contact the facility directly using the contact details provided on each facility page. The facility managers share our enthusiasm for ensuring the facilities are used by as many researchers as possible – they will be very pleased to hear from potential applicants.