Frequently Asked Questions

I am applying to NERC for a project requesting access to NBAF. Where do I enter the costs on JeS?
Please enter the costs in both the Facilities box and under the section called “Other Directly Incurred”; the amount needs to be added to the “Other Directly Incurred” section so that it is counted in the total amount. This is the same place where consumables are listed. The facilities £ box is new. Please ensure you enter the same amount in both sections.

I have obtained a grant NERC – why do I have to complete a new application form?
In practice, many grant applications do not include much technical detail and we do not get much involved at that stage. We don’t routinely see or comment on the full application and, even if we did, investigators often change their plans. So the view is that a facility needs to review the relevant aspects of a project. NBAF typically does a lot more than just running the sequences, so there needs to be a clear understanding of who does what, and the form helps us to sort this out. Overall the process has proved to be beneficial, with many projects being much refined or else improved to take advantage of new developments. While your application will not be rejected, it is possible for you to be asked to further refine your plan. The other information is either basic contact information or information that we have to return to NERC annually about our users but that we could not necessarily extract from your full application, even if we had it.

I have obtained a grant from NERC. Am I obliged to get my analyses done by NBAF?
No, but NERC requires that you obtain an equivalent quality of service and price from the alternative provider. Alternative providers, which are often based overseas, may offer lower headline prices but there is usually no equivalent support for experimental design or data interpretation, and there may be conditions regarding data ownership. NERC requires value for money rather than the lowest possible price, as the latter can be a false economy.

I have obtained a grant form another source than NERC. Can I apply for access to NBAF?
You do not need to be NERC-supported to be able to apply to NBAF; providing the focus of your proposed research project is within the remit of NERC, applications can be submitted by researchers supported by any source of funding.

Who should complete the application form?
The application form (and appendix when required) should be formally submitted by the Principal Investigator. This is normally the Supervisor when a PhD student is involved, however the draft can be prepared by the visitor / PhD student provided the final version has been approved of and is submitted by the Principal Investigator.

My project involves a postgraduate student, where do I enter his/her details?
If you plan for your student to visit the Facility, please enter his / her contact details under the “proposed visitor” section (7b), as well as their funding details under section (7c); if your student will not be visiting, but will benefit from the project, please do include their details under section (7c), as this information is relevant to NERC for annual reporting.

I have submitted my application on schedule – when will I hear about the outcome of my application?
The Steering Committee makes decisions 6 times a year. You will then receive a NERC official correspondence one month later, i.e. 2 months following the application deadline. For more information and decision dates, consult the deadlines webpage.

How will I know if my application is accepted?
NERC will inform the Principal Investigator directly by email.

What is the difference between a standard application and the pilot competition?
The pilot competition targets small pilot/development sequencing and microarray projects to be undertaken at the NBAF Edinburgh and Liverpool nodes. These projects should be directed at generating preliminary data or demonstrations in advance of full research grant proposals, particularly when it is necessary to demonstrate the applicability or the technical feasibility of new techniques or approaches to NERC-relevant research problems. Birmingham and Sheffield nodes are not open to the pilot competition.

Finally, standard applications are reviewed 6 times a year (every 2 months), whereas the pilot competition is an annual competition, with its deadline in October. For more information, please visit the pilot competition page.