Central Laser Facility
Return to web version


Access to ULTRA, OCTOPUS and EPSRC Laser Loan Pool

Applications are now invited for direct access and approved programme access to the ULTRA and OCTOPUS facilities of the CLF in the Research Complex at Harwell (Lasers for Science Facility) during Period 1 of 2016 (Access from May to October 2016).
The deadline for applications is Friday 18th December 2015.

For this call applications are invited for the following modes of access:

Direct Access and Approved Programmes: Ultra and Octopus
New Programmes: Ultra only (no new programmes for Octopus)

Please carefully read all the information below before submitting an application. All applications are made through the online system (link opens in a new window), in particular those for your chosen mode of access. In particular please note the arrangements for submission of interim reports (below).

New and Previous Users:

It is strongly recommended that you first contact an appropriate LSF staff member ("link scientist") informally to discuss appropriateness and requirements before applying, even if you have previously submitted a proposal.

Applicants to Octopus please note:

As the facility is now operating with more than one user group simultaneously, all applicants must apply for sufficient access to cover the use of each microscope required. For example, a group intending to use two different Octopus microscopes simultaneously for one week should apply for two weeks of access. Applicants must include in their proposal a detailed breakdown of which Octopus microscopes they require, and the amount of time required on each. This is needed in order to avoid scheduling problems and to ensure that sufficient resources are made available to support user groups. Proposals may be returned if this information is not provided.

Reports from a previous User Time:
You are strongly recommended to submit a report for the FAP to access progress etc., failure to do so may lead to the FAP deferring your proposal. If you have only just had a user period you can submit an informal one by email - to the FAP coordinator Paul Donaldson (paul.donaldson@stfc.ac.uk) absolute deadline by January 15th.

The CLF User Office request formal reports for all Direct Access and ongoing Programmes when due - if you have submitted a such a report which pertains to your new application for user time please send a copy to the FAP coordinator Paul Donaldson (paul.donaldson@stfc.ac.uk) absolute deadline by January 15th.
Please make sure you have an acknowledgement that your report has been received from Paul Donaldson (absolute deadline by January 15th).

Direct Access:

For work requiring a limited amount of access (maximum of 3 weeks) in a single 6-month allocation period. Direct Access applications require a 2 page scientific case (including Figures, References etc). Research Council grant funding is not a requirement for Direct Access. We encourage the submission of proposals aimed at collecting preliminary data to support future grant applications. Where this is the intention, it should be clearly stated in the proposal. Direct Access proposals from applicants who already have Programme Access awarded as principal or co-investigator will only be considered if they are for an entirely different project; this should be clearly demonstrated in the proposal.

As grant funding is an important criterion for assessment of proposals, please ensure that relevant grant funding is clearly identified in your application.

New Programmes (Ultra only):

In addition to a 6 page proposal (including Figures, References etc.) which you should submit first online, you will then have access (also online) to submit a request for user time for the first upcoming 6-month period which should be in the same format as a Direct Access application.

Approved Programmes:

Users requesting time in this period as part of a previously approved Programme should provide a short continuation application case (up to 3 A4 pages including figures and references) including a summary (1 A4 page) of progress to date (where time has already been used) and a detailed set of objectives for this period referring to their original proposal with any changes to the original Programme clearly highlighted (2 A4 pages).

For further information please contact Dr Paul Donaldson (FAP Coordinator: paul.donaldson@stfc.ac.uk, +44 (0)1235 567878), or Dr David Clarke (Division Head: dave.clarke@stfc.ac.uk, +44(0)1235 567035)).

The criteria on which applications are assessed are shown in detail below. In addition, please note the following:

We endeavour to provide access to all proposals supported by Research Council grants. However, because of limited capacity we are unable to guarantee access to all grant-funded proposals. Where the panel feels that a grant-supported application has not provided adequate information on its proposed use of CLF facilities, we may ask for clarification and resubmission of the proposal in the following round before access can be awarded.

Applications that involve access to both the CLF and other facilities at Harwell (e.g. Diamond Light Source) are encouraged. For applications of this type, the scientific advantages of a joint facility approach should be clearly explained in the proposal, as well as any technical issues, e.g. current status of applications to the partner facility, beamtime awarded, etc. Note that for access to other Harwell Campus facilities (Diamond, ISIS etc.) separate applications need to be made to the other facility.

Applications for Direct Access where the PI or Co-Is already have Programme access to the CLF should include an explanation as to why the Direct Access application is an entirely different project, for which it would not be appropriate to use existing Programme time.

Proposals involving collaboration with someone who is not a CoI on the proposal require a letter of support from that person. This letter should be emailed to the CLF User Office after submission of the proposal, with the number of the proposal clearly identified in the email subject line.

For Approved Programme applications, applicants are requested to state clearly in their application the period of access on which they are reporting.

Criteria for assessment of proposals

Applications will be assessed within the following criteria

Category 1. Absolute pre-requisite, without which an application will not be recommended for access:

• Scientific excellence: specific objectives of the project.
• International competitiveness.
• Strategic value within the STFC/CLF programme.
• For Programme Access, funding from BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC, NERC, STFC, or Wellcome Trust.

Category 2. Supporting evidence which increases the confidence in a successful outcome:

• Productivity of Investigator.
• Productivity of grant supported staff (where relevant).
• Quality of leadership/management.
• Suitability of Institution/Group.

Category 3. Important additional criteria which will be used to prioritise proposals when they cannot be separated under Categories 1 and 2:

• Potential for economic and societal impact.
• Training.
• Alignment with RCUK priority areas (e.g. demonstrated through allocation of strategically aligned grant funding).
• Originating from fellow residents of the Research Complex at Harwell.
• Combined access with Diamond or other major facilities at Harwell.
• Association with facility developments aligned with STFC strategy.

Each facility access proposal will normally be assessed by at least two referees. Referees and panel members are required to disclose conflicts of interest, personal or institutional, where this arises in relation to a proposal they have been asked to assess. Applicants who lobby or canvass members of the peer review panels or their officers about their research proposal will be disqualified.


Back to Top

© 2016 Science and Technology Facilities Council - All Rights Reserved.