NERC MSTRF: How To Apply For Facility Support

WARNING: This page is out of date. Visit the data access page for updated details.

This page provides guidance on how to complete an Application for Facility Support (AFS) - not on how to gain access to the data, which is a separate issue.

Click here for details of the purpose of the AFS and of who needs to submit one.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Facility's Project Scientist if:

You are advised to discuss your requirements with the Facility's Project Scientist before you submit an AFS. This will ensure that the Facility is able to provide the type of support that you are seeking.

The Scope of Facility Support

The provision of Facility Support is equivalent to the allocation of NERC resources. Consequently, Applications for Facility Support (AFS) will be graded according to their scientific merits by members of the NERC Atmospheric Radar Facilities Steering Committee (NARFSC). These grades will be used (amongst other ways) to establish which projects should be prioritised, in case demand for support exceeds the Facility's ability to provide it.

Data users who fall outside of NERC's scope - e.g. those who are not in possession of a NERC grant, those from outside of the UK, and students below PhD level - are welcome to apply for Facility Support. Although your projects will (typically) be given a lower priority than NERC projects, we will support them when possible.

Users who have been granted Facility Support are expected to provide a short update (i.e. one paragraph of text) on their projects on a yearly basis. The Facility's Project Scientist will contact you during the early part of the calendar year to request this. The details will only be made available to members of the NARFSC. You will also be expected to provide details of any publications which have been supported by the Facility. The publication details will be made publicly available through the Facility's website.

Click here to download an AFS form in MS-Word format.

The rest of this page contains guidance notes on how to complete the AFS form.


Title of the project for which Facility Support is being requested - free text
This should be concise and descriptive.

Type of Facility Support required - select each that applies
The options are User Support, Campaign Support, and Instrument Support. In the case of the latter two, make sure you discuss your requirements with the Facility's Project Scientist before submitting an AFS. If you are not obliged to submit an AFS, but are doing so as a courtesy, please select User Support irrespective of whether or not you think you need it.

Date of submitting this application - in day/month/year format

Expected end date of the project - in month/year format
In the case of a student project, this will typically be the expected end date of the period of study/research. In the case of a project funded by a grant, the end date of the grant will typically be used. This information is used by Facility staff for guidance only. Support will typically continue for as long as is necessary.


If more than one person is likely to use the Facility's data in association with this project, please add (i.e. cut and paste) a table for each additional person.
Title and full name - free text
Where the applicant has an academic title, e.g Dr or Prof, this should be given. Otherwise a title such as Mr, Miss, Ms or Mrs may be given. The applicant's full name - including middle names or initials - should be given.

Status - free text
In the case of a student, both the degree being studied for (e.g. BSc, MSc or PhD) and the subject area (e.g. atmospheric physics) should be given. Other examples of "status" include "post-doctoral researcher", "research fellow", "lecturer", "reader", and "professor".

E-mail address - free text

Telephone number - free text
It is not mandatory to include this information and it is unlikely to be relevant in the case of students below PhD level.

Name and address of place of work or study - free text
In the case of an applicant based at a University, or at an equivalent institution, the name of the Department should be included in the address. In the case of a non-UK-based applicant, the name of the country should be included.


Each project requires a Principal Investigator (PI), who must be eligible for (but not necessarily in possession of) a NERC grant. This is someone who is permanently employed at a UK-based research organisation (e.g. a Higher Education Institution or a Research Council) at lecturer level, at an equivalent level, or above. Post-doctoral researchers on fixed-term contracts are not eligible.

In all cases, since NERC resources are effectively being allocated to the PI, it is important that the nominated person is aware that they are being used in this role.

In the case of a student project, the PI will typically be the supervisor.

In the case of project for which there is no eligible PI, the Facility's Project Scientist will act as your PI in the context of reporting to NERC. If this is the case, please make it clear on the AFS.


Source of funding for the project - free text
Abbreviations can be used in the case of British Research Councils - e.g. NERC, STFC, EPSRC. Otherwise the name of the source of funding should be given in full. If there is no specific source of funding, "none" or "internal" may be given as a response.

The following fields only need to be completed if NERC is the source of funding for the project.

Funding mode - select one
Options are Directed, Blue Skies, Core Strategic, Commercial/Repayment, and Infrastructure. This information is given on a NERC grant. If the person requiring data access is centrally funded, e.g. through NCAS, the Core Strategic option should be selected.

Funding type - select one
Options are Studentship, Research Grant, and Other. This information is given on a NERC grant. If the person requiring data access is centrally funded, e.g. through NCAS, the Other option should be selected.

Grant number - free text


- mark each one that applies.

At least one of the first four options - Atmospheric, Earth, Marine, Terrestrial & Freshwater - must be selected. Virtually all projects which have made use of data from the NERC MST Radar Facility have fallen under the Atmospheric area. Consequently this is the option which should be selected if the project does not obviously fit into any of the other areas. More than one of these first four areas may be selected if appropriate. For example, projects within NERC's Flood Risk from Extreme Events (FREE) programme may additionally/instead fall under the Terrestrial & Freshwater area.

If any of the final three areas - Earth Observation, Science-Based Archaeology and Polar - is appropriate, it should be selected in addition. It is not obligatory to select any. More than one of these may be selected if appropriate. In practice, only the Earth Observation area is ever likely to be appropriate - for projects which are fundamentally associated with satellite observations (in addition to data from the NERC MST Radar Facility).

More details about the scope of the science areas can be found on the NERC website.


- mark each one that applies.

At least one area must be selected even if none looks immediately appropriate. Examples are given below of the sorts of actual research areas which may be fitted into some of the different science priority areas. More than one science priority area may be selected if appropriate.

Climate System: projects focusing on any atmospheric constituents or phenomena which can affect the climate, e.g. aerosols, clouds, water vapour, ozone, stratosphere-troposphere exchange, atmospheric tides, atmospheric (gravity) waves

Biodiversity: projects focusing on any atmospheric constituents or phenomena which affect life forms, e.g. the effects of winds on bird/bat/insect feeding/migration patterns

Sustainable Use Of Natural Resources: projects concerned with energy generation or energy use, e.g. wind-energy, aircraft flying procedures

Earth System Science: projects which look at the Earth system as a whole, e.g. the interactions between the atmosphere and the ocean

Natural Hazards: projects focusing on any atmospheric constituents or phenomena which can be hazardous, e.g. volcanic dust, extreme wind events, rainfall, snow, flooding

Environment, Pollution and Human Health: projects focusing on any atmospheric constituents or phenomena which can affect human health, e.g. the dispersion of airborne pollutants by wind

Technologies: projects focusing on new instruments and analysis techniques, e.g. novel ways of processing or interpreting MST radar data


- free text

This should be approximately 1 page in length and should address the objectives of the project, its scientific relevance, and the proposed approach. Please remember that the AFS will be graded by members of the NARFSC and that the grades will be used to establish priorities for support. The project description does not have to be as polished or as detailed as it would need to be for a grant application, but it does need to be clear. Members of the NARFSC are specialists in various aspects of atmospheric science. Please explain any specialist terms or concepts which fall outside of this field. If the project requires Instrument Support or Campaign Support appropriate details should be included.

The completed AFS should be mailed back to the Facility's Project Scientist.