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Research facilities user agreement

Our user agreement outlines what users can expect from our research facilities and what we expect from users.

Code Of Practice

Research facilities communications

  • Research facilities staff will aim to reply to questions as soon as possible and ideally within 2 working days. Users can either contact a staff member directly or via
  • Research facilities staff will keep users informed of staff absences, including details of alternative contacts (e.g. via email auto-responses).

Equipment Availability

  • Research facilities will implement appropriate maintenance and QC processes for each instrument to keep them in good working order.
  • As far as possible, research facilities will ensure that there are staff available so that there are no single points of failure for remedying routine issues. If appropriate, standard start up and shut down procedures, or instructions for basic fault-fixing, will be available near instrumentation so that trained users can reset routine problems.
  • In the event of instrument breakdowns, research facilities staff will quickly inform all relevant users, keep them regularly updated, and where possible point users to alternative instrumentation.
  • Once repair timescales are known, research facilities staff will attempt to prioritise bookings for users who have had instrument time cancelled.
  • Research facilities will make every effort to keep machine downtime to a minimum, but this cannot be guaranteed. Research facilities cannot be held financially liable for the cost of any lost experiments due to instrument failure.

Training and Operational Access for Bookable and Open Access Instruments

  • Research facilities staff undertake to provide appropriate training for all new users, and provide more advanced training as appropriate to support the individual needs of the user.
  • Users must have research facilities approval before using research facilities instrumentation, and independent use of instrumentation is only granted after formal training by research facilities staff, unless by prior agreement.
  • Users must follow the relevant booking regulations associated with the instrumentation being used.
  • Except for open-access instruments, all instrument time used must be booked. If this extends beyond the booking or it overruns users must amend the booking accordingly.
  • A booking usually gives the user the right to uninterrupted use of that time, but research facilities reserve the option to amend bookings in exceptional circumstances (for example, instrument breakdown).
  • Unless cancelled in advance, booked usage will normally be charged for, even if the user does not access or use the instrument during this booked time.
  • Each user must leave the equipment in a fit state for the next user and report any problems to research facilities staff.
  • We understand that accidents happen and we do not normally charge for instrument damage. However, research facilities do reserve the right to charge for any damage due to careless or inappropriate use.
  • Research facilities staff will provide professional advice and guidance, but the quality and appropriateness of the data generated remains the responsibility of the user.
  • All instrument access is at the discretion of research facilities staff and we may restrict access to users if they fail to abide by booking and operation rules.
  • Users are responsible for the safe storage and backup of their own data.
  • Users are asked to follow the guidelines on acknowledging research facilities staff and research facilities in publications.

Feedback and Complaints

  • Feedback on all research facilities services is welcomed and encouraged – either via email or the comments boxes available in all research facilities labs.
  • Any specific questions, suggestions or complaints should, in the first instance, be addressed to the research facilities staff member responsible for running the service. Should this not result in a satisfactory outcome, these can then be raised with the head of research facilities operations.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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