NERC National Environmental Isotope Facility (NEIF)

Lead Research Organisation: NERC British Geological Survey


Determining the isotopic composition of a breadth of environmental materials underpins our ability to constrain, track and understand a wide range of environmental science processes. Isotopes are used to determine the age of materials, constrain rates of change, integrate disparate environmental records, and assess cause/effects hypothesis. Isotopes are also used to track a range of natural and anthropogenic processes operating across the planet, from the hydrosphere to the biosphere. Isotope science requires infrastructure at the leading edge; not only physical infrastructure such as state of the art equipment and well established laboratories, but as important are the experienced facility personnel who provide the expertise, drive development, explore new areas of application, and develop systems to ensure data are accessible, interoperable and reusable. The requirements for isotopes in environmental sciences necessitates national delivery of fundamental capabilities for the following reasons: (1) A compelling community need for fundamental and complex isotope analyses; (2) Continued investment in instruments and skilled people is required to remain at forefront of world isotope science; and (3) High demand and delivery required by the UK research portfolio. Where these requirements exist, national facilities are a demonstrably cost-effective mechanism to deliver and underpin environmental science research and innovation, now and into the future.


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