Isotope Community Support Facility

Lead Research Organisation: NERC British Geological Survey


The Isotope Community Support Facility (ICSF) neets the needs of the Geoscience Community for isotopic analyses and training in support of NERC funded research. Training of postgraduate students in the principles and practice of stable isotope geochemistry, together with support to largely grant-funded PI’s lie at the core of ICSF support (currently 53% student projects). ICSF gives PI’s access to a suite of international-class isotope systems at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre for analyses of minerals, fluids and organic compounds. ICSF offers a unique environment (SRG2009 mark a5) with the highest level of service (SRG2009 mark a5.


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Angerer T (2013) Mt. Whaleback: chemical constraints on the genesis of the largest hematite ore body in the Hamersley Province, Australia in Mineral Deposit Research for a High-Tech World, Vols. 1-4

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Barrie C (2009) Growth controls in colloform pyrite in American Mineralogist

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Bezard R (2014) Assimilation of sediments embedded in the oceanic arc crust: myth or reality? in Earth and Planetary Science Letters

Description ICSF supports a wide range of projects involving external stakeholder participation. ~70% of our students in the past 5 years have received industrial support for their PhD's (largely from mineral and hydrocarbon industries), with 65% of students over the past ten years gaining employment directly into industry. For example, one of our NERC CASE students focused on the Cononish gold mine in Scotland. Her research produced a new genetic understanding for the mine and regional prospectivity for gold. She was hired by CASE partners Scotgold as their lead geologist after completing her thesis. Furthermore, our Isotope Apprentice (Craig Barrie) was poached by the UK's leading stable isotope mass spectrometry company (Isoprime Ltd). Arising from his ICSF profile, Professor Boyce has demonstrated leadership in Mineral Deposit Research in the UK. For example, he helped evolve the Programme, and chaired the Expert Panel for NERC's £13M SoS Minerals programme, co-wrote its Science and Implementation Plan and is a member of its Programme Executive Board. More than 90% of the current projects also involve an international collaboration. All of these activities resonate strongly with NERC's strategic aims. I will end on the work of PI Polya who is developing a new understanding to the As contamination tragedy in SE Asia, through his truly cross-disciplinary research, in which ICSF and RCF-EK are playing key roles (Refs Lawson et al, 2013, 2016; Richards et al 2018). To quote from Dr. Bob Foster, President, Society of Economic Geologists on our student throughput: "It is difficult to over-estimate the level of support provided by the ICSF to the research community in UK and the value of the resulting research output to the international exploration and mining industry. ... in my personal opinion, the research support provided by Professor Boyce and his team to some of UK's leading minerals-focused research groups at universities, e.g., Cardiff, Imperial, Leicester and Southampton, has been fundamental to their research success."
First Year Of Impact 2006
Sector Energy,Environment,Other
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

Description Appointed as Chair of Expert Panel on Security of Supply of Minerals - a £15M NERC initiative
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact NERC's SoS Minerals initiative has had profound understanding on the origins and processes involving E-tech elements, which are critical to low C future. I remain on the Executive Board of this £15M NERC Programme. The outcomes of the funded research have delivered a new cohort of talented young researchers, and a very significant output of research into this field, changing genetic models for the ore deposits in which these elements form, and informing new, greener ways to extract the elements from primary ores. This was back significantly by industrial partners, to ensure widest possible impacts.
Description Appointment to Expert and Advisory Groups (NERC SoS Minerals, and NERC Resource Recovery from Waste)
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Description Isotope: National Environmental Isotope Facility
Amount £11,779,071 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/S011587/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2019 
End 03/2024
Description ICSF exists to collaborate - it has many institutional PI's and their PhD students in collaboration 
Organisation University of Southampton
Department Ocean and Earth Science
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Ocean and Earth Science at NOCS is an example of MANY institutions that ICSF has collaborated with - ICSF has been flexible in responding to demands from the community. At NOCS we have 6 peer-reviewed projects in-progress, 3 supporting NERC Grants, and a further 3 supporting NERC studentships. More broadly, in the last 5 years, for example, ICSF has delivered support to 26 PI's from 17 UK institutions, delivering in-depth training to 22 students and 4 postdocs. The breadth of science supported reflects the breadth of capability we make available to our PI's and students. From planetary evolution to ore deposit genesis; from major pollution studies to ocean acidification; from global cycles to sub-millimetre scale hydrothermal processes; and from the ocean floor to the Scottish Highlands, ICSF is facilitating NERC Science, delivering OPM and National Capability.
Collaborator Contribution Our partners are PI's on formal applications.
Impact 4 peer-reviewed papers have been published to date and 4 PhD studentships have been completed from the NOCS collaborations. More broadly, many papers have been published from ICSF collaborations (see Publications).
Start Year 2012