Strategic Equipment is intended to enhance UK scientific capability and support a portfolio of high-quality, cutting edge research.
It could include, but is not limited to, cutting edge technology that enables novel research, or high-specification equipment that enables research through increased capability and capacity (eg faster, higher resolution or more cost-effective results).
Underpinning equipment is often described as equipment that we would expect to see in a well-found lab. It may be of strategic value at departmental and sometimes university level, rather than of national significance. It is not project-specific and would be of service to multiple users on a regular basis.
High-specification equipment uses a specific technique that may be considered as strategic rather than underpinning.
Research grant applications
For research grant applications that include equipment items costing greater than £10k, the PI should:
- check whether or not the University already owns equivalent equipment
- confirm, if the University does own equivalent equipment, that it has the capacity or can be suitably configured for use in the planned research
For equipment costing between £10k and £25k the PI should check with whether the equipment already exists within their school or faculty.
For equipment costing over £25k, use the University of Leeds Equipment Sharing and Management System (ESMS) or the N8 shared Equipment Inventory System to find out whether the University already owns the same or similar equipment.
The ESMS database includes details of the academic and technical contacts if you need to find out more information about existing equipment.
Funding for equipment
There are three primary routes to obtaining funding for equipment purchases. Each is likely to require the University to provide an element of matched funding.
1. Research grant funding
This funding stream should be used where the equipment purchase is a component of a single specific research project; that is, it does not underpin a range of research activities or replacing an item that would normally be expected to be available in a ‘well-found’ laboratory.
The research proposal should be prepared in the usual way via your local Faculty Research and Innovation Office.
Matched funding is typically expected for any application to UK funding councils, trusts and charities.
To obtain matched funding:
- If the value of the equipment item is below OJEU (<£189,330 excl VAT), complete the research equipment checklist and email it to Poppy Leeder. A matched funding letter will be issued (typically for 50% of the equipment value, depending on the funder and scheme).
- If the value of the equipment item is above OJEU (>£189,330 excl VAT), complete the two-page business case along with the checklist. For items of this value a contribution from the host school/faculty is expected. For more details contact Lee Mason.
2. Equipment funding calls
- Some funders issue equipment-specific funding calls, usually of high value (>£200k per item) typically as one-off strategic opportunities or to fund underpinning infrastructure which relates to a range of research activities.
- Matched funding is available to support applications to equipment calls, with a contribution expected from the host school/faculty. Details relating to the specific call, including any internal selection or review process, will be announced over the email networks once a call is live.
For further information or guidance please contact Poppy Leeder.
3. Internal annual capital bid process
An annual internal budget allocation is available to support strategic planning and investment. This should be used:
- where there are no other viable funding streams
- for replacement/generic equipment not fundable by grants
- for unsuccessful research grants where there is still believed to be a strong strategic and academic case for the University
- for teaching or teaching/research combined equipment
A contribution from the host school/faculty is expected for all bids.
Full details of the annual capital bid process are circulated to schools in April each year.
Sharing research equipment and facilities
The University of Leeds has a broad range of state-of-the-art equipment and a world-class research infrastructure.
We are committed to working collaboratively with national and international research institutions and companies, and to sharing our research facilities.
Equipment Sharing and Management System
The inhouse Equipment Sharing and Management System (ESMS) details and classifies all University of Leeds equipment over £25k in value.
For any queries regarding the database, please contact Poppy Leeder.
N8 Shared Equipment Inventory
The N8 Shared Equipment Inventory is a fully searchable online database which can be used to locate and request access to research equipment and facilities across the N8 University partnership. It has been developed as part of the N8 commitment to promoting the sharing of publicly funded research assets.
All Leeds equipment over £25k in value is automatically included in the Inventory.
The database is freely open to anyone to search; including researchers, research managers, funding bodies and policy makers.