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How To Apply

Announcements of Opportunity (for direct access)

The deadline for proposals for UK flying in this year is 4 October 2013. A standard Announcement of Opportunity is circulated around June to this affect. However, special AOs may be circulated at any time during the year with varying deadlines if a thematic campaign in a selected area or with special instruments is planned. Please check the News page for the latest announcements.

There are five routes for access to the Facility:

  1. Support for NERC research programmes require large numbers of flight hours (science/data acquisition and transits to remote sites) and which incur significant additional costs associated with extended operations away from the ARSF operations base at Gloucester Airport. Details concerning those opportunities are available via the NERC websiteexternal link.

  2. Support for NERC Responsive Modeexternal link research (Large, Standard, Urgency, New Investigator Grants and NERC Fellowship) can also be associated with large numbers of flight hours (science/data acquisition and transits to remote sites) and which incur significant additional costs associated with extended operations away from the ARSF operations base at Gloucester Airport.

  3. Direct Applications to the ARSF Steering Committee for small-scale projects in UK and Europe, where PIs apply for allocation of flight hours (typically < 10 hours) and associated data processing only: ground-truthing activities and data analysis are self-funded.

  4. Commissioned research funded from peer reviewed application submitted to other research councils, the European Facility for Airborne Research (EUFAR) or NERC research centres.

  5. Commissioned research funded by science / business partners with a focus of environmental research.

* * Please note that application forms are required for all applications to the ARSF. These are only available from the ARSF Science & Operations Coordinator * *

Pre-submission advice

  1. Advance contact with the facility can allow a discussion about the possibilities and viability for supporting specific science proposals and allow areas-of-interest to be evaluated for viability in terms of air access.

  2. The ARSF document "Guidelines for User Access to the ARSF" (PDF 195kb) provides details of the routes and mechanisms for access to the Facility. This specifies the levels of resourcing available via each route and the sequence of actions required of the applicant.

  3. Potential users are advised to consult the NERC Grants Handbookexternal link and Fellowship Handbookexternal link for full details regarding eligibility for support and procedures.

  4. Applicants MUST contact the Science & Operations Coordinator and/or the Operations Manager to discuss their proposal, and to estimate resource implications such as flight hours and superstructure costs. An ARSF application form will be issued at this stage. In parallel, applicants should:

    • check NEODC archivesexternal link for the availability of previous data sets of your designed study area; and

    • check the eligibility policy (see 3. above) before applying for the use of the Facility.

  5. Completed forms must be returned in electronic format, as a single Word document comprising technical requirements, science case, and any maps and diagrams. In addition ARSF requires a hard copy of the page bearing the signatures of the Principal Investigator and Head of Department. An explanation of the application form can be downloaded and the Science/Operations Coordinator contacted if further guidance or advice is required.

    All application forms must include a full scientific case and methodology (maximum five pages plus diagrams, to be inserted under paragraph 20) and a full bibliography.

    The ARSF application form allows a combined application to FSF for supporting field equipment.

  6. In the case of Research/Consortium Grants and Directed Programmes, the complete ARSF application form (as described above) must be attached to the Joint-electronic Submission (Je-S) form sent to NERC Awards Section. The science case must detail the airborne component of the campaign and provide sufficient scientific context to allow assessment of methodologies and feasibility (simply including a copy of the R/C Grant application is not acceptable). A copy of the ARSF application form must be sent to the address below.

  7. Please be aware that an ARSF application via any mechanism may be rejected if it does not meet the requirements detailed above

Please return the completed forms to: Dr Gary Llewellyn via It is essential that a single electronic document is provided. Signed paper copies must be sent to:

Dr G Llewellyn
Airborne Research and Survey Facility
Natural Environment Research Council
Firfax House
Cheltenham Road East

What happens next?

Direct Access: Upon receipt of your proposal, it is forwarded to two members of the ARSF Steering Committee who are best placed to review the science. These members lead the discussion on science quality (where appropriate) and feasibility at the following Steering Committee meeting (normally in December), where a grade is allocated. The Science & Operations Coordinator will write to you within two weeks of the meeting to advise the grade and comments of the committee.

Research/Consortium Grants: On receipt of your Je-S/ARSF application form, the application will be subject to standard procedures (peer-review and scrutiny by Moderating Panels) prior to approval and allocation of resources. It is stressed that RG/Consortium Applications will be frozen if not accompanied by the ARSF form. In parallel, the ARSF Steering Committee will review the technical and feasibility aspect of the ARSF application with a view to providing advice to the Moderating Panel; the RG/Consortium science grade will be accepted by the ARSF SC. Successful applicants will be notified by Awards Section, and ARSF will confirm scheduling.

Directed Programmes: The Je-S/ARSF application form will be subject to the same procedure as for Research /Consortium Grants, except that the application will be subject to scientific and strategic scrutiny by the DP Steering Committee.

2012-13 Application Process Timeline

Stage of the application process Date in 2012-13
Call for applications for direct access support 10 July 2012
Contact the ARSF for the application form and a preliminary verbal assessment of the project Dependent on PI
Opportunity for pre-submission (to check flight parameters, the science case and methodology) Dependent on PI
Deadline for electronic submission of the application to ARSF HQ (followed by a signed copy) 12 October 2012
Review of the application by members of the ARSF steering committee (and external reviewers when required) Submitted for review within one week of the application's submission (20 December 2012)
Email depersonalised reviews to the PI ∼ One week prior to moderation and award of grades by the ARSF steering committee
Submission of a response to reviewers comments by the PI 26 November 2012
Moderation and award of grades (at steering committee meeting) 5-6 December 2012
PI is notified of the grades by letter 20 December 2012
Planning meetings for successful applicants February 2013