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Application Guidance


  1. What does ‘seedcorn’ mean?

By ‘seedcorn’ we mean that use of the facility is free for an initial short-term investigation and that subsequent use will be on a paid-for basis, or part of a formal collaboration with Warwick.

  1. Are there any restrictions on who can apply?

This provision is only for PhD students, and not postdoctoral fellows or for industrial scientists. We welcome submissions for any PhD students that are in the Midlands region, however national applicants must demonstrate that their studies are Analytical Science based.

Access is only for those who have not used a specific AS-I facility before, and those who are not already Warwick collaborators for that specific AS-I facility (e.g., no joint publications for the PI and the team for that particular AS-I). Users of one specific AS-I area are encouraged to use the seed-corn access scheme to interact for the first time with a different AS-I area.

  1. Which facilities can I use?

To begin with, access will only be for those facilities listed on the application form (all RTPs plus WCUS and XPS), however in the future all 12 AS-I areas listed on our facilities page will be available. Please continue to check our pages for updates regarding this, or contact us. If there are other techniques at Warwick that you are interested in using, please contact us and we can help facilitate access for you but these will not be covered under the seedcorn provision.

  1. How long can I use a facility for?

Access will be restricted to a maximum of two days of instrument time, with the expectation that most uses will be for one day or less. We will expect to see a justification of the time needed in the Scientific Case document and this should be borne out of the initial discussion with the relevant facility manager.

Some illustrative examples of the kind of use include - 3 hours of scanning electron microscope (SEM); 2 sample runs for mass spectrometry; or an overnight scan by x-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS)

  1. What do you expect in the Scientific Case document?

The scientific case should outline the aim of the investigation, the experiments that you wish to carry out, why they are needed, an estimate of the time required, and what the impact of the investigation will be. Please include figures/schemes where appropriate, and the specific details of the experiments that you would like carrying out - this should come from your initial discussions with the facility manager.

We place no restrictions on the content of the case proposal, other than it be limited to one page, follow UKRI style guidelines, and is uploaded as a .PDF.

  1. What happens after I submit my application?

Applications will be pre-screened to determine the most appropriate reviewers, after which they will be assessed by two members of the WASC team, with approval of both being required. One reviewer will be an expert, usually the director of the facility in question and the second a non-expert RTProf.

If their view is that the case for access has not been made, the applicant will be provided with feedback and encouraged to make a resubmission. If the applicant has concerns with the evaluation of their application, they can appeal to the chair of the advisory board.

  1. How long will it take to review my application?

Acknowledgement of proposals will be given within one working week of submission, with a decision made on the application itself within three weeks. Upon successful application, experiments will be carried out within one month of award, wherever possible.

8. Is there a deadline to complete my application?

There are no application deadlines, there is just a set number of days available for each year until the end of the grant (60 days in 2021, 120 days in year 2022, and 150 days in years 2023 and 2024). Notice will be given here once the number of days has expired in a given year.

Intellectual Property

Whilst local institutional legal rules should be followed, the expectation for work carried out under the seedcorn provision would provide entitlement for the results / intellectual property rights for the research to belong to the applicant, but the methods for generating the results would belong to the facility, unless specifically agreed otherwise.

Fair Use and Acknowledgements

Users of the seedcorn provision must abide by the Fair Attribution Policy as a condition of receiving the access. In particular, the EPSRC funding must be acknowledged along with the grant code (EP/V007688/1) for any published data that is a result of the seedcorn use (papers, posters, presentations).

Please inform WASC if any of the obtained data is presented/published in a paper, poster, presentation, or PhD thesis as this is an important measure of the grant impact.

There is no requirement that Warwick staff are listed as authors on publications, but this is at the discretion of the PI depending, e.g., on the scientific input and intellectual contribution into the interpretation of the data.

Application Workflow:

seedcorn application workflow