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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Research Technology Platform?

An RTP is a facility or capability that provides a high-quality specialist research service.

RTPs are characterised by:

  • High-end, state-of-the-art equipment; a continued, sustained programme of investment means our RTPs contain the most up-to-date instruments and equipment
  • Internationally-respected practitioners; each RTP is led by an Academic Director who is an expert in their field and a valuable source of advice and guidance.
  • Highly-trained technical support; each RTP has a dedicated Manager and technical team.
  • Co-ordinated instrument maintenance/service; arranged through formal agreements.
  • Standardised operating procedures; protocols available for all routine applications.
  • Accessibility; open access to all academic and industrial researchers.
  • Flexibility of engagement; run your own samples, or work with our technical team.
  • Timely delivery of a quality product; workflow management provides reassurances of delivery.
  • Advertising across the organisation and externally; RTP branidng adds value and confidence.
  • Business planning; a long term and sustainable programme of investment.

Why has Warwick established an RTP programme?

The primary role of the RTP programme is to provide world-class technology platforms to enable outstanding research. The desire to develop an integrated suite of platforms has arisen from the belief that larger and more complex problems can only be solved by taking a multidisciplinary approach. To achieve this, and to place Warwick at the international forefront of such research, requires not only investment in cutting-edge technologies with the best operators, but also needs the support of coordinated management and overarching governance structures with a high level of integration. The RTP programme enables Warwick to take a more coordinated approach to the oversight of its key research technologies.

Conversations with major funding bodies confirms that the University’s adoption of an RTP programme to facilitate more strategic and sustainable investment in significant capital infrastructure is in keeping with the government’s and funding bodies’ desire to engage with universities and regional consortia with respect to long-term capital investment.

Warwick is committed to providing the best technology available to researchers at Warwick, as well as external academic and industrial partners. Continuous investment in infrastructure and skilled staff by the University will ensure that the capacity and capability for researchers to access the best technology is always available. The RTP programme enables the University to plan and invest in its research infrastructure and support staff as strategically, transparently and effectively as possible.

What RTPs currently exist ?

We currently support eight RTPs:

You can find out more about these RTPs on their dedicated webpages.

Who do I contact if I need access to an RTP ?

Each RTP has an Academic Director and a Technical Manager.

Advanced Bioimaging RTP
Director: Dr Corinne Smith; Corinne dot Smith at warwick dot ac dot uk 02476 522461
Manager: Dr Saskia Bakker; S dot Bakker at warwick dot ac dot uk 02476 522461

Biomedical Services Unit RTP
Director: Dr Bruno Frenguelli; B dot G dot Frenguelli at warwick dot ac dot uk 02476 150591
Manager: Samantha Dixon; Samantha dot Dixon at warwick dot ac dot uk 02476 574368

Electron Microscopy RTP
Director: Dr Richard Beanland; R dot Beanland at warwick dot ac dot uk 02476 573884
Manager: Steve York; S dot J dot York at warwick dot ac dot uk 02476 523391

Polymer Characterisation RTP
Director: Prof David Haddleton; D dot M dot Haddleton at warwick dot ac dot uk 02476 523256
Manager: Dr Daniel Lester; D dot Lester at warwick dot ac dot uk 02476 574147

Scientific Computing RTP
Director: Dr David Quigley; D dot Quigley at warwick dot ac dot uk 02476 574580
Manager: Dr Matthew Ismail; Matthew dot Ismail at warwick dot ac dot uk 02476 574111

Spectroscopy RTP
Director: Professor Mark Newton; M dot E dot Newton at warwick dot ac dot uk 024 7615 0799 or 024 7615 1705
Manager: Dr Ben Breeze; B dot Breeze dot 1 at warwick dot ac dot uk

WPH Proteomics RTP
Director: Dr Alex Jones; Alex dot Jones at warwick dot ac dot uk 02476 528144
Manager: Dr Juan Hernandez Fernaud; J dot Hernandez-Fernaud at warwick dot ac dot uk 02476 150439

X-ray Diffraction RTP
Director: Professor Richard Walton; R dot I dot Walton at warwick dot ac dot uk 02476 523241
Manager: Dr David Walker; d dot walker dot 2 at warwick dot ac dot uk 02476 151299

How much does it cost to access an RTP ?

Running and maintaining any research facility is costly and a proportion of these costs need to be recovered. The cost of accessing each RTP has been calculated to include consumables, staff costs, equipment costs and other charges usually included in the RCUK Estates rate. The access charge is quoted per ‘unit of activity’, where a unit might be a single run of a piece of equipment or the use of equipment for an hour/day. Charges to researchers reflect the running costs of the RTP, and are competitive with other facilities in the UK.

How do I pay for accessing an RTP ?

RTPs report usage and charges on a monthly basis to Departments. The Department transfer the charges directly to PIs with projects that have budgets identified for accessing an RTP. Any charges that can’t be allocated to a specific research budget are covered by the PI/Department from other funds. Researchers without any research funds should discuss funding with their head of Department before accessing the RTP.

Can I access an RTP if I have no research funds ?

Yes, but you need to discuss this with your Head of Department.

How do I include RTP charges on grant applications ?

Two of the RTPs (Biomedical Services Unit RTP and WPH Proteomics RTP) operate through TRAC (Transparent Approach to Costing) methodology and RCUK funders will pay the unit rate for accessing these platforms. Grant applications to an RCUK funder for accessing a TRAC facility calculates the total cost of the research as “number of units” x “rate per unit” and applicants include justification for the number of units of access being requested for each project. Researchers need to discuss their research plans with the Platform Manager and/or Platform Director to agree the correct number of units required to complete the research project. If the grant application is successful, RCUK funders will cover 80% of the costs requested. The applicant’s department will be required to cover the remaining 20% of the cost of accessing the RTP.

The other RTPs are non-TRAC facilities. The charges for these platforms have been calculated using the same elements as the TRAC RTPs (consumables, staff, equipment and estates costs). The unit rate therefore represents the full economic cost of the facility to the University. However, RCUK funders do not allow researchers to include a unit rate for accessing a non-TRAC facility in their applications. Instead, applicants can claim only for the costs associated directly with the research being proposed. In most cases these costs will cover consumables (items under £10k that are used wholly for the project) and staff costs (a proportion of the Technician, Platform Manager and Platform Director).

How do I access the RTPs from outside Warwick?

Although the RTP programme was established primarily to improve the facilities available to Warwick researchers, the RTPs are expected to engage with external researchers where appropriate and where capacity allows. Other academics, research institutes and industrial partners are welcome to access the RTPs. The route of access for most external researchers is through Warwick Scientific Services as this provides a robust online mechanism for fielding enquiries, logging requests, producing contracts and issuing invoices.

Will Warwick establish more RTPs ?

We established 5 RTPs in 2014, and will develop further RTPs in 2015 and beyond. Groups of researchers interested in establishing an RTP are invited to prepare a business case for consideration by the RTP Strategy Project Board prior to submission to the University’s Academic Resourcing Committee for potential establishment as an RTP. If you have an idea for an RTP, then come and talk to us – we can help you put together a case for consideration.

How should I acknowledge input from an RTP in a paper/poster/talk?

If you've used one of our RTPs then please acknowledge the programme in any papers, posters or talks you give. To make it easier, we've prepared a standard acknowledgement:

"The authors would like to acknowledge the University of Warwick Research Technology Platform (insert name of RTP) for assistance in the research described in this paper/poster."