How we work with you

Most projects with us will progress through the following stages.


To apply please use the project request form.


Actual access charges will vary between projects depending on its complexity and requirements for instruments and resources.

For some techniques (such as tomography, serial block face scanning electron microscopy, cryo electron microscopy and freeze fracture) instruments must be booked for periods able to allow for instrument alignment and optimisation (for example, cooling and stabilising equipment).

Access charges will also reflect the workflow required to allow a sample to be suitably prepared and imaged and may involve using various instruments.

Types of access

Different types of access to the centre are available to ensure that the needs of each collaborator are met. We are a collaborative facility and support researchers from experimental design to data interpretation and preparation for publication.

Standard access

This provides regular access to individual or group projects with a clear aim. This is likely to be the main access route for physical science experiments.

Techniques, scope of work and targets will be agreed in advance with with CUI Operations Manager. Additional discussions will be arranged with CUI Academic Director as necessary.

Programme access

Available to large groups or groups who want to make extensive use of the centre and to become familiar with instrumentation. Scheduling of instrument access will allow greater flexibility in the choice of projects and samples.

Access is through discussions with the CUI Operations Manager and Academic Director and would normally establish an annual budget for access, supported by major grant funding.


Rapid access

This provides quick access to our facilities and is reserved for urgent projects such as responding to a direct request from a reviewer for data.

Users should contact prior to submitting a project request.

This process will involve the review of applications by peer review panel and, if successful, work will take place as soon as possible.

Pilot access

We wish to encourage new and innovative science which exploits all of the facilities we have in the centre.

Applications should be made via the project application form, discussions between the researcher and our staff will then establish the scope of the work.

It is expected that pilot studies will contribute to grant applications and that future funded work will be undertaken in the centre.