Isotope Community Support Facility

Isotope Community Support Facility




The Isotope Community Support Facility (ICSF) is funded by competitive bid through the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Services and Facilities. Our Facility offers access to all UK University and Institute departments to SUERC's international-class suite of stable isotope systems, through NERC peer-reviewed application or approved pilot study. Professor Adrian Boyce manages the facility with the support of Mrs. Alison McDonald, the ICSF’s dedicated technician. One of the principal tasks of the ICSF is to train PhD students who undertake extensive programmes of stable isotope analyses resulting from approved projects. 

What does the Isotope Community Support Facility (ICSF) do?

The ICSF meets the need, in the Geoscience Community, for isotopic analyses and training in support of research mostly related to Earth System Science and Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Pollution.

Training of postgraduate students in the principles and practice of stable isotope geochemistry, together with support to largely grant-funded PIs lie at the core of ICSF support (currently ~80% student projects). ICSF gives PIs access to a suite of international-class isotope systems at SUERC for analyses of minerals, fluids and organic compounds. ICSF offers a unique environment (SRG2009 mark 5/5) with the highest level of service (SRG2009 mark 5/5), as reflected in our formal 2008/9 user survey (100% users think overall service is excellent; 92% consider student training excellent, 8% judging it good). In the last ten years, 100% of research students from ICSF have been employed, with ~60% in the exploration/environmental industries and the rest in government/survey and academia.

Our users also benefit from the complementary expertise of ICSF being embedded in SUERC.‌

Our Community focus has been on the full cycle of the Applied Minerals research, from genetic modelling informing exploration and exploitation, through to remediation. From approved projects addressing fundamental ore genesis, to dealing with remediation strategies for acid mine drainage, ICSF supports the NERC Strategy through its commitment to revealing and explaining the Earth's resources and supporting their sustainable use in an environmentally conscious manner.

During 2013-14 the ICSF carried out analytical work on 29 approved and 3 pilot projects from 15 UK Institutions. 24 PhD students underwent in-depth training in stable isotope principles, making extensive use of 8 isotope ratio mass spectrometers and 11 conventional, on-line and laser preparation systems at SUERC. In this way ICSF promotes the government’s priority for the long-term health of the science base.


Take a look at our current Publications List, and recent Annual Reports for a more in-depth look at our Facility.


How to apply