2022 NEOF Pilot Genomics Competition

The NERC Environmental Omics Facility provides access to omics capabilities (Genomics, Metabolomics and Proteomics) to the UK environmental research community.

Important Dates

    • Consultation: 19/05 to 09/06/22
    • Submission deadline: 30/06/22
    • Decision notification: 30/09/22
    • Samples submission: 14/12/22

To help scientists working within the NERC remit to take advantage of these opportunities, NERC is providing funding for small pilot/development projects that wish to access the latest genome sequencing technologies (Pacific BioSciences, Illumina and 10X Genomics). Applicants should consult the web pages of the Centre for Genomic Research (which hosts the genomic capability of NEOF) for a fuller description of the capabilities and technologies available. Enquiries and project discussion should be made through NEOF enquiries page.

Pilot/development projects should be directed at generating preliminary data or proof of concept in advance of full research grant proposals, particularly when it is necessary to demonstrate the applicability or the technical feasibility of new techniques or approaches to NERC-relevant research problems. Examples could include proposals wishing to demonstrate, within a NERC context, ‘digital’ transcriptomics using next-generation sequencing, deep metagenomics of environmental samples, de-novo genome assembly from long-read data, or the use of high-throughput sequencing as a genetic tool in natural populations. Proposals can also include a request for support with bioinformatic analysis or software development.

Applicants should note the following:

  • Samples suitable for analysis (i.e. meeting minimum quality and quantity requirements) must be delivered to NEOF by Wednesday 14th December 2022; failure to deliver suitable samples to the NEOF by the submission deadline will result in funding being withdrawn.
  • Only one project per applicant will be considered.
  • Recipients of NBAF/NEOF pilot funding since 2019 will not be considered. 
  • Applicants may either prepare samples in their own laboratory or use the NEOF Visitor Facility, which houses expertise and equipment for nucleic acid extraction and QC. If this is required, please flag this during project discussions.
  • The PI must be eligible to receive a NERC grant. For more information, consult http://www.nerc.ac.uk/funding/application/eligibility/.
  • This call is limited to the area of genomics. Opportunities in metabolomics and proteomics will be advertised separately.

In writing their proposal, applicants should make clear the relevance of the work to NERC’s strategic remit, and the way in which the project will lead to further work and/or proposals for full funding. Proposals for projects associated with PhD students (who do not themselves have to be NERC-funded) will be considered. In such cases, the application should show how the proposed work integrates within the timeframe of the doctoral project.

All proposals should include a clear plan for the bioinformatic analysis of the resulting data, noting that NEOF will, by agreement, provide some bioinformatic and statistical support as a supplement to the funded project.

Applications will be graded by the NEOF Steering Committee, following the usual NERC procedures, but with special reference to:

  • scientific excellence
  • the likely importance of the pilot data to a full grant proposal
  • the technical novelty of the proposed methodology

Each successful project will include access to staff, equipment and consumables costs, to a total value of up to £12,000.

Potential applicants

Potential applicants must send NEOF an Enquiry to discuss their specific requirements between Thursday 19 May and Thursday 9 June 2022.


Applications should be made via the Access form. The closing date for this call is 5.00 p.m. on Thursday 30 June 2022.

Only applications where initial contact has taken place before Thursday 9 June and a formal quotation has been obtained before the closing date will be considered.


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