2024 NEOF Pilot Independent Competitions for Genomics, Metabolomics and Proteomics.

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

Important Dates

    • Consultation: Thu 16/05 to Thu 06/06/24
    • Submission deadline: Mon 01/07/24
    • Decision notification: 30/09/24
    • Samples submission: 02/12/24

NEOF is providing funding for small pilot/ development projects to access the latest ‘omics technologies specifically for independent researchers (including Research Fellows) who work within NERC’s remit. 

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.

The pilot competition is also an excellent opportunity for researchers familiar with genomics to extend their research methodology and trial proteomics and metabolomics as a means to explore the mechanistic or phenotypic basis of genomic results.

Examples could include:

Genomics: ‘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.

Metabolomics: use of mass spectrometry in broad metabolite discovery and identification of metabolomic changes between samples, targeted metabolite identification, or the use of vibrational spectroscopy methods for spatial distribution of metabolites. See Metabolomics FAQs.

Proteomics: use of high-throughput global protein identification from environmental samples, label free quantification for comparison of protein expression in samples collected exposed to different environments, and post translational modification identification of specific proteins or at a global levels. See Proteomics FAQs

See Case studies for all ‘omics.

Applicants should note the following:

    • Projects must be within the NERC remit and PIs must be eligible to receive a NERC grant. See the NERC Eligibility Criteria.
    • Recipients of NEOF pilot funding in 2023-24 will not be considered. 
    • Only one project will be considered per applicant across all 3 funding calls (genomics, proteomics and metabolomics),  although proposals that include more than one technology are eligible.
    • Samples suitable for analysis (i.e. meeting minimum quality and quantity requirements) must be delivered to NEOF by Monday 2nd December 2024; failure to deliver suitable samples to the NEOF by the submission deadline will result in funding being withdrawn.
    • 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.

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 can, by agreement, provide some bioinformatic and statistical support as part of the funded project.

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

  • Scientific excellence, including the novelty, timeliness and/or impact of the proposed work
  • The likely importance of the pilot data to a full grant or fellowship proposal

Each successful project will include access to staff, equipment and consumables costs, to a total value of up to £15,000 plus appropriate bioinformatics support. This funding call covers the costs of work carried out at NEOF only. The costs of consumables or reagents associated with sample preparation outside NEOF prior to submission cannot be included in the budget.

Potential applicants

Potential applicants must send NEOF an Enquiry to discuss their specific requirements between Thursday 16 May and Thursday 6 June 2024.


Applications should be made via the Access form. The closing date for this call is 5.00 p.m. on Monday 1 July 2024.

Only applications where initial contact has taken place before Thursday 6 June and a formal quotation has been obtained before the closing date will be considered.


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