2022 NEOF Pilot Metabolomics Competition

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

Important Dates

    • Consultation: 20/06 to 11/07/22
    • Submission deadline: 01/08/22
    • Decision notification: 30/10/22
    • Samples submission: 15/12/22

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 metabolomics technologies, what may also be referred to as chemical ecology. Applicants should consult the web pages of the Centre for Metabolomic Research (which hosts the metabolomics capability of NEOF) for a fuller description of the capabilities and technologies available.  We also direct you to our case studies which highlight the NERC-related work that we are undertaking within NEOF. 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, 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. 

Applicants should note the following:

  • Samples suitable for analysis (i.e. meeting minimum quality and quantity requirements) must be delivered to NEOF by Thursday 15th December 2022; failure to deliver suitable samples to the NEOF by the submission deadline will result in funding being withdrawn.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.
  • Applicants may either prepare samples in their own laboratory or perform preparation at the CMR. If this is required, please flag this during project discussions.
  • Applicants must discuss their projects with CMR to ensure that what is suggested is reasonable and that the design of experiment addresses the research question adequately so that the most appropriate samples can be generated with indications as to downstream data analysis needs.
  • The PI must be eligible to receive a NERC grant. For more information, consult http://www.nerc.ac.uk/funding/application/eligibility/.

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. 

Following generation of the metabolomics data (involving data capture and processing), applicants will work with the CMR to generate the most appropriate bioinformatics pipeline.  In addition, all proposals should include a clear plan for the storage of data and for the biochemical interpretation of the resulting data.

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 £15,000.

Potential applicants

Potential applicants must send NEOF an Enquiry to discuss their specific requirements between Monday 20 June and Monday 11 July 2022.


Applications should be made via the Access form. The closing date for this call is 5.00 p.m. on Monday 1 August 2022.

Only applications where initial contact has taken place before Monday 11 July and a formal quotation has been obtained before the closing date will be considered.


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