The Stable Isotope Facility user survey for 2016

Thanks to all of those who took part in the 2016 Stable Isotope Facility user survey. The feedback we have received has been invaluable, both for the continued operation of the facility and to help establish where additional services maybe required by the wider stable isotope research community. A short summary of the results is presented below.

The respondents

  • 50 researchers used the Stable Isotope facility in 2016.
  • 35 users completed the 2016 user survey.
  • The main science areas of those surveyed are: Climate Systems, Environmental Change and Earth System Science.
  • Of the 35 respondents the majority (83%) have used the Stable Isotope Facility for more than 1 year

The facility

  • 96% of the respondents consider the Stable Isotope Facility to be "world class" or "state of the art".
  • Of the respondents, 80% anticipate using the SIF at least once per year; with 87% being highly dependent on the Stable Isotope Facility for their research.
  • On a NERC type scale of 1–6, with 6 being maximum, 97% graded the Stable Isotope Facility to be either 5 (22%) or 6 (75%). 5 being excellent and internationally competitive and 6 being outstanding, world leading high impact research.


  • 100% considered the Stable Isotope Facility staff response time to be either prompt or reasonable.
  • 100% of the respondents consider the quality of service from Stable Isotope Facility staff to be excellent (97%) or good (3%).
  • 76% consider collaboration with Stable Isotope Facility staff to be essential or important to their research.


  • 100% consider training of students and early carrier researchers in isotope geochemistry to be excellent or good.
  • 90% consider the training to be essential/important to improve their research needs.

Free form comments on the Stable Isotope Facility

  1. SIF has a very diverse set of expertise allowing it to collaborate on a wide range of projects. Maintaining this is very important to the community.
  2. SIF is an excellent facility with dedicated staff and I hope it continues to get the support from NERC in the future it deserves, as it supports the wider scientific community.
  3. Always a pleasure to work with Mel and the SIF team. The service they provide to the community is invaluable, particularly with the current challenging funding landscape and to early career scientists such as myself. Keep up the good work!...
  4. SIF is a vital asset for the UK geoscience community, allowing scientists to produce isotope data even if their university does not have mass specs. Moreover, the ability to analyse impure lake carbonates using offline extraction, and the fluorination line for diatom isotopes, are unique capabilities and without them the UK geoscience community would reply on overseas labs. The support for undergraduate, PhD and early career researchers means SIF does not just produce great data, it produces great scientists...
  5. I've found staff very welcoming, knowledgeable and happy to collaborate – it's great to be able to discuss research questions and the best way to answer them with experts in their fields. It's much more than a commercial service.
  6. The SIF staff have always been most supportive, happy to discuss requirements, make valuable suggestions to improve project rationale, sample selection and preparation as well as interpretation. Their expert knowledge is invaluable for both established academics, PhD students and researchers.


Contact Béatrice Bullock-von Moos for further information about the Stable isotope facility.