The Stable Isotope Facility user survey for 2017

Thanks to all of those who took part in the 2017 Stable Isotope Facility (SIF) 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 SIF in 2017.
  • 28 users completed the 2017 user survey.
  • Of the 28 respondents the majority (80 per cent) have used the SIF for more than one year.
  • The main science areas of those surveyed are:
    • environmental change (70 per cent)
    • climate systems (35 per cent)
    • Earth system science (30 per cent)

The facility

  • 100 per cent of the respondents consider the SIF to be "world class" or "state of the art".
  • Of the respondents, 90 percent anticipate using the SIF at least once per year, with 92 per cent being highly dependent on the SIF for their research.
  • On a NERC type scale of one to six, with six being maximum, 100 per cent graded the SIF to be either five (20 per cent) or six (80 per cent) (five being 'excellent and internationally competitive' and six being 'outstanding, world-leading, high-impact research').

Staff/service

  • 100 per cent considered SIF staff response time to be either prompt or reasonable.
  • 100 per cent of the respondents consider the quality of service from SIF staff to be excellent (92 per cent) or good (eight per cent).
  • 76 pre cent consider collaboration with SIF staff to be essential or important to their research.

Training

  • 95 per cent consider training of students and early carrier researchers in isotope geochemistry to be excellent or good.
  • 92 per cent consider the training to be essential/important to improve their research needs.

Free-form comments on the SIF

  • I value the SIF because it is a collaborative institution rather than simply a number-generating facility.
  • I heavily use the stable isotope facility, and find it runs really well and is exceptionally good at providing student support.
  • NIGL is a wonderful place — the training and research environment are near optimal.

Free-form comments on new analytical capacity that respondents would like the SIF to develop (the Facility's response in italics)

  • Capacity to undertake gas analysis: CO2 etc.
    We are currently investigating the possibility of increasing our capacity to do both gas analysis and analysis of dissolved gases including CO2 and CH4.
  • A dedicated sulphur mass spectrometer at NIGL.
  • Low-concentration sulphur analysis.
    We have a new Thermo Scientific ISO link system being installed in the lab early 2018, so low-concentration sulphur analysis will be possible, as will simultaneous carbon, nitrogen and sulphur analysis on a range of materials.
  • As a development from my use of traditional δ18O thermometry for palaeotemperature investigations, I have conducted some preliminary 'clumped isotope' analyses through a lab in the USA. While there exists an opportunity to continue this work thus, it would be more convenient if it could be undertaken at Keyworth.
    Currently additional investment (both staff and instrumentation) into clumped isotope analysis is unlikely at NIGL. There are other labs in the UK that can already do this analysis.

Contact

Contact Béatrice Bullock-von Moos for further information about the Stable Isotope Facility.