NMR operations: 900 MHz NMR system
G1. Allocation of access: A total of 70% of the available time on the 900 MHz NMR system is allocated equally to external UK academic users, with priority being given to the JIF-bid consortium member institutions (that is, Birkbeck, Cambridge, East Anglia, Edinburgh, Imperial College London, Leeds, Leicester, Manchester, NIMR Mill Hill, University College London, and Sheffield).
Members of these external institutions are expected to manage allocation of their share of prioritized 900 time (approximately 3 weeks per year per institution).
Other Wellcome Trust and HEFCE-funded research groups are given the next highest level of priority for available time on this system on a competitive basis, subject to approval of their “Application for Access” form. All external groups can also apply for access to the other NMR systems in the facility.
Local users at the University of Birmingham are allocated 20% of the time on the 900 MHz system. The remaining 10% is for other users that do not fall within the previous categories.
Requests for a particular time are made on an online scheduling calendar, for which access is given following acceptance of the user policies.
Requests for access will be accommodated in the order in which such requests are received with only one pending request per institution permitted.
A request for priority of allocation of an instrument whose allocation was lost due to down time in the last cycle will be honoured first.
Online booking of spectrometer time and meeting rooms is available.
G2. Review of access. The NMR Staff and Management Committees will review the applications and schedules to ensure that fairness and equal opportunity for peer review and internationally competitive research are in place. The committees will resolve disputes as to scheduled availability, downtime, and other operational issues. Reserved but unused NMR spectrometer time will be charged as this prevents access by other Users.
G3. Trading slots. The exchange of slots during a quarterly schedule is entirely appropriate and only requires that the two parties agree, and that they inform the HWB•NMR staff. Exchange, or other trading of slots outside a current cycle, however, raises issues about the accounting of the slot, and about availability. Out-of-schedule swaps are then solely between the two parties, and the party designated in the current schedule has the full responsibility for use, for the accounted debit, and for any damage resulting from accidents or incidents. The exchanging parties are free to contract between themselves as to these responsibilities.
G.4. Downtime issues. The offer of the opportunity to use the instrument obviously requires that the instrument be operational. For addressing the issue of whether the instrument is operational, the instrument is required to pass the Standard Acceptance Tests for three channels of operation, and one probe must be operational for at least three channel performance. Demonstrating failure to perform these tests is the responsibility of the designated Users and credit for downtime will accrue only on receipt of this information. Staff will attempt to remedy downtime conditions as far as possible. The following conditions clearly result in downtime, and require no testing.
- Magnet failure
- Failure of computer controller to boot
The following conditions, on their own, will not be considered to result in downtime:
- Failure of one probe when another is functional
- Lack of disk space on a computer when data transfer would permit adequate space
- Any sample related problem.
Redress of downtime. The member institution’s request for earliest priority of use for the previously down instrument in the next schedule will be met, to the greatest practical degree. In the case of multiple member institutions with downtime requests, they will be prioritized first by length of total downtime, and then by lottery.
G5. Appeals and disputes. Users should discuss any difficulties with the staff as soon as practical. In cases where the allocations of time, of staff resources, or other questions arise, when discussion with the staff has taken place, and when users are still in dispute, users may address the Scientific Director who may invite a written appeal. The Scientific Director will, within the next 10 working days, make a recommendation to the Executive Director for any redress or change of procedures. In the case of accidents or incidents, a separate procedure will involve the Health and Safety Committee.
G6. Accounting. Accounts of actual use time will be maintained by recording login sessions.
G7. User and staff responsibilities.
a) On Tuesdays, the 500-800 MHz spectrometers will not be available between 9am and 2pm to allow for cryogen filling and routine service. The 900 MHz spectrometer will not be available on Wednesdays between 9am and 2pm to allow for cryogen filling and routine service. This period may be changed in the future. In addition, users must permit staff to operate the cycling of the cryoprobes for their continuing operation.
b) Users will generally operate with standard operating protocols and methods, and are not permitted to modify the NMR hardware or implement new pulse sequences without explicit permission from the NMR staff. , Users are required to consult with NMR staff for
- any unusual use of high power amplifiers including extreme power levels or pulse lengths
- any adjustment of tuning or matching rods of standard probes beyond ½ turn,
- any other expected condition which may imperil the instrumentation including extreme temperatures
Users must leave the operating programs in the standard condition, and remove any modified programs that would otherwise conflict with the standard conditions.
c) Users will submit ’application for access’ and ‘user agreement’ forms as required to gain access to the NMR systems.
d) Users will assist the staff in the cleaning rota and with magnet filling, and will endeavour to keep the facility including kitchen, sample preparation lab, and NMR chambers cleaner than when they entered.
e) Staff will prioritize the removal of previous users’ data so as to permit maximum use to the current users
f) Staff priorities will be human safety, instrument safety, attempted resolution of downtime issues, attempted resolution of other performance issues, and training and other operations.
g) Users should finish their experiments by 12noon on the 800 and 900 MHz spectrometers and autosampler-equipped 500 and 600 MHz systems unless they are also using the instrument overnight. Users of the other NMR systems should finish their experiments by 3pm to accommodate users who may be taking the overnight slot. This arrangement may be varied by mutual agreement of the relevant parties.
h) Users who prevent other users from using overnight slots by over-running experiments beyond 12 or 3pm (see point g) will be charged for overnight and overweekend usage.
i) Users who book time online but don’t use it will be charged for the time since they are preventing use by other users.
NMR operations: 500, 600 and 800 MHz NMR systems
Same as above except that:
- the Member Institutions refers to the University of Birmingham and other Universities, Hospitals or Institutes in the neighbouring region
- the Users are then typically Students and Employees of these West Midlands Institutions, although other groups inside or outside the UK are welcome to apply for access to any available time.
- Research groups who have helped to fund a particular NMR system, autosampler or probe are given priority access to that system.
- the User Representation Committee is then the Local User Representation Committee
- he user fees are unique to each s system configuration including magnet, probe and autosampler.
- Subsidies may be made available to new or underfunded users upon request to collect preliminary NMR data for grant applications, for example.
Access to the spectrometers for internationally competitive scientific research is intended to be fair and equitable. Access fees will be charged on the basis of login time to a given NMR system, or on a per sample basis. Users will being billed monthly. Rates will be based on full economic costs and market rates, with subsidized access for academic users at the discretion of the subsidizing body (i.e. Wellcome Trust, HEFCE, or the School of Cancer Sciences).