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Equipment Sharing


Remember to get in touch if you’re writing an equipment grant proposal. Funders increasingly expect to see that processes are in place to maximise the use of funded equipment and the database provides the necessary infrastructure to accomplish this. Contact us for details of the processes in place and information on existing equipment to include in your proposal: 

Large, cross-University research proposals can be of high strategic value but are also often cumbersome to organise and develop, due to their complex administrative load. The Research Strategy Office is happy to offer support to ease the preparation of such proposals: 


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Follow @cam_equip on Twitter for news and funding opportunities.

Read "A funding adviser’s guide to writing a great grant application".


General Advice - 

In UKRI (formally RCUK) applications, applicants have to demonstrate:

  1. “How access to the requested equipment will be managed to maximise its usage and where appropriate shared, and who will be responsible. How the equipment will be supported, maintained and updated during and beyond the duration of this funding. A clear view as to the medium term sustainability of the equipment should be provided.”
  2. “How the requested equipment will be managed to engage users and beneficiaries and increase the likelihood of impacts.”

The initiative as a whole:

  • Helps researchers find equipment and facilities available for sharing
  • Encourages internal, national, and international collaboration
  • Supports the efficient use of equipment and facilities through sharing
  • Increases exposure of facilities used to recover equipment costs
  • Helps toward waste reduction, reduced consumption, recycling, and carbon off-setting

Individual responses should draw attention to the University’s, Department’s and PI’s, commitment to sharing by their engagement with the Equipment Sharing Project and provide the Project Site’s URL:

Reference can be made to the number of items currently shared by the University as a whole (4500 individual items of Equipment and over 130 Facilities), the Department, and the Primary Investigator.

As the Equipment Database requires Raven Authentication, the University’s involvement and commitment to the National Equipment Sharing Portal should also be emphasised. This is the public interface of Equipment Sharing with 70% of Cambridge items directly exported to the National Portal:

A publicly accessible webpage that directs users toward both the sites above, and provides an external overview of the project can also be referenced in the interests of open access. The twitter account that details equipment funding opportunities, the availability of Small Research Facilities and individual items of equipment can also be found on this site:  

Furthermore, it is worth highlighting that the University of Cambridge is located at the top of the National Sharing Portal’s list of contributors with the highest quality and quantity of records shared between the 58 Universities currently involved, and by some margin.

University Contribution towards the cost of Research Council funded equipment (£10,000 – £138,000)

If a Research Council is prepared to support the asset purchase, then it is likely to require a contribution from the University (of about ~50%). The ‘Equipment Funding Processes’ document outlines the processes departments should go through when applying for funds from the School/University to meet the required contribution. Individual Schools will differ in the precise details of how departments should apply for a contribution to equipment costing between £10k and the OJEU threshold and department administrators should receive details of School-specific procedures from their Finance Managers. 

University Contribution towards the cost of Research Council funded equipment (£138,000 and above)

For individual items costing more than the OJEU threshold, if a contribution towards the cost of the equipment is required from the University Capital Fund then the Principal Investigator will need to complete the ‘Capital Fund Guarantee Template’ and send it to the School office 3 weeks before the grant application deadline.

The latest, up-to-date information on all these aspects is readily available to funding applicants, but in terms of overall costing, the following link may also be helpful: