Access to equipment, facilities and expertise

Academic research

The Henry Royce Institute encourages wide access to equipment and facilities, across partners.

The investment in specialist tools unlocks key capabilities for all academic researchers, with time and often specialist support for external access.

Transparent TRAC costing for the facilities.

The Royce offers a number of access models: to help postgraduate students perform critical work, to facilitate key feasibility studies, and to convene community skills and training sessions.

Access for university researchers

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Researcher and student access to world-class materials science facilities and expertise


Support is available for undergraduate and postgraduate (doctoral, research masters) students studying in the UK, and for researchers to access equipment and facilities at Royce partners. A single package of work must be proposed for any individual research project. Mulitple applications may be made, for separate research projects.

To meet eligibility requirements, this support only applies to equipment and facilities which are not situated at the students' host university.

Applications can now be made direct to a Royce facility, either through the facility manager or via the contact address show on this page.  This is the best route if you already know which facility or equipment you would like to use.  

If you are unsure how to proceed, you may contact the Royce Hub to make an enquiry. Otherwise, the Royce Hub will use the information that you submit to connect you with the Royce facility manager at the appropriate partner organization.

Applicants should download and complete Part A of the application form, and submit by email to the relevant Royce Partner or Associate. The Royce facility manager will then agree with you on the costed program and schedule of work, which should then be endorsed by your supervisor and returned to the Royce facility manager.

A typical schedule of work might include the first day working with equipment specialists to understand the capabilities of the equipment and properties and preparation of first samples. This could be followed up with the preparation of final samples and one or two further days of investigation, to help address the research question.

TEM analysis PhD student access


Specialist training for the user community

Royce supports training programs to help communities of specialists, to share and develop best practices. These events are often organized in conjunction with equipment suppliers. Places may have to be rationed to ensure fair access across institutions. 

As an example; in February 2020, specialist Dr Neil Young at the David Cockayne Centre for Electron Microscopy hosted a workshop on TEM sample preparation, in conjunction with Zeiss and supported by Royce.

Plasma focussed ion beam instrument


Feasibility studies

Royce offers support for proof-of-concept research investigations using partner equipment and facilities. This helps to strengthen proposals for more extensive work in new areas. The funding can assist with the development of new techniques and approaches which enhance the capabilities of the Royce-supported facilities.

Collaborative proposals

The Royce can support individual research projects as well as contribute to larger program grants, manufacturing hubs, European projects, and national challenge funding.

In addition to student access and proof-of-concept funding, facilities can be accessed using a variety of funding sources, including research council grants. The costings are prepared consistently and transparently and include technician support. Experts can help with the estimation of the time for which tools will be needed. Normally, training and time-only access can also be offered where there is expected to be more regular or extensive use of equipment.

Rapid access scheme for early-career researchers working on Faraday Institution projects

In a collaboration between the Faraday Institution and the Henry Royce Institute, there is a trial call for applications for early-career researchers to access key techniques to investigate electrode and electrolyte materials. 

For a limited time, the scheme is open to researchers on Faraday Institution projects who would not otherwise have access to key techniques, to apply for samples to be measured at key Royce facilities. 

The rapid access scheme is intended to offer Faraday Institution (FI) researchers a streamlined route to access key characterisation techniques for quick investigation of electrode and electrolyte materials. Applications to this scheme are primarily expected from early career researchers, who should have sought support from a PI/Co-I/WPL of the associated FI project.

To access the online application form, please follow this link.


business engagement

The Royce is open to businesses of all sizes, to help tackle materials challenges, exploit new opportunities, and to accelerate research and innovation. From equipment access for commercially sensitive research to long-term partnerships, the Royce can work flexibly and support a range of approaches and needs.

For inquiries about access to facilities available at other Royce partners, please contact the relevant member of the Royce research and business engagement team.

Industry access

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The Royce offers support for small- and medium-sized businesses, to enable them to access equipment and facilities to help with proof of concept, feasibility, and pilot projects.

Support is made available under the State Aid rules for businesses.

Royce offers additional periodic calls for fully-funded activities, including the Industrial Collboration Programme, and the Analysis for Innovators competition.

Cell assembly


We run workshops to help potential users to better understand how our capabilities could address challenges and accelerate innovations.

An industry workshop on electron microscopy techniques attracted participants from local businesses and UK companies, small and large enterprises. The event brought together experts who introduced the latest sample preparation and characterisation equipment. Flash presentations were followed by a tour of the facilities and confidential 1:1 discussions, to explore in more detail the specific needs of attendees.

Electron microscopy techniques industry workshop


Royce equipment and facilities are costed transparently. Where appropriate, this includes technician support. For more regular use of key tools, a training program can be offered which will allow booked access to be charged based on equipment time.



Local collaborations are encouraged and these can be supported through Innovate UK and other grants. Royce offers a range of opportunities for industry to engage in collaborative projects which address key challenges and opportunities. These include sprint calls for Industrial Collaboration Projects (ICP), which are based on access to Royce expertise and facilities.



Royce facilities are available across partners, with transparent costing. Additional Royce partners can be added to the initial discussion without the need to start afresh, protected by template agreements.

A discussion with any of the Royce contacts should help to introduce you to appropriate capabilities and expertise. If you have a need for specific tools or capabilities, you can browse and search through the main equipment via the Royce website - link in the text box at the bottom of this page.



Finding equipment and facilities across all Royce partners

These pages provide a brief introduction to the Royce equipment and facilities which are available in the Department of Materials at the University of Oxford.

There is an extensive equipment catalogue, which covers the main Royce capabilities across all partners. You can browse the list or search by partner, application and type of equipment, by following this link.