There will be a future steps to establish the scope and scale for any funded activity. At this point we require indicative
costs only over 5 years of operation. These should be split into capital requirements and yearly recurrent costs.
- The costs of supporting this if the existing capabilities or equipment did not exist.
- The costs of this if it were to use existing capabilities and equipment.
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If this capability did not already exist, then a capital investment in excess of £20M would be needed to replicate the facilities available at the UKNIBC
currently. The running costs would be the same once established. Installation would take at least two years of staff time (~£4M) to bring equipment to a
similar specification that exists presently assuming that the staff are already fully trained to operate the equipment to the required standard. The equipment
employed at the UKNIBC is not supplied off-the-shelf and is at best made to order with substantial design and construction input from the facility.
A facility meeting the current requirements of the community exists at the UKNIBC. The UKNIBC offers up to a total of 5,000 hours of beam time to EPSRC across all the accelerators and instruments in the centre, a further 6,000 productive hours are used for internal and commercial projects paid for separately.
Based on the previous 4 years of operation of the UKNIBC the breakdown of costs per annum is as follows:
Staff costs: £2,160,707
Maintenance and services (power etc): £1,258,958
Workshop support: £141,724
Total running costs: £4,535,221/annum
Small capital items (<£25K) such as replacement detectors, pumps and power supplies are included in the running costs here. Larger capital items to support future developments have been successfully bid for through strategic and core equipment proposals, and it is proposed that this route, along with other opportunities to bid for capital equipment via UKRI strategic and other equipment calls, will be used for all future upgrades to the facilities.
The income required to provide the current service is ~£4.5M/annum for the full 11,000 hours of delivery. This estimated figure is based upon the staff and consumable spent over the past 4 years of the UKNIBC. The cost, therefore, of delivery for the EPSRC component (5,000 hours) would be £410/hour or ~£2.7M/annum each year, in line with the current charge to EPSRC of £406/hour.
However, to deliver 5000 hours to EPSRC we must ensure the access route is fast. Currently the UKNIBC can only grant up to 945 hours per year through its own rapid (less than 1 month) review process, for pump priming and student projects, the remaining hours can only come from standard EPSRC grant submission process which can take a year or more from inception to actual project start. For many users of the UKNIBC the time and effort taken through this route for a project requiring less than 40 hours of access is excessive. Consequently, a substantially increased provision of time should be made available via a faster, less arduous route.