The University of Sheffield has been awarded funding to host the NERC Environmental Omics Facility (NEOF) for the next five years, providing environmental researchers across the UK with access to innovative technologies.
Based at the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences and the University of Liverpool, NEOF will be a centre of excellence that allows the UK to maintain and develop its world-leading position in environmental omics, and empower the next generation of environmental researchers. Omics refers to disciplines in biology such as genomics, proteomics and metabolomics.
Environmental researchers in the UK will be able to access the full range of omics supporting technology, expertise and training. This includes genomics, bioinformatics, proteomics and metabolomics, based on cutting-edge technology tailored specifically to the needs of environmental studies.
The facility, which will launch on 1 October 2020, will also support studies in a range of fields such as evolution, conservation, animal behaviour, biodiversity and pollution monitoring.
The original concept of the facility was invented in 1998 by Professor Terry Burke, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences.
Professor Burke, NEOF Director at the University of Sheffield, said: “Omics is transforming our ability to understand and manage our environment. We welcome this investment to enable us to make our expertise and equipment readily available to researchers across the UK and enhance our ability to train those at the start of their careers.”
The University of Sheffield will also continue to host the NEOF Visitor Facility, which supports the training of early career researchers and PhD students from institutions across the country, and will lead in training in phenomics.
Dr Iain Williams, Director of Strategic Partnerships at NERC, said:“NEOF will be a centre of excellence that allows the UK to maintain and develop its world-leading position in environmental omics, and empower the next generation of environmental researchers with a full range of omic tools and the skills to address pressing environmental science challenges, including biodiversity, species interactions and threats to our wildlife.”
The teams at the Universities of Sheffield and Liverpool are currently involved in the NERC Biomolecular Analytical Facility (NBAF). The researchers will ensure continuity of service for the environmental omics community during the transition, as well as introducing new omics capabilities, support and training.
The University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences is internationally recognised for its expertise and facilities in ecological and evolutionary research.