Available translations: English

The science infrastructures that UKCEH operates share common characteristics, such as:


Much of the infrastructure we operate is large-scale, often with national reach. Infrastructures may be in situ or mobile, in single locations or distributed geographically. 

Complex, connected systems

Each large-scale science infrastructure typically comprises many connected items of hardware, equipment, instruments, software and communications.

Innovative, specialist, purpose-built

These science infrastructures use and combine new technologies and methods to make scientific observations and measurements. We continually invest and innovate to keep them at the cutting-edge of science.


These infrastructures have a long life. We are involved from the initial planning, scoping and construction stage, through observing environmental status and change over decades, and completing upgrades, through to end-of-life decommissioning.

High cost

Commissioning, maintaining, upgrading and decommissioning these infrastructures over the course of their lifecycle requires periodic capital investment, as well as ongoing resource to operate and maintain them. 

Single, centralised national provision

Science infrastructures typically involve a combination of scale, cost, operating requirements and specialist skills, which the UK can only afford to provide once, and is not profit-making. For this reason, dedicated national funding is provided to support these infrastructures. 

Community service provision

The infrastructures and the data and knowledge they generate are made freely accessible to UK researchers wherever possible.