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I am working on my next geology research project, after recent publication, that has no affiliation to a research institute (e.g. I am conducting research in my spare time). I am now thinking how I might be able to access a petrographic microscope and a point counter, two commonly available pieces of equipment found in any geology department at a university.

I would like to get try and get access to the resources free of charge offering acknowledgement space on what I hope to be published work. If it is possible to gain access with a small payment it would be interesting to hear.

I believe there are two ways of approaching this:

  1. Approach a researcher directly about the project and propose it as work to be associated with that researcher perhaps through coauthorship
  2. Approach a university about the project and propose acknowledgement of the university in the paper

Coming from a point of ignorance about gaining access to university resources can anyone advise how should one go about this?

I am working in the UK and most convenient places for me to get to institutions is in London or the South East of England.

  • Would you have a problem with being affiliated to an institute or university? – Mark Sep 8 '17 at 16:42
  • Possibly a grant that you can use to rent time in the relevant lab and with the relevant equipment? – zibadawa timmy Sep 8 '17 at 17:47
  • @Mark no not at all - but I'm full-time employed and am doing part-time research for the love of it rather than for any tuition or qualification. I haven't asked but would an institution accept affiliation on that kind of status? – spk578 Sep 9 '17 at 16:15
  • @zibadawatimmy how would one go about applying for a grant of that nature? – spk578 Sep 9 '17 at 16:16
  • @spk578 I don't know, but I guess it's worth trying. Especially since you seem to have some success. If there is a researcher that would collaborate with you, I wouldn't see why you shouldn't become affiliated. Unless there are some university rules that I'm not aware of (not that I ever looked into it...) – Mark Sep 9 '17 at 16:27
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Find someone in the institution (your approach 1), write to them, and ask. You'll need a brief description of your experiment so the recipient knows what they're agreeing to. If this is common equipment in your field and you're not proposing to take over the lab for hours every week, just ask. The worst they can do is to say no.

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