AIR Access


The imaging resource is considered to be a laboratory working area. Therefore IGC good lab practice procedures apply to workers here. The facility resource, including microscopes, computers and staff members represents an investment of several million pounds and so for good stewarding of this resource we ask our users to abide by the following guidelines.

Health and safety:

We require all users to be trained on new equipment by AIR technical staff. We use the PPMS platform to administer the facility. Users must register for the facility on PPMS and book equipment use through the PPMS booking calendar. Users must have their own risk assessments for work in the facility and have read the facility risk assessments for confocal or epifluorescence imaging.

The AIR is a laboratory space and we expect our users to adhere to good laboratory practise while using our equipment. Please report any concerns including equipment breakdown, spills and broken glass.

Access charges

Use of AIR equipment is rechargable hourly. The hourly use fee is inclusive of the cost of Bioimage analysis. These rates are for University of Edinburgh research staff and students only. External users must contact the AIR manager for further information

  • Confocals – £30 per hour (time lapse 8hrs charged in every 24 i.e. £240 for between 8-24hrs booking)
  • Epifluorescence/Brightfield/Mesoscopes – £20 per hour (time lapse 8hrs charged in every 24 i.e. £160 for between 8-24hrs booking)
  • Nanozoomer slide scanner – £25 (contact Helen Caldwell for details)
  • ESRIC @ IGC (SIM/STORM) – £40 per hour (from Monday 1st September)
  • Optical Projection Tomography (OPT):
    • Hourly rate £30
    • Consumables £15
    • Sample prep and data reconstruction £75 (depending on user conditions)
  • Image Analyst Assistance – Free if the images were captured on AIR or ESRIC microscopes, otherwise £25 per hour
  • Image Analysis Workstation Use – £3 per hour

Further information if required is detailed here

Fair usage procedure

The IGC have provided the AIR equipment for all researchers to use. Everyone’s work is important and the equipment needs to be stewarded accordingly. Please report any concerns or issues with the equipment to the facility staff. They are eager to provide good service. Our PPMS platform manages routine bookings, however in extraordinary circumstances please see facility staff to make arrangements.

Training Requests

The AIR works core hours 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. Out of hours assistance is available upon request in advance

Facility users need to be trained on each new modality they use. E.g. if already are already trained to use an upright microscope (e.g. Britemac) you don’t need training to use another one (e.g. Macred) but you would need training to use a confocal. Please request training via PPMS. The AIR staff are employed to support AIR equipment. We can, at our discretion advise about non AIR equipment but are not obliged to provide support. The workshop are able to provide support for equipment repairs and can be contacted here.

If you are new to the AIR please submit a PPMS Account Creation Request, then email us to discuss your requirements further:

For those new to the PPMS system, please read our user manual which explains how to register and make bookings.


The facility can’t store research data. As per the IGC data governance policy data must be stored in PI named Datastore folders. Please contact or speak to the IT team to arrange this. All files older than 6 months are cleared from the imaging systems. Data may need to be removed sooner at the Managers discretion if this is preventing research use of the equipment.

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