EOL Instrument Loan Policy


EOL has a process to loan scientific instrumentation or equipment to researchers who have short-term needs, are participating in an eligible program, and do not have the resources to acquire their instruments or components. This service that EOL provides is vital to the atmospheric science community. However, loaned instruments can be inadvertently damaged or lost in shipment, which may jeopardize EOL commitments to NSF-sponsored projects. Therefore, EOL has established an instrument loan policy.


EOL has a standing committee to review and make recommendations on instrument loan requests. People interested in borrowing an instrument from EOL/RAF should contact an EOL technical or scientific staff member and review the policy statement outlined here. They can also contact one of the committee members to discuss their request. The members include Teresa Campos, Kurt Zrubek, Stuart Beaton, and Lou Lussier. A UCAR Equipment Loan Request Form must be filled out and submitted to EOL by the person making the request.


General Guidelines - EOL Instruments and Infrastructure

EOL follows UCAR and NSF policies on equipment loans to organizations outside of UCAR. The UCAR Property Management Office issues the final approval for all equipment loans for items that bear the UCAR property tag.

EOL is not obligated to loan instruments. Every loan request is considered individually for appropriateness, the borrower's experience with the equipment, and potential conflicts for the equipment in question for NSF projects. Sometimes EOL may not have time or staff to prepare an instrument for a loan, in which case the request will be denied. EOL encourages those who need to borrow an instrument to seek sources other than EOL. These sources may include government agencies (NASA, NOAA, NRL), UCAR member universities (Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, Washington, North Dakota, and others), or renting from commercial instrument vendors.

When instruments leave EOL for a loan, EOL technical staff will verify that the instruments are calibrated and operating correctly. However, no spare parts are included with the loan, and EOL offers no performance guarantee after the equipment leaves EOL. If an instrument fails during the loan period, EOL will not service it to restore its performance, and it must be repaired at the borrower's expense.

To confirm that an instrument is operating correctly on its return, we require it to pass through an instrument shop on its way back to EOL. The instrument shop will perform inspections, calibrations, and tests as appropriate. EOL must approve instrument shops to complete the instrument return inspection. Shops include but are not limited to Droplet Measurement Technologies (DMT), Particle Metrics (PMS, phone 303 247-0411), and Stratton Park Engineering Company. The borrower may be approved to perform the inspection.

In some cases, EOL may serve as the instrument shop. The borrower will bear the costs of the inspection and any necessary parts, repairs, or adjustments. For example, an inspection and calibration check is usually about $1,000 for a DMT or PMS instrument.

The borrower must carry insurance to cover the complete replacement of the instrument at the current cost in case it is lost or damaged in shipment. EOL will provide an estimate of the replacement cost. If the instrument is lost or destroyed during use or shipment, the borrower is responsible for providing a working replacement to EOL.

HAIS Instrument Loans

The HAIS (HIAPER Airborne Instrumentation Solicitation) instrument suite consists of several advanced instruments, which are generally not loaned to external requestors. Any use of HAIS instruments on a non-NSF project must be approved by the NSF Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities (LAOF) Program Officer. The HAIS instrument loan request should be submitted to Julie Haggerty, haggerty@ucar.edu, and will be reviewed by EOL and NSF LAOF Program Office. Typically HAIS instrument loans are subject to a System Use Rate (SUR), which is a charge per day of use determined individually for each HAIS instrument. Contact Julie Haggerty, haggerty@ucar.edu, for more information.

Infrastructure Loans

Frequently requested infrastructure items for loan include GV instrument racks (Main Cabin Equipment, or MCE rack) and HIAPER Modular Inlet (HIMIL) inlets. EOL encourages investigators to plan as much as possible and includes the fabrication of these items in their instrument development proposals because their availability for a loan depends heavily on the current project commitments and can not be guaranteed. The interested instrument investigators should contact the EOL Design and Fabrication Services (DFS) Manager, Cara Coad, at ccoad@ucar.edu, to obtain fabrication quotes.