Frequently asked questions
1) Why does ITC have such a spectrometric, geochemical, water and soil laboratory?
It is important that students at ITC can receive hands-on training in analytical determinations in order to:
- be able to understand the quality of the analytical data they are handling in their work
- be able to supervise sample collection and sample analysis by their team workers in the field or laboratory
- choose appropriate analytical techniques for their work.
Within ITC’s research activities for the:
- validation of existing analytical data sets
- creation of additional analytical data.
2) Who can use the GS-Lab facilities?
Any student, research scientist or staff member of ITC provided the work falls within the technical and safety limitations of the laboratory facilities and that the work is destined for training or research within the frame of ITC activities.
3) Who pays for the costs?
For routine analysis in limited numbers or training exercises, the GS-lab. budget will normally cover the costs. For more extensive requests certain expenses will have to be met from the research budget of the party requesting the work.
4) Can one just bring material to the laboratory for analysis and await the results?
In principle there is always an obligation to provide input in the analytical procedures by the requesting party. In some cases this will result in a short training after which the requesting party carries out the work him/herself under supervision. In other cases this will be limited to sample preparation and clean-up work when the actual measurements such as on ICP-OES have to be executed by laboratory staff.
5) What if the GS-lab can not perform the required analytical work?
In such a case the material can be send to a commercial laboratory or institute. The laboratory staff will help in selecting the most suitable analytical method and which laboratory to use.
The costs of out-sourcing analytical work will be charged towards the research budget of the person requesting the analysis in the case it exceeds Euro 250.
6) Would it not be better, cheaper and faster to send sample material to a commercial laboratory?
The answer is obviously “No”, please see the objectives of the GS-Lab. Out-sourcing eliminates the aspect of training and gaining insight which is important.
In addition there is the fact that the quality of analysis of small batches of samples sent to a commercial laboratory is difficult to assess. It is also not always possible to obtain the exact information on how the analytical work was carried out which can hinder matching the results with existing data.
For some analytical work requested out-sourcing will be the only solution as not all analysis can be carried out in the GS-Laboratory.