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- Submit new general user X-ray/VUV proposals by June 1, September 1, December 1;
- Submit new general user Macromolecular Crystallography proposals by July 1, December 1, April 1.
In addition to standard general user (GU) proposals, users may submit a Rapid Access or Letter of Intent proposal at any time through the user portal to access a small amount of beam time to test the feasibility of new ideas.
Research teams are discouraged from submitting multiple proposals unless the proposed research is unrelated. Multiple proposals from members of the same research team will be flagged during the peer review process (may be combined and limited in lifetime and/or beam time allocations).
Submitting a proposal is the first step to access beam time at SSRL. SSRL proposals are peer reviewed and competitively rated by the SSRL Proposal Review Panel (PRP) on a scale from 1 (highest) to 5 (lowest). The PRP also assists with beam time allocations, for example recommending adjustments to total number of shifts estimated for proposals or indicating if the proposed experiment should have a shorter lifecycle or a limited amount of beam time to encourage exploratory studies or to determine feasibility. Successful proposals are eligible to request and may be awarded beam time on SSRL beam lines, with priority given to the highest rated proposals and those which demonstrate efficient and productive use of beam time. Proposals rated better than 1.4 are most likely to receive their optimal number of shifts on their first choice beam line; other requests are accommodated as beam time is available.
SSRL operates as a dedicated synchrotron radiation source for approximately nine months per year (usually from November through early August). The run year is generally divided into three scheduling periods. The deadline to submit requests is several months in advance of each scheduling period. We encourage users to 'bookmark' the deadlines page and set a reminder for these annual deadlines in their calendars.
Once a proposal is peer reviewed/rated, the next step is for the proposal spokesperson (or their authorized lead contact) to request beam time by the posted deadlines for each scheduling period in which he/she is interested in running their experiment(s). Generally standard proposals are eligible to request beam time for up to six scheduling periods over a two-year period. This separate step provides a mechanism for the proposal spokesperson to request their desired beam line(s), amount of beam time, specific equipment or beam line configurations, and dates when they are available (or indicate preferences or when they have conflicts).
Scheduling for SSRL beam time is centrally managed and coordinated by the User Research Administration (URA) Office to ensure optimal utilization of SSRL beam lines. Although the proposal rating is the primary criteria in scheduling beam time, a number of other factors are considered including availability of staff and equipment. Consideration may also be given to graduate students who need a small amount of beam time to complete their thesis work.
URA staff review beam time requests for each beam line, technique and time period desired, considering the current requests with the amount of beam time that has previously been allocated and how the results have been disseminated (through publications, etc.). URA staff work with beam line scientists and technical staff to develop a schedule that ensures the availability of desired resources to meet the needs of the proposal team and the faciity. Experiments with similar equipment configuration set ups are scheduled together whenever feasible to minimize downtime.
Note: If members of the same research team have several proposals, they will not necessarily be granted beam time for each of the proposals in each scheduling period. In many cases, the Spokesperson can advise which of their experiments have the highest priority during a scheduling cycle. Many SSRL beam lines are oversubscribed by proposals with high scientific merit; consequently, requests for highly oversubscribed beam lines will likely be limited to one (in rare cases two) experiments per research group per run year.
When the beam time allocations have been reviewed and approved, the schedule is posted online and made available to Proposal Spokesperson and Lead Contacts through for the User Portal for their review and acknowlegement.
SSRL staff are dedicated to providing outstanding user support and work hard to ensure that user beam time and experiments are successful. Contact URA, SSRL scientists, engineers, beam line operations staff to answer any questions or to provide assistance.
As early as possible, preferably at least two weeks before scheduled beam time, the proposal spokesperson or their authorized lead contact must complete the following steps to accept and confirm allocated beam time. Beam time may be canceled and re-allocated to another user group if this step is not completed.
- Log in to the User Portal (request a password if needed; note this is different from the SSRL or SLAC password).
- From the top blue navigation bar, select "Support Request/SSRL Support Request" to view beam time allocations for active proposals. Select "Accept Time" to acknowledge the beam time allocation. To cancel assigned time, click "Decline Time" and enter relevant comments as prompted. (Also contact URA directly to discuss if rescheduling options might be available.)
- Select "Enter Request". If the spokesperson will not be present to provide oversight during the experiment, identify a 'Lead Contact' to supervise this experiment. Inform us who will be onsite for this scheduled beam time and who needs Sample Prep Lab Access. 'Remove' colleagues who will not participate in this experiment, and 'Add' other collaborators as appropriate. Encourage all new users to register through the user portal and complete safety training before arrival.
- Review the beam time request summary and inform us immediately if the experimental plans/equipment/safety needs have changed to determine whether thelate changes can be accommodated.
- Scroll down and indicate support needs (mono calibration edge), lab access, vacuum, computers, water cooling requests, etc.
- Select "Submit".
- Each individual user affiliated with a scheduled proposal is required to register (and annually verify their personal information is accurate).
- See procedures for foreign users.
- Complete on-line safety training BEFORE ARRIVAL, and arrive by 2 pm in order to complete check in and receive an ID badge and proximity access. Review check-in procedures and instructions,
- New users should review our user 'To-Do' list.
- See other helpful information related to SSRL beam time.
A User Agreement is required for all users who will use SSRL beam lines, either onsite or by remote access. The user agreement is completed by an official at the user institution and generally covers all scientists from that institution. Contact URA or check online to confirm if a user agreement has been executed. There are additional requirements for users who desire to conduct proprietary research (advance payment at full cost recovery rate is also required).
Each user group should have a user financial account for use in obtaining supplies, ordering gases, or shipping samples needed for their experiments at SSRL. Contact URA for details or to confirm if your group has an active account.
Spokesperson's Safety Responsibilities - Proposal spokespersons must disclose and thoroughly describe all materials, equipment and any other potential hazards that they may bring or use while at SLAC. Our Safety Officer will contact the proposal spokesperson to review potential hazards, required training, controls, or personal protective equipment. This information will be documented and signed by the proposal spokesperson on the Safety Checklist. The proposal spokesperson is required to notify us in advance of all users expected to be on-site for scheduled experiments. We will ensure that each on-site user receives training related to the facility before issuing an ID badge. The proposal spokesperson is responsible for ensuring that everyone listed on their proposal receives appropriate training related to the planned experiment, including standard and emergency procedures relevant to any hazards associated with that experiment. As mentioned above, if you do not plan to be on-site to provide oversight duri ng your scheduled beam time, please appoint a lead contact who will be available (list this lead person's name and their contact information on the beam time request or user support form). If you have questions related to any safety procedures at SSRL, please contact Matt Padilla, Behzad Bozorg-Chami or Ian Evans.
Review safety information and requirements, specifically advance notifications for hazardous & radioactive materials, procedures for using radioactive materials at SSRL (Radioactive Materials Shipment), quantity limitations, and training requirements for handling radioactive materials (in addition to GERT, RWT training is required to handle radioactive material).
Contact the Stanford Guest House as early as soon as beam time is allocated and identify yourself as an SSRL user to take advantage of discounted rates and rooms reserved for users. The Guest House is a short walk from the beam lines and amenities include cable TV and DVD; high-speed, in-room internet access; complimentary coffee/tea; free parking; free fitness center; and laundry facilities.
Check the SPEAR operating schedule for information on dates when we will be DOWN for Maintenance, Accelerator Physics, Holiday breaks or 'Low Alpha' operations so that you can plan your visits accordingly.
Review Check-In Procedures
Most X-ray/VUV beam lines officially turn over to the next user by 3 pm, but usually it is much earlier in the day depending on equipment requirements and staff availability. Plan to arrive early in case beam line staff have questions about your set up and to complete the SSRL Safety and Hutch Authorization Training. Contact the designated beam line engineer/scientist at least one week prior to arrival to discuss beam line configuration needs and to confirm your estimated start time.
The SSRL experimental floor is classified as a Controlled Area which means that GERT training is required, but dosimeters are not required (except in limited situations). ID badges must be worn and be visible at all times during your visit. Return your ID badge to the URA at the conclusion of your experiment if you do not plan to return for 60 days. Pick up your ID on your subsequent visit. Your ID will only be valid during the current run cycle; contact URA to renew or re-activate your ID badge and site access. If arriving after hours, a temporary visitor badge and dosimeter may be arranged if someone from your group with a valid ID agrees to be your escort until you can complete the required training and check-in procedures on the following working day. Contact Jackie Kerlegan at 650-926-2079 to coordinate user check-in.
Acknowledge SSRL and funding agencies after data have been collected, analyzed and prepared for presentation or publication.
Inform us of all publications, theses, major invited talks, awards, patents and other forms of recognition resulting from research conducted fully or partially at SSRL. We need up-to-date listings as these metrics of scientific achievements and productivity are extremely important to the facility and to funding agencies.
Contact us BEFORE exciting results are about to be published so that we can work with you and your institution to communicate research findings to a broader audience. User science highlights as well as other news and announcements are featured on our website and in our monthly electronic newsletter.
After completing each scheduled experiment at SSRL, submit an End of Run Survey through the user portal. Feedback is extremely important to us. We appreciate your feedback which helps us continue to improve user support as well as to meet our mission requirements for assessment and reporting.
We welcome your feedback, and we look forward to your visit to SSRL!