2015 Executive Meeting Minutes

July 15, 2015

Attendees:  Kelly Chacon, Justin Chartron, Scott Daly, Lisa Dunn, Paul Evans, Kelly Gaffney, Dan Lin, Cathy Knotts, Eddie Snell, Jessica Vey

SUSB/VUE Center Update:  The 2015 SSRL/LCLS Users' Conference and Workshops will be held October 7-10 in the new Science and User Support Building (SUSB) at SLAC. The SUSB is a 4 story building currently under construction that you will see as soon as enter SLAC. It will be the new ‘front door’ at SLAC and will include a Visitor/User/Employee (VUE) center to welcome and assist all who visit SLAC. This will be the new place for users to obtain their SLAC ID badges and proximity access so they can pass through Gate 17 to enter the SSRL experimental area and beam lines. A VUE Center Manager has been recruited and is expected to start sometime in August. It is not yet clear which user administration staff or responsibilities will be moved to the new SUSB as those conversations have been awaiting the start of VUE Center Manager and the opening of the VUE Center.

The SUSB will also provide a new auditorium and conference center, an area for exhibits, a new cafeteria and outdoor dining patio, and offices for senior SLAC management on the upper floors. The SUSB construction is getting close to completion and is expected to be ready for furniture and staff to start moving in September. The SSRL/LCLS Users’ Conference is planned to be the first event in the new building.  A ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours of the building are also being planned for the afternoon of October 7. Pat Dehmer, Deputy Director for Science Programs, DOE Office of Science, is expected to attend the ceremony and to speak during the users’ conference plenary session. UEC  members and users are invited and encouraged to participate. https://conf-slac.stanford.edu/ssrl-lcls-2015/welcome

The new cafeteria vendor has not been determined yet, but it is expected that it will take several additional months to complete the cafeteria build out, with the expectation that the cafeteria will be available to provide food in early 2016. In the interim, there are limited onsite food options at SLAC. http://www-ssrl.slac.stanford.edu/content/user-resources/food-options

Users' Conference Update:  Registration opened in early July for our Annual Users' Conference and Workshops. The plenary session is planned for Thursday, October 8 and several parallel workshops will be held on both Wednesday and Friday (and part of Saturday), including:

Tuesday, October 6-7 - Joint ALS/LCLS/SSRL Workshop 

  • Hybrid Methods for Integrative Structural Biology

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - Parallel Workshops

Friday, October 9, 2015 - Parallel Workshops

 An SSRL UEC meeting will be scheduled for Wednesday evening, October 7 (~5-7 pm), and a joint SSRL-LCLS general user discussion with Kelly Gaffney and Mike Dunne is being planned for the following evening.

Award Nominations:  Nominations for the Spicer, Klein and Lytle awards are due August 10, August 16 and August 17, respectively.  Once the nominations are in, the selection process will begin. For the Spicer Award, Beth Wurzburg represents the UEC on the Spicer Selection Committee which also includes Britt Hedman and Chair Ingolf Lindau. The SSRL UEC serves as the selection committee for the Klein and Lytle Awards. Cathy will arrange a teleconference for the UEC later in August to review and select the candidates for these awards which will be presented by the UEC at the annual users’ conference.

UEC Nominations:  We have four UEC members rotating off the committee later this year (Sarah Hayes, Jordi Cabana, Jessica Vey, Paul Evans), so nominations are being sought to fill the vacancies in these areas:

  • Environmental/Geosciences
  • Materials/Chemistry
  • Macromolecular Crystallography
  • Ultrafast Science

An online nomination form is available and the nomination deadline is September 30.  Please take a few minutes to consider potential candidates who might be interested and willing to stand for nomination and possible election to the UEC. We will be happy to assist with following up with potential candidates. A ballot will be compiled in early October, and voting will take place the week of October 6 during the Users' Conference.

Guest House:  Many  users have expressed frustration when the Guest House has not been available. In response, the guest house has been reserving ~30% of the available rooms for users during peak demand periods such as Stanford's graduation, Homecoming, etc.  To access these rooms, users have to identify themselves as ‘users’ and ask to ‘waitlisted’ when they are trying to book a room for beam time.  The Guest House will follow up individually as rooms become available.

UEC members who plan to attend the annual users’ conference are encouraged to make their reservations before August 3 (use code ‘USERS1015’).  This block of reserved rooms will be released after that date.

A survey was sent out last week by consultants who are trying to gather data to determine if there is a strong case for adding more capacity to the Guest House. They reported receiving 454 surveys from the SSRL and LCLS user communities which is a very strong response!  The survey results were scheduled to be reported to Stanford officials in late July. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

Site Access:  UEC members who have visited SLAC over the last two years have noticed many changes in the way users are welcomed, assisted and granted access to SLAC. In 2013, Security Guards were removed from Gate 17 and Sector 30 which were replaced with automated entry gates and cameras. This required users to complete safety training before arrival and, upon arrival, to first stop at SLAC Security to pick up a temporary proximity card so they could proceed to Building 120 for check-in and badging. In 2014, Security took over all responsibility for issuing ID badges at SLAC. When the SUSB opens in Fall 2015, there will likely be additional changes in user processing, check-in or badging. The user office has updated instructions on the SSRL website, user portal, and sent emails to users to communicate access and safety training requirements as well as documents required of all collaborators listed on scheduled beam time support requests. We encourage UEC and user feedback or suggestions of how best to effectively communicate and coordinate these types of changes.

Users provided anecdotal examples of recent issues that should be investigated and streamlined with the assistance of the new VUE Center Manager, including requirements for foreign users to provide passport along with LPR/green card or to bring passport and original visa documents for each visit to SLAC. Please inform us of other concerns or share your ideas to improve communication, coordination or user customer service.

Proposal Review Process/Beam Line Scheduling: SSRL strives to ensure that the proposal review and beam line scheduling processes are fair and transparent. User feedback or suggestions is encouraged.

The current operation run ends on Monday, August 10th when we shut down for maintenance and upgrades over the summer. Users who plan to be in the area on August 14th are invited to the SSRL End of Run Party which will be held at the SLAC Arrillaga Recreation Area patio and field, 4 pm on Friday, August 14th.

BL9 has been down this run. New BL9-2 and BL9-3 mirrors will be installed over this coming shutdown, and those beamlines are expected to re-open for user operations in 2016 once they are fully commissioned with beam in the fall. BL9-1 will remain down.

The BL13 ID EPU experienced a problem with roller bearings in March which could not be repaired in place. This required an access in early June to remove the unit for repair. BL13 will remain down for the rest of this run and is expected to be up again in the fall.

NSLS Transition:  The SSRL bending magnet BL2-2, which had been used most recently for white light and instrument development applications, has re-opened as an XAS beamline with help from the NSLS. BL2-2 is now available 20% for SSRL XAS user and 80% for NSLS users currently displaced during the transition to NSLS II.

The SSRL bending magnet BL14-1 is also being scheduled 50% to SSRL users and 50% to NSLS crystallography users displaced during the transition to NSLS II.

NUFO Update:  The National User Facility Organization (NUFO) held a meeting hosted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee in April. NUFO decided to become a formal, incorporated non-profit entity, and is changing their name to the American Research Infrastructure Alliance (ARIA). Incorporation may enable the organization to broaden its funding base and to serve as a third-party validator of the importance of research at user facilities.  User facilities should still have the ability to participate in and support the new organization as allowable activities. A Board of Directors has been appointed and will serve as the primary decision-making body for ARIA, while members of the current NUFO Steering Committee will become an Operations Committee to support the Board and handle day-to-day operations. https://www.nufo.org/

User Outreach:  There may be opportunities for users interested in outreach either through NUFO user exhibitions or through participation in National Lab Days on Capitol Hill. Ideas for hands-on demonstrations are encouraged.

The DOE hosted the second in its series of five National Lab Days on Capitol Hill on July 8 focused on energy. The National Lab Days are a relatively new education and outreach effort organized by the DOE to highlight the national laboratories and user facilities. For the next three National Lab Days on Capitol Hill, which will be held at six-month intervals, the DOE will highlight other areas of its mission:  national security, basic science research, and then environmental management.  https://www.aip.org/fyi/2015/doe-hosts-national-lab-day-capitol-hill


Next Meetings: Cathy Knotts will set up a doodle poll to identify the best date to arrange a UEC teleconference in mid- to late- August after the nominations for the awards have come in. http://doodle.com/8tubkva4hfhkzpsx

The SSRL UEC determined that the best time to meet during the users’ conference would be after the workshops on Wednesday, October 7th, ~5-7 pm. This will be a dinner meeting with Kelly Gaffney.  Sacha Hanigan, the new SLAC VUE Center Manager, will be invited to share her vision and plans for the VUE Center. Please forward other suggestions for discussion topics to Cathy Knotts.

Find Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource on TwitterFind Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource on YouTubeFind Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource on Flickr