Block Allocation Group Proposal


Block Allocation Groups (BAGs) are a mode of beam time access intended for groups of researchers that want to combine their short beam time requests into a single proposal in order to permit greater flexibility in beam time allocation and scheduling. BAG proposals may be submitted by groups working at a shared university or with a shared affiliation. Combining the beam time of individual groups permits greater flexibility in the choice of projects and samples during a given allocation period and offers the individuals in the BAGs the benefit of access to more regular allocation of beam time. We recommend that each BAG proposal include about 6 to 12 PIs/Projects (with a limit of 16 without advance approval), ideally from 4 or fewer universities. Please contact Aina Cohen for advice before submitting if your bag has a large number of groups. Each project/PI may have a larger team associated with it.

Currently, BAG proposals are accepted on SSRL BL14-1, BL9-2, BL12-2 and BL12-1. Only measurements based on existing, standard setups available at these beamlines will be considered for the BAG beam time.

BAG Organization:

Groups interested in forming a BAG should identify a Lead Principal Investigator who will be responsible for managing all aspects of the BAG proposal, beam time, and reporting. The PI may assign an Alternate Contact for the proposal, who works under the management of the BAG PI. This individual will be identified as the Spokesperson on the BAG proposal. The Alternate Contact may share responsibility for BAG-related communication and be included in BAG- related correspondence. However, the Lead Principal Investigator will always have final responsibility.

Specifically, the PI or Alternate Contact will be responsible for:

  • all contact between the BAG and SSRL (e.g. User Office, beamline and safety staff)
  • submission of the initial BAG proposal and all subsequent beam time requests.  One PI/project can be added to the BAG per scheduling period, with a simple process involving 1) sending a paragraph to Lisa Dunn describing the project (including any safety concerns) and 2) registering the new PI and team in our user portal.
  • coordination and scheduling of the BAG beam time amongst the members
  • ensuring that members of the BAG are ready to perform experiments and have submitted all Safety Approval Forms
  • ensuring related publications include the proper SSRL and funding source acknowledgements
  • delivering all required reports to SSRL at the appropriate time

BAG Policies:

  1. BAG members are not permitted to apply for additional beam time on the beamlines included within the BAG proposal except when the scientific project and/or experimental setup requirements are outside of the scope of the BAG proposal and/or require non-standard experimental setup.
  2. Proprietary research is not permitted under the BAG beam time.

Beam Time Proposals:

The initial term of a BAG proposal is 2 years (6 beam time cycles). Proposals must describe the synergistic nature of the BAG members and give a scientific justification for the proposed research over the lifetime of the proposal, including the broader scientific context. The proposal must also include details of the proposed experiments and a justification of the beam time requested for the lifetime of the proposal. All BAG proposals must be discussed in advance with the beamline staff for each beamline requested. BAG proposals are submitted online through the user portal. (see proposal submission deadlines) All researchers involved in the BAG projects and beam time use must meet SLAC and DOE resource access requirements beginning with also registering in the SSRL user portal.

Review & Beam Time Allocation:

New BAG proposals are reviewed by the Proposal Review Panel (PRP) and given a score. If a BAG proposal scores better than the cutoff, this will result in an initial beam time allocation. Every cycle, the PI of the BAG proposal is required to submit a Beam Time Request (BTR) for every beamline where the BAG requests time. See Guidelines for BAG Beam Time Management

Publication Reporting:

Any publications and theses that involve results from beam time use at SSRL should be reported by the BAG PI to Lisa Dunn ( ), submitted online using the Submit New Publication button on SSRL's Publications page, and/or be included in the mid-year report.

All publications including data obtained at SSRL should reference the use of SSRL and SSRL’s funding sources as outlined on SSRL's Publications Reporting & Acknowledgement page.

Mid-Year Report:

The BAG is required to submit a midterm report after 1 year. It will include a 2-3 page summary that details the results obtained, any publications from the work, and any problems encountered. Any beam time related to the development or approval or new drugs or therapeutics, (patents, clinical trials, FDA approval, etc.) should be included in the mid-year report. This report must include any additional projects, sample information, and new PIs who have joined the BAG. The BAG may also remove members at the time of this report. The report must also contain a shift request and justification for the next year of beam time.

SSRL may add or remove groups, or change the shift allocation according to performance, which will be assessed by the PRP through the midterm report. SSRL Management reserves the right to terminate a BAG prior to the end of its two-year term. Links and other useful Information:

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