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Proposal Submission Process

BACK

The open facilities of the Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS) serves Brazilian and foreign researchers who wish to use the experimental stations of the Laboratory to carry out their investigations. Calls for the submission of research proposals are announced twice a year, one for each semester, and made through the SAU Online website. The next proposal submission periods are stated below:

The schedule for all proposals scheduled for each beamline for this year is available in the SAU Online portal clicking here.

Before submitting a proposal, it is recommended that users check for the available beamlines, services and technologies, as well as specific recommendations for the preparation of samples, protocols and other detailed specifications about the research proposal submission process.

Important: industrial users follow a different process for the use of LNLS facilities. To learn more, take a look at the Information for Industrial UsersThe process for submitting proposals described below applies only to research in the public domain conducted by Brazilian or foreign academic researchers or by Industrial Users who do not wish to seek intellectual protection of their research.
 

Proposal Types


There are four possible types of research proposal submission: Standard Proposal (S), Fast Track Access (FTA), Long Term Proposal (LTP) and Internal Proposals (I).

Standard Research Proposal

This is the standard procedure for access to LNLS Beamlines. Submission of proposals are performed twice each year, in March and September. Users request beamtime for a specific experiment on a specific Beamline. The proposal is evaluated by the external Proposal Review Committees.

If approved, the user performs the experiment and produce an experimental report. Results published using the data obtained in LNLS should acknowledge the use of the beamlines and provide a copy of the paper or thesis for administration of the LNLS.

Users of Brazil and Latin America can receive funding for the implementation of their experiments.

The Standard Submission process is described in detail below.

Fast Track Access 

This procedure aims to improve access to LNLS beamlines for experiments that require little preparation and involve simple samples, simple security requirements and in standard configurations of the beamlines. The Fast Track Access is aimed at users who already have experience in the required technique and whose group, or main proponent, already had had a proposal submitted and accepted. This procedure can be used to supplement and / or complement experimental results for the completion of scientific publications or thesis work. It is important that the main proponent check the technical feasibility of the experiment with the beamline coordinator before submission.

Not every beamline offers beamtime through the Fast Track Access.

In the Fast Track Access, submission of proposals can be made at any time and the evaluation of the submitted proposal is made within 2 to 3 weeks after being received. Members of the Proposal Review Committees are called as ad hoc reviewers for a quick evaluation. Upon approval, beamtime is allocated within 3 to 10 weeks from submission (depending on the availability of the beamline). The administration of LNLS decides the beamtime allocated for experiments in this submission form in each beamline.

The experiments can also use the Weblab online service (not available in every beamline).

After performing their experiment, an experimental report should be produced. Results published using the data obtained in LNLS should acknowledge the use of the beamlines and provide a copy of the paper or thesis for administration of the LNLS.

In this modality, funding for the implementation of their experiments is not guaranteed.

Long Term Proposal

This procedure aims to establish a long-term commitment between an user group and the LNLS to provide beam-time in one or more beamlines for a two-year period.

The main criterion is the scientific excellence of the project. However, some additional criteria have to be considered: a) commitment of the proposer group with contributions in terms of financial, technical and/or human resources; b) an identifiable benefit to the LNLS scientific and user programs and to the beamline(s) regarding new techniques, new instrumentations, and new possibilities of experiments for the beamline(s).

Participation of the other CNPEM open facilities (LNNano, LNBio, CTBE) is welcome.

Calls for proposals in this modality are made in a yearly basis. One of the prerequisites for building such a proposal is the thorough discussion with the beamline management.

The Review Committee for this modality will be formed by the LNLS scientific direction, which may ask for external reviews. Only one or two LTP will be allocated at any time for each beamline.

Upon approval, funding to be discussed and a contract to be formalized. Reports are due on a yearly basis.

Internal Proposal

This procedure is aimed at the submission of proposals by CNPEM staff only. For more information on this procedure, contact the User Support Service.

How to Submit a Proposal


To start the proposal submission process requires that you make your record in the SAU Online portal. To create a new account on the portal, the user must click on “Create a new SAU Online Account”. In your first access, the user must provide personal and professional information.

The registration is only required on the first access and it can be done independently of the proposed submission period. The information provided can be updated at any time.

Once registered in the SAU Online portal, the user must click on “Submit a new Proposal” and follow the instructions. In addition to the online filling out a general form, the user must fulfill three other forms:

  • Research Proposal Form, filled out from a template and attached as PDF;
  • Instrumentation Form, filled out from a template specific for each beamline,  and attached as PDF;
  • Sample and Security Form, filled out online.

Important: Rules and Tips for filling out these forms are found here.

Once submitted, the proposal will automatically be forwarded to the User Support Service (SAU).

Research Proposal Review


The Research Proposal Review process is divided into phases:

Phase 1: The proposal is internal reviewed by the beamline team to judge the feasibility of the proposed experiment. Both the content of the Research Proposal, in particular the Experimental Methods section, and the Instrumentation Form (if asked) are of particular importance for this review.

Phase 2: The external Proposal Review Committee (PRC) reviews and ranks the competing proposals based on the following criteria: scientific merit of the proposal and team experience, reports on previous proposals and scientific publications based on results obtained at LNLS beamlines. The best-ranked proposals are approved to be awarded with beamtime. A reserve list is produced for those well-ranked proposals that have not reached the rank to be awarded with beamtime.

Phase 3: Internal review by the Safety team of the best-ranked proposals for compliance with safety concerns. In case of an issue, the proponent have to provide all additional pieces of information shortly after requested, otherwise they will have their proposal rejected. At this phase, the proponent receives a message from the SAU Online website concerning their ranking. At the end of this phase, the proponent receives a message of approval.

Phase 4: Beamtime is assigned for those best-ranked proposals which were cleared for their technical and safety issues.

Phase 5: Beamtime is scheduled for the recommended proposals. At this phase, the proponents receive a message from the SAU Online with the scheduled period and instructions to prepare their stay at the LNLS.

 

 Important: Given the importance of the previous scientific results to the overall proposal evaluation process, users are strongly advised to check and update their publication record both at the SAU Online website and at the CNPEM library databaseFor the library, updates can be made by sending the full bibliographic data to the CNPEM library (biblioteca@cnpem.br). Publications are included in the database after being checked by the CNPEM librarians and the beamline coordinators.

Review Criteria


The Proposal Review Comittee will analyze: the technical and scientific quality of the proposal and the team, the production of experimental reports and the history of previous proposals (publications, theses, etc …). Grades from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) will be assigned to the items below; the overall grade will be the average between them.

Technical and Scientific quality of the proposal:

  • Are the scientific motivation and objectives of the experiment clearly described?
  • If it is a continuation of a previous proposal, is the justification adequate?
  • Are the samples to be studied clearly described and characterized?
  • Are there preliminary studies that justify measurements with synchrotron light?
  • The expected results using synchrotron light seem to have scientific or technical relevance? Is the technique adequate?

Quality of the team:

  • Is the team dynamic in terms of publications?
  • Is the team well-formed to carry out the proposal? Are there enough participants for beam time to be used effectively? Does the team have participants with experience in the technique? Typically, for two- or three-day experiments, the team should consist of at least two or three members. A synchrotron light experiment is rarely a solitary experiment.

Production of reports and publications*:

  • Have reports been produced on previous experiments? The reports, when submitted to SAU Online, are automatically added to the end of the proposal PDF.
  • Have previous publications related to experiments with synchrotron light been of good quality? When available, this list will also be added to the proposal.

* When there is no previous proposal, disregard this item.

After the Review Process


After the research proposal is approved, the user receives an email with instructions for the following four steps that should be carried out before starting to work at LNLS facilities. Through the SAU Online website, the user must:

  1. Request financial support, if applicable;
  2. Request guesthouse reservation, if applicable;
  3. Perform the obligatory Safety Training;
  4. Request the obligatory badge:

Important: In order to keep the necessary deadlines to apply for your working permits we need the badge applications of the experimental team at least ten days before your experiment.

Important: Learn more about the rules for Financial Support 

Only after fulfilling the steps above, the user will be authorized to work at LNLS facilities during the allocated time.

After the Experiment


After the execution of their experiments, we highly recommended all users to fill out the Feedback on Infrastructure and Services and the Experimental Report, both available at the SAU Online website.

Important: Users are required to acknowledge the use of LNLS facilities in any publications and to inform the Laboratory about any publications, thesis and other published materials. Users must also cooperate by supplying this information upon request. 

Support text for acknowledgements:

This research used resources of the Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS), an open national facility operated by the Brazilian Centre for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM) for the Brazilian Ministry for Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications (MCTIC). The _ _ _ beamline staff is acknowledged for the assistance during the experiments.