General Lab Information

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User Guide | Applying for Beam Time

Proposal Evaluation

All proposals requesting beam time on any NSLS-II beamline are evaluated using a centralized, online, peer-review proposal process that is managed by NSLS-II.

Technical Feasibility

All GU, BAG, RA, proprietary, and PU proposals are first evaluated by beamline staff for technical feasibility on the requested beamline(s).

Proposal Review Panels (PRPs) and Review Criteria

NSLS-II Proposal Review Panels meet the fourth Thursday in February, June, and October.

Current Proposal Review Panel membership

All GU, BAG, RA, and PU proposals that are judged technically feasible are then reviewed and rated by one or more of the Proposal Review Panels (PRPs). PRPs are peer-review groups composed of scientific peers, external to NSLS-II, and organized by technique or scientific discipline, that cover a broad range of basic and applied science including instrumentation and method development. Each PRP has a Chair that coordinates the meeting, compiles the reviews, and manages the review submission in the PASS system. PRP membership terms are 3 years, with the possibility of renewal.

Each beamline is assigned to a particular PRP, based on the beamline's primary technique. However, in cases where the proposal's focus fits better with a different PRP, the proposal can be reassigned. For proposals with multiple beamline requests, the PRP for each of those beamlines will review the proposal. Hence, a proposal may be reviewed by more than one PRP.

For all proposals, the PRPs evaluate according to the following criteria:

  • Scientific, technological, industrial, and/or national security importance (45%)
    • Does the proposed research address critical questions or significantly advance knowledge in the specific field of research and development?
  • Quality of the experimental plan (40%)
    • Is the proposed experimental plan well developed to address the scientific questions?
    • Is the choice of beamlines appropriate?
    • Does the proposal team have sufficient resources, expertise, and/or collaboration to execute the proposed work?
  • Societal impact (15%)
    • Does the proposed work have significant broader indirect societal impact, in such areas as economic competitiveness, workforce development, education and outreach, and/or engagement promoting inclusive and equitable research?

These categories are designed to recognize and evaluate the feasibility, the value of basic, applied, and industrial research, the value of education and outreach activities, and the societal impact of the proposed work. The PRPs are expected to take into consideration supporting evidence provided in the proposal (e.g., publications, patents, or corporate impact statements as evidence of past performance), to impartially evaluate the likely success of the beamtime, and to evaluate these categories in a balanced way (e.g., recognizing the merit of adventurous, exploratory experiments as well as those with a clear expected result, or recognizing the value of encouraging the development and contribution of new users as well as supporting proven performers from existing communities).

For more guidance on writing a good beam time proposal, we encourage all users to read our short Guide to a Good Proposal (PDF).

The PRPs make recommendations for (1) the maximum number of beam time shifts to be allocated over the lifetime of the proposal, and (2) the number of beam time shifts to be allocated during the upcoming cycle. GU proposals selected for science commissioning time may be allocated time out of rank-order in the proposal scoring.

 Details of the proposal scoring system