Becoming an SSRL User

There are several mechanisms that can be used for obtaining beam time on macromolecular crystallography beam lines at SSRL.


  • Standard General Use Proposals

    The most common way to obtain access to our macromolecular facilities is to submit a standard proposal for review by SSRL's Proposal Review Panel. Although proposals can be submitted at any time, review deadlines are set for April 1, July 1 and December 1 of each year. Once rated, proposals are eligible for beam time starting the next scheduling period (normally there is a 2-3 month period between proposal submission and beam time). Standard single experiment proposals are eligible for beam time for a two-year period (6 scheduling periods).  Program proposals are eligible initially for two years as well, but extensions may be requested if the research project extends beyond two years. 

       For more details see: Proposal Submittal and Scheduling Procedures for Macromolecular Crystallography

  • Rapid Access Proposals

    Normally ~2.5-5 shifts are reserved on the schedule for Rapid Access beam time. Applications are submitted through the User Portal and reviewed by SSRL's Proposal Review Panel for scientific merit and feasibility within a short turnaround (less than 1 month) and the proposal receiving the highest rating will be granted some or all of the shifts held in reserve.  Applications that do not receive the highest rating, but are approved for beam time, are given consideration when cancellations occur and for future Rapid Access shifts.

       For more information see: Rapid Access

  • Block Allocation Groups (BAG) Proposals

    Block Allocation Group (BAG) is 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.

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

    For more information and proposal submission go the SSRL website: Block Allocation Group Proposal

  • New Multi-Technique Proposals

    A new Multi-Technique Proposal mechanism (pilot phase) has been created for projects that require the use of two or more scientific techniques available at SSRL (this includes both x-ray and EM). The pilot proposal mechanism will initially cover Macromolecular Crystallography, Small Angle X-ray Scattering, and Cryo-EM. A goal is to expand it in the future to include additional techniques such as those available at LCLS. The new pilot proposals will require a thorough justification as to why the two or more techniques are required for scientific success. The proposals will be reviewed by an ad hoc Proposal Review Panel comprised of members of the SSRL SMB and Cryo-EM PRPs. The new proposal will be available June 1 and the first deadline for submission will be July 1.

  • Participating Research Teams

    Though many of SSRL's beam lines are primarily devoted to general use access, several institutions have set up Participating Research Team agreements.  For more information regarding macromolecular crystallography PRTs, contact: Aina Cohen.

  • Collaborations with SSRL Scientific Staff

    If you are interested in establishing a collaboration with a member of the SSRL staff, have an unusual experimental set-up, or have inexperienced group members who need training, please contact: Aina Cohen.

Use Agreements

Please note that regardless of the mechanism used to obtain beam time, a valid Use Agreement must also be executed between your institution and Stanford University before an experiment can be carried out at SSRL. Contact Michelle Steger to determine if an executed agreement is in effect.  If your research is proprietary, you must adhere to the policy and procedures set up for proprietary research at SSRL and set up an additional Use Agreement for Proprietary Research. Users performing private sector research will be required to pay a fee based on full cost recovery.

Computer Accounts

New users are required to obtain a Unix account before the experiment starts.

Expense Accounts

All users are responsible for the incidental costs of research at SSRL including shipping, stockroom supplies, gases, phone charges, etc.  Establishing an account at SSRL to offset these expenses is highly recommended.  See User Accounts for more information or contact Michelle Steger. You may also use your institution's account with Federal Express, UPS, or Airborne Express, etc., to pay for shipping charges, but delays in shipping your dewar back to your home institution may occur if group members do not have access to the account number or give incorrect information.