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Proposal Review Process and Review Committees

Each application for beam time, which is assigned a final number based on one of 12 scientific areas (see point 6), is reviewed by one or more Review Committees (see point 4). The Review Committees assess the proposals for their scientific merit or their technical, technological and/or innovative relevance. The members of the Review Committees are specialists in related areas of science and are appointed by the ESRF management.

The Review Committees meet twice a year, in April and in October, to assess proposals received at the submission deadlines of 1st March and 10th September, respectively.

It is the beamline(s) requested by the main proposer, in the application for beam time, which determine(s) the Committee(s) which will review the proposal.

Structure of the review process

Beamlines of similar techniques or activities have been grouped together to form 12 review committees (see point 4). Each review committee reviews and assess all the proposals which request one or several of the beamlines for which it is responsible.

The proposal review process allows all proposals received for a particular beamline to be assessed by the same Review Committee. This gives the Committees flexibility to optimise the selection of proposals to be performed on each beamline. In addition, this structure and associated software allow ESRF to obtain and publish the final decisions much sooner after the Review Committee Meetings of April and October.

It is therefore extremely important that the proposer takes great care when filling in this part of the proposal form in order to have the proposal assessed by the appropriate review committee.


  • the choice of the beamline(s) registered in the electronic application for beam time determine(s) the Committee(s) which will review the proposal: it is extremely important that the proposer takes great care when filling in this part of the proposal form in order to have the proposal assessed by the appropriate review committee.
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ESRF beamlines are designed for research in areas as diverse as engineering, physics, chemistry, crystallography, earth science, biology and medicine, surface and materials science, and are characterized by specific techniques of investigation.

In the electronic application form, the main proposer may select :

  • in the case where only one beamline is required :
    • the principal beamline (P1) required and up to two alternative beamlines (A1, A1') : this corresponds to a request for P1 or A1 or A1'.
  • in the case where more than one beamline is required :
    • two principal beamlines (P1, P2). If appropriate, possible alternative beamlines for each principal beamline may be selected (as above) : this corresponds to a request for P1 and P2.
    • the proposer must give number of shifts requested on each principal beamline


In order to request the appropriate beamline(s) for your research, and therefore to have your proposal assessed by the appropriate review committee, you are kindly requested, in case of doubt:

  • to consult the information web page on the beamlines,
  • to contact the beamline responsible if you need more information
  • to MAKE SURE, before the validation of your proposal, that the status ("principal" or "alternative") of the selected beamline(s) corresponds exactly to what you need.

12 Review Committees, corresponding to groups of beamlines of similar techniques or activities, review and assess all proposals requesting the beamlines of that Committee, whatever their scientific area. They meet twice year:

  • in April to review the proposals submitted for the deadline of 1st March,
  • in October to review the proposals submitted for the deadline of 10th September

If beamlines from different committees are selected

In the case where a proposal requests beamlines which fall into more than one Committee, each relevant Committee will review the proposal, giving only a recommendation for the beamline(s) for which it is responsible.

The table below shows the 12 review committees, identified from C01 to C12, and the beamlines for which each committee will review and assess proposals:

Consult also the our information page on Beamlines Status

Review Committees  Beamlines
 C01     ID01 - BM01 - BM25 - BM32
 C02  ID06-HXM - ID11 - ID15A - ID22 - ID31
 C03  ID12 - ID32
 C04  BM08 -  BM14 - BM16 - BM20 - BM23 - BM30 - BM31
 C05  ID06LVP - ID15B - ID27
 C06  ID17 - ID19
 C07  ID16A - ID16B - ID21
 C08  ID02 - ID13 - BM26
 C09  BM02 - ID09 - ID10 - BM28
 C10  CM01 - ID23-1 - ID23-2 - (ID29) - BM29 - ID30A-1 - ID30A-3 - BM07
 C11  ID20 - ID24 - ID26
 C12  ID18 - ID28


The electronic application forms for beam time for a Standard Proposal and for a Long Term Project Proposal allow proposers to select beamlines as described in point 3, and provide accurate information about the scientific research carried out at the ESRF and its societal impact:

  •  for each proposal, the proposer should select the most appropriate "Societal Theme" from the list of seven given;
  • the list of "Scientific Areas"  covers the general and specific fields of research which are studied at ESRF. The scientific area will determine the proposal number assigned.

The electronic application forms for a BAG proposal and a Rolling non-BAG proposal must ONLY be used for applications for beam time for Structural Biology Experiments to be carried out on the Structural Biology beamlines.

The complete list of available electronic application forms for beam time is proposed in the user account: tab "Proposals/Experiments" -> "Proposals" -> tab "New proposal".

Guidelines for electronic submission per type of proposal

Societal Themes

The research proposed in an application for beam time should be identified within the framework of a "Societal Theme" which must be registered by the main proposer in the electronic registration form.

The following "Societal Themes" are proposed:

  • Earth and Environment
  • Information & Communication Technology (ICT)
  • Energy
  • Health
  • Other Functional Materials
  • Other Fundamental Science (other than that included in the themes already given above)
  • Other (if none of the proposed societal themes is relevant; in this case, keywords must be given)

The information is mandatory and ONLY one societal theme can be selected.

Please note that the proposers must identify whether the proposal is fundamental / applied / industrially relevant science elsewhere on the proposal form. The societal theme section should not be used for this. Please therefore ONLY select "Fundamental Science" if the theme is Fundamental Science not already covered by the other themes proposed.

Scientific areas

Each application for beam time is assigned to one of 12 scientific areas as follows:

  • CH (Chemistry)
  • ES (Earth Science)
  • EV (Environment)
  • HC (Hard Condensed Matter Science)
  • HG (Cultural Heritage)
  • LS (Life Sciences)
  • MA (Applied Material Science)
  • MD (Medicine)
  • ME (Engineering)
  • MI (Methods and Instrumentation)
  • MX (Structural Biology) - only for MX BAG, Rolling applications and LTP proposals.
  • SC (Soft Condensed Matter Science)

For queries or questions, please contact the User Office.