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Long Term Projects - General Information

Users may request a long-term commitment from the ESRF to provide beamtime during up to six successive scheduling periods (three years). Scientific excellence is the primary criterion for the acceptance of such a Long-Term Proposal (LTP). Further criteria are:

(a) a commitment from the proposing User group concerning the contribution of financial, technical and/or human resources during the implementation of the LTP;

(b) an identifiable benefit to the ESRF User community (such as a new technique, a new instrument or new possibilities for the beamline) expected to result from the successful accomplishment of the goals for the LTP.

For the submission of a LTP the specific LTP beamtime application form must be used.

The general structure of a LTP is set out in the LTP Proposal Guidelines.

LTPs can be submitted once a year with a fixed deadline of 15 January, for decision on acceptance in April. Beamtime for accepted LTPs becomes available during the following scheduling period, i.e. the period from August of the same year to February of the following year. The proposers may request a start delayed by one scheduling period, if this is necessary to prepare properly the experimental sessions.

Each LTP must be identified with a spokesperson. The spokesperson should be affiliated to a scientific institution of an ESRF Member or Associate country. Exceptions from this provision require prior agreement from the ESRF Management. Co-proposers may come from different institutions, even outside the ESRF Member or Associate countries. An ESRF scientist may participate in a LTP but not as its spokesperson.

1. Principle

The LTP will undergo a two-step appraisal procedure, the first step being performed by ESRF personnel [such as beamline(s) responsible(s), requested support service responsible(s) and safety officer], and the second carried out by the competent Beamtime Allocation Committee(s).

2. ESRF Internal Appraisal 

The proposal is sent for comments to the beamline(s) responsible(s) , requested support service responsible(s), and the safety officer.

The different comments will be sent back to the beamline responsible, who will collate them and submit them to the concerned Group Head(s) for final approval.

These comments will be attached to the LTP and forwarded for consideration to the Beamtime Allocation Committees at the same time as the LTP.

The comments should address:

(a) safety and technical feasibility issues [safety officer, support service responsible(s), beamline responsible(s)],

(b) the adequateness of the beamtime requested [beamline responsible(s)],

(c) the adequateness of the financial and human resources requested and offered [beamline responsible(s)],

(d) the impact on beamline operation and on normal proposals scheduled for the same beamline [beamline responsible(s)],

(e) the consistency of the LTP with the ESRF Medium-Term Scientific Plan (Group Head).

The ESRF internal appraisal will be prepared during the month after the submission deadline (i.e. from 15 January to 15 February).

3. Beamtime Allocation Committee Appraisal

The LTP and the ESRF appraisal are forwarded jointly to the relevant Beamtime Allocation Committee(s) six weeks after the submission deadline, i.e. by 1st March.

The Committee will review the LTPs at an ad-hoc LTP meeting taking place just before the April general meeting for ESRF beamtime allocation. At this LTP meeting, the Committee(s) will also review the yearly reports of active LTPs.

The Committee can request assistance from the relevant Group Head or Director of Research by asking her/him to participate in the discussion of a specific LTP.

In the same spirit, the Committee Chairman can ask the ESRF via the User Office for external refereeing. In this case the request must be forwarded to the User Office by March 31st of the considered year. The Committee Chairman can indicate the name(s) of suitable external referee(s). The external reports will be forwarded to the Committee Chairman just before the LTP meeting.

The Review Committees, assisted by external referees where appropriate, consider the proposals: they first assign each proposal a grade between 0 and 5 on the basis of scientific merit, 5.5 being the top score. At their meetings, the committees discuss the projects, and arrive at a final grade for each proposal; they also rank the proposals in order of priority for each beamline.

The implementation of a LTP requires yearly reports and a final report. In case of failure to submit a yearly report, the ESRF Management reserves the right to stop the allocation of beamtime to the User group operating the LTP. Failure to submit a final report may affect the acceptance of future LTPs submitted by the User group concerned. Scientific publications and their impact, emerging from the LTP and included in the final report, will be considered a key item in the assessment.

1. General structure of the reports

Both the Yearly Reports and the Final Report will consist of two parts: one submitted by the LTP spokesperson, and one submitted by the relevant beamline responsible(s) after validation by the Group Head concerned.

2. The Yearly Report

2.1. Contents

The two parts of the Yearly Report should highlight the scientific results and the status of the project. They must make reference to the applicable milestones as indicated in the original LTP. Any failure, change in strategy, unexpected problems, etc. must be clearly indicated.

2.2. Routing, schedule and evaluation

The Yearly Report from the LTP spokesperson is submitted to the User Office by 31 January of each year of activity of the proposal; the User Office will then forward it to the relevant beamline responsible. The beamline responsible will review the spokesperson’s report and will complement it according to needs. The beamline responsible submits her/his report to the Group Head for final approval before returning the two reports to the User Office by 15 February. The User Office sends the complete Yearly Report to the relevant Beamtime Allocation Committee by 1st March.

The Beamtime Allocation Committee will comment on the Yearly Report at the LTP meeting in April and will decide on further beamtime for the LTP, or change the allocation if appropriate. The Beamtime Allocation Committee will provide the LTP spokesperson with written feedback on the Yearly Report.

2.3. Use for re-submission

The Yearly Reports may contain elements relevant to a possible renewal of the LTP. They can be used as supporting material for a re-submission, in order to avoid time gaps in beamtime allocation between the end of the LTP and its possible renewal.

3. The Final Report

3.1. Contents

The Final Report shall comment on the success of the LTP, report on the main scientific results and provide a list of the scientific publications that emerged from the LTP and a copy of the key publication. It shall set out the technical accomplishments and the benefits resulting from the LTP for both the LTP User group and the ESRF User community.

3.2. Routing, schedule and evaluation

The LTP spokesperson submits the Final Report to the User Office by 31 January of the year following six months after the last allocation of beamtime. The further routing, schedule, evaluation and feedback is analogous to those of the Yearly Reports.