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Travel Rules

Travel Rules

Chapter IV: Special Regulations for ESRF Users

From the Official ESRF Travel Regulations

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For the purpose of these regulations, an ESRF User is a scientist or a member of a team carrying out a peer reviewed experiment to which beam time has been allocated. Investigators associated with in-house research experiments will be treated as visitors.

Visitors are persons visiting the ESRF for purposes other than recruitment (e.g. workshops, seminars, invited talks or for time limited scientific tasks).


ESRF Users affiliated to institutions of ESRF contracting parties, and scientific associate and other partner countries, can be subsidised by the ESRF for travel (art 23), accommodation (art 24) and meal expenses (art 25) directly related to the execution of the approved experiment, according to these regulations. 


The ESRF contribution applies to the authorised number of persons per experiment which is typically three (two persons for experiments on the Cryo-EM facility).

For experiments with a red Safety Approval Form and long term projects, where the presence of more than three users is necessary to ensure the effective use of the beamline, reimbursement may be extended to a fourth person participating in the experiment.

!For an offline experiment, the ESRF contribution will be limited to one person.


The ESRF contribution applies for the duration of the X-ray experiment, plus up to three additional days (three days total for offline experiments).

For experiments requiring a longer duration for extra setup time, sample preparation, data and/or sample analysis, etc, the extra costs must normally be borne by the user. A contribution from the beamline IHR budget may be possible if there is a strong IHR involvement in the experiment.


The ESRF contribution is determined and communicated before the experiment, taking into account the ESRF travel regulations, users’ wishes and travel availabilities.
ESRF takes care of the bookings (travel, accommodation, canteen account), unless the user can suggest cheaper alternatives.

When the bookings suggested by the ESRF are not convenient, users may decide to make their own bookings. However, the ESRF contribution will be limited to the cost of the initial ESRF travel quotation.

It is mandatory for users to submit their travel request via SAP Concur prior to the beginning of the experiment.  


ESRF invitations are usually sent more than eight weeks (40 working days) before the experiment start date. It is the responsibility of the Main Proposer of the experiment to submit the A-form in the shortest delay after the invitation is sent by the ESRF. Similarly, it is the user’s responsibility to submit his(her) travel plan in the shortest delay after the submission of the A-form.

No booking for travel and accommodation is made by the ESRF before the submission of the user’s travel plan via SAP Concur.

The travel plan (via SAP Concur) should be submitted more than 20 working days before the arrival date. In this case, the ESRF will do its best to match its travel suggestions to the users’ wishes.


Between 20 and 10 working days before the arrival date:
The ESRF may not be able to accommodate users’ wishes, and will base its contribution on travel availabilities and the most economical costs, which may include travel on different dates and times. If this results in extra nights and meals at the ESRF, these will be covered by the ESRF, even if the maximum number of reimbursed days has already been reached.

Less than 10 working days before the arrival date:
Travel bookings will not be made by the ESRF, nor will they be refunded. Such late registration may also imply delays for the validation of site entrance authorisation, and single rooms at the ESRF guesthouse will only be attributed according to availability.

The application of these late submission conditions is suspended when invitations are sent by the ESRF less than 6 weeks (30 working days) before the experiment start date.


Any deviations from these travel regulations must be agreed in writing (email) in advance by the ESRF User and/or Travel Offices only. In particular, deviations may be approved by the ESRF when the total cost for the whole group is equal to or less than ESRF quotations.

If not specifically treated in these regulations, any case related to User travel shall be decided on a case-by-case basis by the Director of Administration, after discussion with the Travel Office and/or User Office.

The ESRF contribution covers one return trip between the home laboratory and the ESRF via the most direct route.

It does not cover additional administrative costs associated with the travel such as extra travel insurance (the user being already covered by the ESRF insurance when travel is booked by the ESRF), nor extra costs resulting from delays or unforeseen events such as strikes, extreme weather conditions, natural catastrophes, etc.


Collective public transport must be given priority when organising travel, for reasons of economy, limitation of risk of accident, and environmental considerations.

23.1.1  -  Ground transport to airports/stations

The ESRF refunds travel by collective public transport (e.g. bus, coach, shuttle, train, regular shuttle lines from Lyon or Geneva airports and local bus/tram in the Grenoble area). The most economic tickets must be purchased (typically “non-refundable, non-changeable”).

If a private/rental car or taxi is used, the maximum ESRF contribution will be calculated on the basis of the kilometric indemnity rate for non-authorised use of a car (cf. annex 3 § 2 – reduced rate use). Tolls and car park fees are not subject to ESRF contribution.

23.1.2  -  Travel by train

Train tickets should be preferred when the return journey is less than 1 200 km (straight-line distance).

23.1.3  -  Travel by plane

Airplane tickets should be preferred when the return journey is 1 200 km or more, or when the duration of the journey using another means of transport is over 8 hours.

23.1.4  -  Travel by car

a.    Full Rate Use

The use of a car is permitted when two or more reimbursed users involved in the approved experiment are travelling together in the car. In this case, the ESRF contribution is made on the basis of the number of kilometres between the home laboratory and the ESRF, via the most direct route (cf. annex 3 § 1 - full rate use), provided that the user has indicated in the travel plan that this means of transport will be used.

The kilometric indemnity is a fixed allowance (per km) independent of the vehicle used by users, and includes petrol expenses.

In these cases, refund of toll tickets can be made upon presentation of original receipts.

The ESRF contribution is limited to one car for most experiments (with three or less subsidised users), but may be extended to a second car for experiments where there are four subsidised users.

Reimbursement of the associated travel expenses will only be made to one of the subsidised users travelling in the car (no split refund).

b.    Reduced Rate use

Except in the case described in § 23.3, when a car is used for a single reimbursed user involved in the approved experiment, reimbursement is made on the basis of kilometres travelled (cf. annex 3 § 2 – reduced rate use), up to the limit of the equivalent of the price of a 2nd class train ticket or the cheapest economy air ticket.

In these cases, tolls, car-park fees and petrol expenses are not refunded.


The ESRF books the most economical tickets available at the time of the request; these are usually 2nd class train tickets and economy-class flight tickets.

Flight and train tickets are booked as non-changeable, non-refundable.
Train tickets can be booked for a longer distance and plane tickets for a shorter distance than noted in § 23.1, on the condition that the total cost is less expensive (including local transfer).
When requested by the user, the ESRF can book flight tickets with one piece of luggage in hold (at the time of booking; not refunded if paid by the user at the airport); any ancillary fees, such as seat reservations, easy check-in procedures..., are neither subsidised, nor refunded by the ESRF.


In general, extra costs related to the transport of equipment and/or samples are not covered by the ESRF.

However, in the case where a single reimbursed user requests to travel by car rather than public transport for reasons of transporting large or heavy equipment, and provides due justification to the User Office, the ESRF contribution to these costs, if approved, is made on the basis of kilometres travelled according to the conditions described in § 23.1.4a. (cf. annex 3 §1- full rate use). This contribution cannot be cumulated with another full rate use of car, as noted in § 23.1.4.


a.    The ESRF books the most economical tickets available at the time of the request (§ 23.2). Should a user request particular arrangements for personal convenience, travel costs will be reimbursed according to the present regulations and on the basis of the ESRF quotation. Any additional costs must be borne by the user. Nevertheless, exceptions may be made in the case of duly justified medical conditions and/or physical disability (on presentation of a medical certificate), provided that prior written authorisation has been given by the ESRF User Office.

b.    Exceptional contributions may be decided by the ESRF in the case of cancellation or late changes to the experiment session dates if these modifications are required due to a problem identified as being the responsibility of the ESRF (e.g. significant beam loss of beam, broken beamline equipment,…).

In such cases, prior written authorisation must be given by the ESRF User Office.

c.    In the event that all the participants cannot be accommodated at the ESRF Guesthouse, and the experiment requires travel to/from the ESRF outside public transport hours, the group is permitted to request the booking of a rental car for the duration of its stay. If agreed, the ESRF will book and pay for the rental car, but fuel costs are to be borne by the group.

d.    The ESRF refunds Visa costs for reimbursed users affiliated to laboratories in ESRF member or associate member countries. Only Visa costs directly related to the experiment to be carried out at the ESRF are refunded against presentation of a fully justified original receipt in French or English. The reimbursement includes the visa application fee and the basic service fee charged by any official partner of the French authorities (i.e. VFS Global (India and Russia) or CAPAGO (South Africa)).


Users are normally accommodated at the ESRF Guesthouse, booked through the ESRF. When onsite accommodation is not possible, the ESRF books a hotel room in downtown Grenoble.

For both subsidised and non-subsidised users, the duration of the booking will not exceed the number of reimbursed nights/days noted in the invitation letter, except in the case of an authorised extension to the experiment or when the alternative travel booking proposed by the ESRF requires extra nights on site (see 22.6).


The ESRF contribution covers the cost of one bed and breakfast per day for each subsidised user.

Any extra expenses, as well as the Guesthouse invoice for non-subsidised users, must be settled by the user before checking-out.

The user remains fully responsible for any accommodation which is not booked through the ESRF. In these cases, the maximum ESRF contribution corresponds to the cost of bed and breakfast at the onsite Guesthouse at ESRF rates (for subsidised users only).


!The user must notify the ESRF of any booking changes or cancellations as soon as possible.

In case of a “No show” arising through the failure of a user to inform the ESRF in due time, any cancellation charges or other losses invoiced to the ESRF will be deducted from any later reimbursement.


Users from laboratories in the Grenoble area may only be accommodated at the ESRF guesthouse if vacancies are available five days before arrival.

In this case, the duration of the stay is strictly limited to the dates of the experiment and the accommodation costs are not covered by the ESRF user budget.


Users may have lunch and dinner at the onsite ESRF restaurant/cafeteria (open 7/7). The ESRF will not pay for meals purchased elsewhere.


Meal credits for subsidised users are calculated on the basis of the duration of the reimbursed stay, at the level of 2 meals per day plus dinner on the arrival day and lunch on the departure day.

Any additional expenditure is to be borne by the user by purchasing further credits at the cash desk of the ESRF restaurant.

!Remaining meal credits paid by the user must be claimed at the cash desk of the ESRF restaurant before leaving the site.


The ESRF refunds travel expenses paid by the user in accordance with the present regulations (i.e. those not prepaid by the ESRF), travel costs by car (§ 23.1.4) and previously agreed cheaper travel alternatives booked by the user (§ 22.5).

Reimbursement of expenses is paid directly to the user; refunds cannot be made to institutes.

Claims are only processed when all original proof of expenditure has been sent to the ESRF, and once the full personal bank details and address of the user have been provided in the ESRF SMIS User Portal. The reimbursement claim and all original receipts pertaining to that claim must be sent together, electronically if all tickets are electronic and otherwise by post.

!The ESRF will process a maximum of one claim per reimbursed user per experiment.

Further receipts sent after the refund of expenses by the ESRF for the same user and experiment will not be reimbursed.



The reimbursement of expenses incurred must be claimed without delay, in any case not later than one month after the visit and, ideally, before the end of the French fiscal year in which the experiment took place (i.e. before 31 December) in the case where an experiment takes place at the end of the year. Claims submitted outside this period will only be paid further to special authorisation of the ESRF Director of Administration.


All reimbursements are paid by bank transfer. The user is responsible for any charges incurred on his/her own bank account in relation to such transfers. In exceptional cases, when the total amount of the reimbursement does not exceed 80 Euros the reimbursement may be made in cash.

This annex is a reference to Annex 3 of the official ESRF Travel Regulations revised in February 2008.


  Reimbursement rate
Car 0.32 € / km
Motorcycle 0.12 € / km


  Reimbursement rate
Car 0.18 € / km
Motorcycle 0.12 € / km