Macromolecular Crystallography NON-BAG Proposal

GUIDELINES for preparing
a Beamtime Application for a Structural Biology Rolling Proposal

No submission deadline


This type of proposal must ONLY be used for APPLICATION FOR BEAM TIME FOR STRUCTURAL BIOLOGY EXPERIMENTS on the Structural Biology beamlines ID23 - ID29 - BM29 - ID30 - BM14U and BM30A.

Applications for Beam Time on OTHER BEAMLINES than the Structural Biology beamlines mentioned above should use the STANDARD Proposal Form and select "Life Science" (LS) as research area.


In this page:

Types of rolling applications
Joint ESRF/ILL experiments (SANS-SAXS)
General instructions
Experimental method form
Electronic sample sheet
Safety information
Electronic submission: steps

Two types of Rolling Applications may be made:

  • For Crystallography experiments: on beamlines ID23 - ID29 - ID30 - BM14U and BM30A, 

  • For Biological SAXS (BioSAXS) experiments: on beamline BM29

  • Rolling applications for Structural Biology beamtime can be submitted at any time during the year.

by scientists who are NOT already members of a MX BAG Proposal,

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SANS-SAXS Experiments (Joint ESRF/ILL Experiments)

In order to improve access to the complementary techniques of SAXS and SANS, users submitting a SANS proposal to the ILL have the option to ask (on the proposal form) for complementary SAXS measurements on the instrument BM29 through the PSB SANS Platform. If the proposal is awarded beam time at the ILL, the proposers are invited to submit a "Rolling Access" proposal to the ESRF for Bio-SAXS time and the related ILL proposal number is given on the proposal form and in the email notification of submission, thereby identifying it as a "Joint Proposal".

If the proposals are awarded beam time at both the ILL and the ESRF, every effort will be made to schedule the experiments in such a way that SAXS and SANS data can be collected on the same samples during one visit to the EPN site.

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General instructions

Consult our document "Advice on writing a good proposal"

An Application for beam-time for a Rolling Proposal has two parts:

  • the electronic "Standard Beamtime Application Form"
  • the "Experimental Method form" (word document to be downloaded)


  • Proposals must be written in English.
  • All sections of the form must be filled in. Particular attention should be given to the safety aspects, and the name and characteristics of the substance(s) completed carefully. Please respect the space available on the form.
  • An experimental report on previous measurements - including experiments on CRG beamlines - must be submitted electronically before subsequent requests for beam time are made, using the Experimental Report Form. Please mention on your new beamtime application form the experiment(s) for which you have submitted report(s);
  • Requests for beam time are based on shifts of 8 hours. Allocations of beam time will usually be made in multiples of 3 shifts.
  • Multiple Requests: Fill in a separate beamtime application form for each experiment or project.

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Experimental Method Form

1. Aim of the experiment and scientific background

State clearly the aim of the proposed experiment together with the general and specific scientific background; give results of preliminary work carried out with synchrotron radiation and/or other methods.

2. Experimental method

Describe the arrangements which will be made for the reception, preparation, use and disposal of the sample.

Describe the experimental set-up and requirements, in some detail. Queries concerning the feasibility (technical or safety aspects) of an experiment should be clarified with ESRF staff before the proposal is submitted. The User Office can assist you to find the most appropriate person.

3. Results expected

Describe the results expected from the measurements, their scientific (or technical) relevance, and how they relate to existing work on the topic.

4. Concluding remarks

Justify the beam time you request and give technical reasons which make the ESRF necessary for your experiment.

Include REFERENCES where these are relevant, but do not assume that they will be systematically consulted for essential details.

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Electronic Sample Sheet

Full details of the sample(s) contained in all structural biology proposals should also be provided to the ESRF at the time of submission of the beamtime application form. For each new structural biology proposal submitted, the main proposer (or one of the co-proposers) should complete and submit one Sample Sheet per sample mentioned in the proposal. The electronic Sample Sheet is accessible via the ESRF User Portal (SMIS).

Failure to provide this information in the correct format will mean an application will NOT be accepted.

Further to the completion and submission of Sample Sheets per proposal, a list of Sample Sheets is created for each submitted proposal.

The information is communicated to the Joint Safety Officer for Biology and the Beamline Operation Managers in order to provide them with the maximum of information on new proposals. This will help the Safety Group to define the level of risk associated to each sample, and will aid the Beamline Operation Managers in calculating the amount of beam-time each proposal requires.

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Safety information

Who to contact:

  • the Experimental Safety Officer: Martine MORONI
    Tel: +33 (0)4 7688.2369
    Fax: +33 (0)4 7688.2418
  • the Joint Safety Officer for Biology:  Véronique Mayeux
    Tel: +33 (0)4 76 88 22 03

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The Electronic Submission is done through the ESRF User Portal (SMIS). You will require your ESRF login (last name) and personal password to login to the application. If you are registered in the ESRF data base but you have forgotten your personal password, kindly contact the User Office by e-mail (user office). If you are not yet in the ESRF data base, you will be able to create your own user account and to access the proposal submission application.

IMPORTANT: Should you run into difficulties submitting your proposal electronically contact the User Office who will give you instructions to proceed with the electronic submission of your proposal.

Access to the electronic application form for beam time:

  • tab "Proposals/Experiments"
  • >> select: "Proposals" in the drop-down list
  • tab "New Proposal"


What to do?

  • SELECT "Structural Biology Rolling Proposal": a drop-down list gives the option between:

    * a Crystallography Proposal

    * a BioSAXS Proposal
  • COMPLETE and SUBMIT your electronic beamtime application form: data registered in this proposal (details for the main-proposer, the co-proposer(s), proposal title, beamline(s) and shifts requested,...) is submitted directly into an ESRF data base;

    Once saved, the recently submitted proposal is given a REFERENCE NUMBER and registered for further process under the tab "Proposals in Progress". It can be modified until  the validation by the main proposer.

  • COMPLETE the Experimental Method form using one of the available templates, and SAVE it in your local folder:

    MS Word for WINDOWS

    Please note that the length of the experimental method form is limited by 2 pages of A4 format, and the font height should not be smaller than 12 pt. The size should not exceed 3 MB. Proposals which do not respect these rules will automatically be rejected by the review Committee. It can be modified until  the validation by the main proposer.

    Via the ESRF User Portal (SMIS) (tab "Proposals/Experiments" -> "Proposals" -> "Proposals in Progress")
  • DOWNLOAD the Experimental Method file of your proposal and SUBMIT IT (the application accepts ONLY the PDF format): it will be automatically linked to your electronic beamtime application form.

    A PDF file of your complete proposal is issued by the application: please CHECK IT carefully before you validate it.
  • COMPLETE and SUBMIT the "Sample Information and Safety Sheet" for your new proposal

    The submission of AT LEAST one Sample Sheet is MANDATORY to allow the validation of the proposal by the main proposer


How to modify your proposal?

The proposal can be modified by the main proposer ONLY BEFORE the validation of the proposal by the main proposer (next step). Once validated by the main proposer it is not anymore possible to modify it.


    The submission of your new proposal will NOT be complete unless you validate it.


    * with the validation of the proposal by the main proposer, the proposal is given a FINAL NUMBER which is of the type: MX-###. An automatic notification will inform the ESRF staff and the MX Review Committee members who will grade the proposal within the 3 weeks following the submission of the proposal.

    * the proposal will be registered under the tab "Proposals with Final Number / Experiments"



    Once validated by the main proposer and registered with its FINAL NUMBER, a proposal cannot be anymore modified by the main proposer

Acknowledgement your proposal

The User Office acknowledges the submission of the proposal by e-mail.