Apply for Beam Time at HFIR and SNS

Apply for Beam Time at HFIR and SNS

Use Neutrons in Your Research

Beam time is granted through our general user program, which is open to all. In addition, we have opportunities for extended collaboration through programs such as internships and postdoctoral programs.

The instruments at HFIR and SNS can be used free of charge with the understanding that researchers will publish their results, making them available to the scientific community. Our facilities are also available for proprietary research for a fee.

User Responsibilities

Safety: Safe operations are integral to the ORNL mission, as practiced in the Integrated Safety Management System. A user must agree to adhere to all relevant safety requirements and to complete all user training deemed necessary by a given facility.

User Agreements: USDOE requires that its ORNL operating contractor (UT-Battelle) and the institution of each user who accesses its User Facilities sign, in advance, a standard agreement dealing with such topics as intellectual property, liability, site access, safety, and publications. The User Agreement is not project-specific and it applies to virtually all of an institution's approved proposals at ORNL's designated User Facilities. If an applicable agreement does not already exist, the user or institution will receive an agreement and instructions from the ORNL Sponsored Research Office (useragmt@ornl.gov)

(The NScD User Office and UTB Office of Technology Transfer will initiate preparation of these agreements for approved proposals, if the agreements do not already exist.)

Intent to Publish: As a condition for performing nonproprietary research, the U.S. Dept of Energy requires users to publish results from their research. Authorship of publications based on research from these facilities should reflect the normal considerations of recognizing collaborations. It is also important to take into account the considerable efforts of the instrument scientists in their role of designing, constructing, and/or operating the instrument and related facilities. Results are typically published in peer-reviewed journals, proceedings, or presentations at technical conferences. Proprietary users are not required to publish.

Credit Line: Each facility [SNS or HFIR] should be acknowledged with this required statement:

[A portion of] This research at ORNL's High Flux Isotope Reactor [and/or Spallation Neutron Source, as appropriate] was sponsored by the Scientific User Facilities Division, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, U.S. Department of Energy.

Please submit bibliographic information for your publications via the Publications Portal

ORNL User Portal

The ORNL User Portal gives you access to all the resources you need as a new or returning user, such as the proposal system, data access and analysis systems, sample handling information, and visitor information. Simply create an account to have your own personalized portal every time you visit our site.

Submitting a Proposal to Conduct Research


Before submitting a proposal for a specific instrument, please contact the appropriate instrument scientist to make sure your research is feasible for that instrument. Information about the instruments available during each call is available on the instrument pages.


The Proposal Review Process

All proposals are reviewed and rated for feasibility, safety, and the potential for high-impact science. Submittors are highly encouraged to read the details of the review and ratings process. Users for approved projects must complete access and training requirements prior to beginning experiments.

NOTICE – Scheduling and Travel

The Neutron Sciences Directorate (NScD) is committed to ensuring that the HFIR and SNS neutron sources and beam line equipment are available to users in accordance with published schedules. However, there may be occasions when the neutron sources and/or beam line equipment are not available as planned.

When user beam time is lost due to neutron source or beam line system issues, the NScD is committed to actively working with users to reschedule beam time in a timely manner to minimize impact to the affected users. However, to minimize overall user community impact, it is generally necessary to maintain the schedule for unaffected experiments.

In accordance with our sponsor’s policies, please be aware that ORNL and NScD cannot reimburse users for travel expenses that they may incur should the neutron source or beam line not be available. Therefore, we suggest that users only purchase refundable transportation tickets.

The EPSCoR Travel Fellowship provides financial support to individuals from the EPSCoR states traveling to ORNL for the purposes of participating in events related to neutron scattering. The fellowship is awarded competitively through the submission of an application to the JINS director after participation in the event has been confirmed. Individuals who have been awarded beam time at SNS and HFIR are strongly encouraged to apply for the fellowship soon after beam time has been allocated. More information…

User Office Contacts

User Office neutronusers@ornl.gov 865.574.4600
User Program Manager Laura Morris Edwards 865.574.2966
Proposal Coordinator Janell Thomson 865.576.2281
User Facilities Analyst Gabrielle Boudreau 865.574.6612
User Training & Access Robbie DeJarnette 865.574.6931
  Lisa Grace 865.576.8582
  Sharon Lantz 865.576.1865
  Linda McDaniel 865.241.3675