Proposal Types Available to External Users

General User  – The majority of beam time at the SNS and HFIR is granted through the general user program. General user proposals are solicited and allocated on a periodic basis through proposal calls, which correspond with upcoming run cycles. General user proposals are peer reviewed by the Science Review Committee (SRC), a team of external scientists with expertise in various research fields related to neutron scattering.  The SRC recommends proposals for beam time and provides feedback to the principle investigators. The ORNL Neutron Sciences Beam Allocation Committee designates the final allocations.

Programmatic – Programmatic proposals are submitted as part of the general user program and are initially reviewed by the SRC. The programmatic proposal type is reserved for proposals that require access to beam time for more than one cycle. The proposer must justify why the work cannot be achieved effectively or efficiently with a general user proposal. Examples of justification for programmatic proposals include, but are not limited to, requirements for student theses or specific project performance periods. The SRC recommends the number of days and cycles (not to exceed three years) for programmatic proposals. After the initial approval, programmatic users must submit a progress report during each subsequent proposal call to verify the instrument(s) and days requested for the upcoming cycle, and to provide an experiment update. Progress reports are reviewed and further beam time allocated through an internal review process. 

Mail-In – The mail-in proposal type is for short (up to one day) experiments in which users send samples by mail and NScD staff members collect the data on the user’s behalf. Mail-in mode is only available on selected instruments, including POWGEN, NOMAD, and VISION (and will soon be available on MANDI and IMAGINE). Mail-In proposals may be submitted to IPTS at any time and are reviewed and allocated through an internal review process.

Proof of Principle – Proof of principle, sometimes referred to as proof of concept, is a one-day proposal type for users who want to test the feasibility of a potential experiment prior to submitting a full proposal. Proof of principle proposals may be submitted at any time and are reviewed and allocated through an internal review process.

Sample Alignment – This proposal type is available to NScD staff members and to users with approved proposals on select instruments. It allows a user to align a crystal on HFIR’s CG-1B beam line or SNS’ Laue X-Ray Machine.  Proposals eligible for sample alignment will have a “Create Copy for Sample Alignment” button on the General Information page in proposal detail view in IPTS.

Rapid Access – Rapid Access is not a proposal type but a means for submitting a proposal with the potential for high-impact science at any time outside of the general user proposal call. Users wishing to submit a proposal for rapid access must submit in partnership with an NScD staff member.  After discussing with a staff member, a user may create a general user proposal, which the partnering staff member will then submit. Approved rapid access proposals will run during instrument discretionary time.