2017 January 25 - March 7
2017 March 15 - April 24
2017 May 17 - June 29
2017 Proposal deadline: 03/20/17
2017 BTR deadline: 04/17/17
2017 October 11 - December 21
2017 Proposal deadline: 08/01/17
2017 BTR deadline: 09/10/17
Step One: Understanding Beamline Capabilities
Look at the Beamline capabilities webpage.
- Contact a Staff Scientist to discuss your research (the CHESS User Office will also get you in touch with the appropriate Staff Scientist):
- What is the research problem?
- Which station(s) are appropriate?
- How mature is the research project (risk, size)? Has this been tried on a home source?
- What is the material - sample composition, form, size, availability?
- What are the experimental conditions (temperature, pressure, etc.)?
- What will be measured?
- Probability of success? Impact? Significance?
- How will results be presented and to whom?
- What is the timeline?
Step Two: The Proposal Questions
- Title: Pick a good Title, specific and to the point is better than vague.
- Schedule: The Standard proposal is good for 2 years so you should estimate the number of 8 hours shifts your group will need over the course of a 2 year period. If you just put in 1 shift it tells the reviewer that you have not put much thought into your experimental plan. Likewise asking for 900 shifts tells the reviewer you're also not thinking about your experimental plan.
- Investigators: Show your collaborators that will be recognized in future publications especially if your group is less experienced but you are working with a more experienced collaborator. This will add to the experience level the reviewer will award.
- Funding Sources: How well is your group funded? If you put nothing here and you are a new group that is expected, but please keep in mind to keep this information updated with each new proposal. Funding comes with expertise of the group. If you are a student completing the proposal don't skip over this.
- Station and techniques: Covered in Step One.
- Specimens and Materials: Very important to the CHESS Safety Committee. Be complete. The act of being vague on specimens and materials wastes hours of safety committee members time and delays proposals in review.
- Material Declaration: Answer all questions in their entirety. CHESS is a national lab, what may seem to be normal use in your lab is not here. Keep in mind that samples that can be prepared off site and brought to CHESS in sealed containers are much easier to process by the CHESS Safety Committee. If you will be doing sample prep at CHESS and you are working with solvents or other hazards it is important that you provide safety procedures. Have a conversation with the Staff Scientist involved about samples and sample prep.
- Scientific Justification: Briefly explain the background and significance of why your experiment is interesting and important (scientifically technologically or educationally). The reviewer(s) are not necessarily an expert in your subject. List the specific aims and particular questions you want to answer. Avoid broad discussions in general terms.
- Experimental Plan: Clearly state what you want to measure and how, so that the technical feasibility of this experiment can be evaluated by the Staff Scientist and reviewer. If you have previous results from other experiments include them. Provide a plan, with a series of experiments planned out, this proposal is good for 2 years. The reviewer needs to judge if the experiment is feasible and justified at CHESS.
Step Three: Common Reviewer Comments
"Too little information, not enough information to review this proposal." The proposal submitted had a 3 sentence paragraph for scientific abstract and no experimental plan.
How is my proposal peer reviewed?
- A peer review is conducted on your proposal by outside reviewers (2-3) and an average final score will be assigned to the proposal upon completion of the review(s). Your average score will be on a scale of 1-4, 1 being excellent and 4 being poor. The areas in which your proposal will be scored are:
- Scientific and or Technical Merit
- Need for CHESS Capabilities
- Experimental Plan Details
- Expertise of Group (in both x-ray methods and science subject areas)
Below is a snapshot of the reviewer score sheet:
- Scientific and/or Technical Merit
- Excellent - Results will be considered impactful and important - ambitious and innovative
- Very Good - Will advance scientific knowledge, methods, and/or address critical questions
- Good - Research contributes to scientific and/or technical knowledge base
- Poor - Proposed research has no clear importance or originality
- Need for CHESS Capabilities
- Excellent - CHESS facilities and capabilities essential to obtain experimental results
- Very Good - Well documented need for existing facilities and capabilities
- Good - Appropriate use of existing facilities and capabilities
- Poor - Routine use of existing facilities and methods or poorly demonstrated need
- Experimental Plan Details
- Thorough - Uses established facilities/methods or addresses all phases of a successful experiment (preparation, data collection/analysis, theory/calculations, etc.)
- Detailed - Provides a detailed description of most aspects of the experiment
- Adequate - Reasonable outline of experimental needs provided
- Insufficient - Too little detail to evaluate needs and/or predict successful completion
- Expertise of Group (in both x-ray methods and science subject area)
- Extensive - Very experienced group with extensive history of successful outcomes
- Experienced - Group with proven track record of successes
- Gaining - Group has experience and demonstrated competence
- Novice - Group lacks experience or did not provide evidence of outcomes