Types of beamtime

Different routes to get beam time at ISIS

We offer a range of ways to request beam time on ISIS instruments: Direct access, Rapid access, Xpress access and access for industry. Further details of each can be found here.

A  short guide to ISIS beamtime access routes is available.

Direct Access

Direct access is suitable for all ISIS experiments. Proposals are submitted to two calls for proposals each year with deadlines 16 April and 16 October. All direct access proposals are peer reviewed by the ISIS Facility Access Panels (FAPs) which meet around six weeks after the proposal deadline.  Proposals which are allocated beamtime are scheduled by ISIS scientists normally between 3 months and 8 months after the proposal deadline, depending on ISIS run cycles.

Rapid Access

When beamtime is needed more rapidly than is possible through the Direct Access route, you can submit a Rapid Access proposal. There are a variety of reasons why Rapid Access might be needed: a new material that has been discovered; samples with short lifetimes; PhD student or post-doc needing beamtime before their project ends; etc.

Rapid access beamtime proposals can be submitted at any time and will be peer reviewed by members of the Facility Access Panels (FAPs). Proposals allocated time will be scheduled as soon as possible.

It is essential to discuss a Rapid Access proposal with the relevant ISIS scientist before submission, to ensure that beamtime is available and that the requirements of the experiment are not too complicated to enable rapid access.

Xpress access

The ISIS Xpress service is ideal for straightforward, short measurements which are run on your behalf by an ISIS scientist.  The measurement may be needed to provide a 1-off crystal structure, or to demonstrate a sample's suitability before full allocation of beamtime, or a single measurement to finish off an experiment.

Xpress measurements need to be simple, with no complicated sample environment or safety cases needed.

There is no advance peer review for this service, and your beamtime proposal does not require a science case. Samples are sent by courier to ISIS for measurement and fully reduced and corrected high-quality data, ready for analysis, will be provided in return. You are expected to carry out data analysis with minimal assistance from ISIS.

Xpress access is in principle available on any ISIS instrument, although some instruments currently offer dedicated days when Xpress proposals are run. It is essential to contact the relevant ISIS scientist before submitting an Xpress request to discuss suitability.

Details of Xpress on specific instruments are given here:

Commercial or Industrial Access

UK private sector researchers can use ISIS via the normal proposal routes above in collaboration with an academic partner.

ISIS also runs a dedicated scheme for industrial or commerical access. Please see the ISIS Industry page for more details.

Programme Access

The Programme Access route is no longer available to new requests.  Instead, we encourage all users to make clear in their proposal science case the relevance of their proposal to their wider research programme, including sources of support such as grants or industry sponsorship, or funding for students.

Existing approved programmes will run as agreed to their completion.

Using STFC facilities

All UK academics are entitled to use STFC facilities as we have standard terms and conditions across all STFC facilities.

Bookmark and Share
Skip to the top of the page