How to Get Beamtime


There are a number of ways to request time on the beamlines at the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology, and we hope that some of these options will meet your research needs. Please note that prior to using the beamlines, new users will need to complete proprietary and/or non-proprietary user agreements and provide advance funding for any proprietary beam time. See our Proprietary/Non-proprietary page for additional information.

HHMI Investigator Time

If you are an HHMI Investigator you may schedule time on beamlines 8.2.1 and 8.2.2 without submitting a research proposal. Check the BUDS schedule for open shifts, and e-mail the BCSB Scheduler ( with your requested dates. No single request should exceed six shifts. Non-local users can request a maximum of nine shifts. Requests for additional time may be granted under special circumstances, subject to the approval of the beamline scientist.72-Hour Rule: Open HHMI shifts will be held for Investigators’ use up to 72 hours prior to the start of beam time. If the slots have not been reserved three days before, the time will be made available to any users on a first-come, first-served basis.

New HHMI Beamline Users: The BCSB invites new HHMI Investigators to try out the HHMI beamlines. Please e-mail your request for beam time to the BCSB Scheduler ( and we will be happy to help you get started. Please note that new HHMI users must have a non-proprietary user agreement in place prior to the start of beam time.

General User Time

The 6-month General User Proposal (GUP) process accommodates Users who want to establish an ongoing program of work with the Advanced Light Source (ALS), or carry out a single experiment requiring more beamtime than is available through the RAPIDD program (up to 3 shifts per submitted proposal).

The ALS has two deadlines for the 6-month proposals: the first Weds in September for the January-July operating cycle, and the first Wednesday in March for the August-December operating cycle. In contrast, the ALS accepts RAPIDD proposals anytime, and the notification of the result takes 2-3 weeks. The RAPIDD process accommodates Users requiring limited but rapid access to beamtime.

Both proposal processes also apply for users wishing to participate in the BCSB’s Collaborative Crystallography program.

Participating Research Team (PRT)

PRT members are companies or academic groups who have purchased beamtime on the sector 5 beamlines (5.0.1, 5.0.2 and 5.0.3). PRT members receive priority over general users in requesting beamtime, and may at any time ask to be moved to the top of the waiting list for cancelled or unused time.The appropriate fully executed ALS User agreements must be in place prior to beam time. Both PRT funding and any applicable proprietary funding must be received by LBNL at least five business days in advance of beam time.

If you would like reserved beam time on an on-going basis and if you are interested in becoming a Participating Research Team (PRT) in the BCSB, please contact the BCSB Head, Corie Ralston, for additional information.

Collaborative Crystallography

In order to provide both expert and non-expert academic users more extended service, a Collaborative Crystallography program is available for non-proprietary users of the sector 5 beam lines. In this program, users send crystals to an expert crystallographer on staff, who collects data, processes data, and can also solve structures and help write journal articles. Note that proposals in this program must first be approved through the General User proposal system.

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