Office of Science
User Access

Proposal Guidance for Fiscal Year 2011

Published February 12, 2011.

Resources are extremely limited for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 (through September 30, 2011). Before beginning any General or Rapid Access proposal, please contact the appropriate Capability Lead based on your resource needs. Capabilities and contact information are detailed on EMSL's website at

An EMSL user proposal requires a lot of detailed information for a thorough peer and management review. The Proposal Planning document will walk you through the information needed to complete the web-based proposal form via the User Portal and help you track your progress. Conformance to the instructions provided below is required and will be strictly enforced. Proposals that are not consistent with these instructions will be returned without review. Proposers responding to periodic Calls are encouraged to submit early to allow time for resubmittal should the proposal be rejected during the initial triage.

Please Note: While anyone can write and submit the proposal on behalf of the research team, postdocs and students may not serve as primary authors.

Proposal Examples

Format of the Proposal

Adherence to type size and line spacing requirements is necessary to ensure that no proposer will have an unfair advantage by using smaller type or line spacing to provide more text in the proposal.

  1. Proposal Pagination Instructions
    The User Portal will not automatically paginate the separate files. The proposer must individually paginate each section of the proposal prior to uploading it in the User Portal.
  2. Proposal Font, Margin, and Spacing Requirements
    1. Font size:
      1. 11 points (or larger for headings)
        Note: A font size of less than 11 points may be used for mathematical formulas or equations, or for figure, table, or diagram captions and when using a Symbol font to insert Greek letters or special characters.
    2. Spacing:
      1. Margins, in all directions, must be at least one inch.
      2. No more than five lines of text should be used within a vertical space of one inch.
      3. Line spacing (single-spaced, double-spaced, etc.) is at the discretion of the proposer; however, established page limits must be followed.
      4. Use only a single-column format for the text.
    3. File formats:
      1. Adobe (.pdf), or Word (.doc or .docx)

Project Description

Describe your research plan for using EMSL resources (maximum of 4 pages). Visual materials, including charts, graphs, maps, photographs and other pictorial presentations are included in the 4-page limitation. A separate abstract will be required as part of the online proposal form, and will be provided to the reviewers as part of your proposal package. The abstract does not count against your 4-page limit and should not be included in your Project Description.

Remember to write the Project Description at a level appropriate for someone familiar with the general area of your research, but not necessarily an expert on the specific topic.

The Project Description must include the following sections:


In addition to your Project Description file, the following files are required in the order listed below:

  1. Addendum 1: References (optional)
    References should not be embedded in the text but should be submitted as an additional file. Reference information is required. Each reference must include the names of all authors (in the same sequence in which they appear in the publication), the article and journal title, book title, volume number, page numbers, and year of publication. If the document is available electronically, the website address also should be identified. Proposers must be especially careful to follow accepted scholarly practices in providing citations for source materials relied upon when preparing any section of the proposal. While there is no established page limitation for the references, this section must include bibliographic citations only and must not be used to provide parenthetical information outside of the 4-page Project Description.
  2. Addendum 2: CV's
    Attach abbreviated CV's (2-page maximum each) for the PI and each of the key investigators that would support the review of the team's qualifications for the research proposed (Criterion 2).
  3. Addendum 3: EMSL Resources
    Include a table of resources requested for the first year of your project (instruments and staff support), including the number of samples, units requested, the period of use, the expertise of team members who will be using the resource(s), and requested EMSL staff support.

    "Units Requested" can be instrument hours, node-hours for the supercomputer, or gigabytes for data archive storage. If you're uncertain about the number of hours to request, select "1", and EMSL management will adjust your request based on your Project Description. See the table below for examples.
Resource # of Samples Units Requested (specify unit) Period of Use Project Team Expertise EMSL Support Requested
XPS Quantera 15 720 hours 6 two-day slots every 2 months Will send postdoc but needs training to operate Analysis of data
X-Ray Diffraction, Microbeam 50 100 hours 2-week visit None Operator and analysis
Accelerator 5 100 hours 4 cycles, 3 days each over 3 months Expert user None
Chinook NA 75,000 node-hours   Expert user None
LTQ-Orbitrap 15 1 March-April Analysis Operator and AMT tags
  1. Addendum 4: Suggested Reviewers or Reviewers Not to Include (optional)
    Proposers may include a list of suggested reviewers who they believe are especially well qualified to review the proposal. Proposers also may designate persons they would prefer not review the proposal, indicating why. These suggestions are optional. The Capability Lead handling the proposal considers the suggestions and may contact the proposer for further information. The decision whether or not to use the suggestions remains with the Capability Lead.


Read the EMSL Proposal Review Criteria to assist in targeting your research description.

User Support Office: , 509-371-6003