A Tale of Two Facilities (APS and ATR-NSUF): A Joint Proposal System Susan Barr Strasser, Advanced Photon Source Mary Catherine Thelen, Advanced Test Reactor National Scientific User Facility NUFO Annual Meeting, Administrative Affairs Working Group June 19, 2013
ATR NSUF uses a number of non-INL facilities as part of its program to conduct nuclear energy-related research Dr. Todd Allen, then ATR NSUF Scientific Director, wondered whether this concept could be extended to include other DOE user facilities Dr. Allen suggested that we consider developing a single portal for proposers wanting to perform research using both Office of Science and Nuclear Energy programs and facilities Benefits include – – – –
Increase in the variety of science being performed at facilities Value to DOE—collaborations between offices Simplified process for Users Expanded research options for Users
Agreement Between the Facilities Dr. Allen contacted Dr. Dennis Mills, Argonne Deputy Associate Laboratory Director and Deputy Director of the APS to explore the concept; both agreed this was something to pursue Dr. Allen asked Mary Catherine Thelen (ATR NSUF) to begin working with the APS to develop a process whereby Users could submit a single proposal The process needed to satisfy review and other requirements for both facilities – APS requirements--would be evaluated on the basis of scientific benefit from an APS standpoint – ATR NSUF requirements –must be relevant to Nuclear Energy Program
Developing a Single Portal, or Making it Work
Negotiations began between Mary Catherine and Susan Strasser (APS) – Determined the best way to make this happen is to use the established APS Beam Time Access System rather than creating a new system – Began planning how the process could/should work to ensure that the appropriate reviews were done to satisfy the needs of both facilities
Planning the Process or Into the Maze
Initial steps: – Identified all requirements for both facilities (review process, reviewers, necessary information for each facility) – Identified relevant individuals from each facility to explore options – Looked at process flow (FLOW CHART, FLOW CHART, FLOW CHART)! Next steps: – Set up conference calls (many…) to discuss process and requirements – Created a requirements document – Put together a prototype system and tested it
The Almighty Flowchart!
The System In Brief User registers with the APS to obtain a badge number to submit a proposal User checks ATR link on first proposal page A new Tab with ATR-required information appears An automatic e-mail is sent to ATR with a link to the full proposal ATR reviews and sends comments and approval or denial If ATR approves, proposal follows established APS review and allocation process If proposal is allocated beam time at the APS, the real fun begins… – Shipping issues, sample containment issues, safety issues are discussed with APS Safety staff and Beamline staff – And that brings us to THE PILOT TEST!
Proposal Form Clicking yes to the question: “Does your research require a sample from the ATR-NSUF library?” brings up a new tab on the APS proposal form.
ATR tab contains information needed for ATR review and boxes for ATR reviewers to enter comments and approval to proceed through APS review. 8
Proposal Form (cont.d)
The Pilot Test
or Can You Hear Me Now? Selected two Users familiar with the APS system to try the new process Both successfully submitted proposals to APS requesting samples from ATR NSUF Sample Library The APS system successfully notified ATR NSUF staff electronically about the proposal ATR NSUF Chief Scientist performed a relevance review and determined which samples could be used for this research ATR NSUF notified APS to proceed with their review Both proposals selected for spring beamline allocation Both Users performed their research
What did We Learn? What worked well: – From the researchers perspectives, having access to irradiated samples provided a spectacular opportunity to perform challenging/cuttingedge research – From the Facilities’ perspective, the call and review processes worked as planned
What did We Learn? (continued)
What did not work well: – Users had challenges with a number of issues including sample preparation, not having activity level data on the samples in a timely manner, and completion of APS safety forms – APS had challenges obtaining the necessary information on the samples from ATR NSUF – ATR NSUF had challenges understanding the specific requirements on sample preparation for each experiment
What did We Learn? (continued)
Next Steps: – ATR NSUF is creating a form for Users that will help them understand the specific sample preparation needs to reduce confusion and last minute effort to get samples ready to ship – ATR NSUF will prepare a specific Sample Library for samples that can be used on the APS beamline to reduce difficulties with radioactivity levels of ATR NSUF samples – APS will provide drawings that ATR NSUF can include with the Sample Library so Users have an idea of what is needed 13
Summary Performing cooperative research between scientific user facilities not only benefits Users and provides the opportunity to offer more diversity in research, but by optimizing government resources shows Congress that DOE is committed to making the best use of these national assets … BUT, making it work to the benefit of the USERS needs careful attention to details at every level and excellent co-operation between the staff from all facilities!
Contacts Susan Barr Strasser Senior Advisor APS User Programs Advanced Photon Source (630) 443-6640 [email protected]
Mary Catherine Thelen Program Administrator ATR National Scientific User Facility (208) 526-5209 [email protected]