Advanced Photon Source Scientific Advisory Committee Meeting
January 25-27, 2005
The meeting included two days of information, updates, and discussions of the APS strategic planning process and user access modes, as well as formulation of specific recommendations to the APS for the eight sectors reviewed during 2004, two letters of intent, and the two sectors asked to provide further information to the SAC. In addition, a half day was spent in a cross-cut review of research that requires the pulsed structure of the APS x-ray beam. This summary covers everything except the cross-cut review, which will be described in a separate review report.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
The Tuesday session began with Chairman Mike Rowe outlining expectations for the meeting: He indicated that the SAC would need to formulate final recommendations to the APS for 10 sectors and two letters of intent, conduct a cross-cut scientific review, discuss the APS strategic and XOR tactical plans and provide advice, and review the APS General and Partner Users programs to determine if the APS has the correct spectrum of user access modes.
Murray Gibson, Associate Laboratory for Scientific User Facilities at ANL and Director of the APS, began with a brief tribute to Howard Birnbaum, founding member of the APS Program Evaluation Board (the precursor to the APS SAC), who died unexpectedly on January 24. Gibson then reviewed APS activities during calendar year 2004, touching on scientific highlights, APS organization, budget issues, reviews, metrics to assess APS status and progress, strategic planning, and user access. He indicated that time had been set aside later in the meeting for a comprehensive discussion of both the APS strategic plan and the tactical reorganization of APS-managed sectors, as well as for a discussion of user access via the General and Partner User routes.
Cross-Cut Reviews (2004, 2005, 2006):
Deputy Director for the APS, Dennis Mills, reviewed the purpose for cross-cut reviews, then led a discussion of the 2004 process and review report. The SAC reiterated its comments on the value of this type of review process and again stressed that for effective reviews, a framework should be set with an opening talk and presenters need to present their work in a wider context (comparing their work to that at other beamlines at the APS, as well as at other facilities). Possible topics for the 2006 review (magnetism, macromolecular crystallography, high-pressure techniques and science, ferroelectricity, surfaces) were reviewed and discussed, but no final decision was made. Gibson agreed to recommend an appropriate topic and finalize it in conjunction with the new SAC Chair, Pierre Wiltzius, who begins his term as chair following the January 2005 SAC meeting.
CY 2004 Sector Reviews:
Following the cross-cut review discussion, the SAC addressed the 2004 sector reviews and formulated the specific recommendations for the following Sectors: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 18, 31, 33, and 34.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
APS/XOR Strategic Planning:
Gibson briefly reviewed the APS Strategic Plan, then Gabrielle Long discussed how the facilities managed by the APS could be more effectively used. She presented an overall plan to centralize capabilities and create more dedicated beamlines by moving some capabilities and constructing several new beamlines. She emphasized that “dedicated” means several things: dedicated to a single technique, dedicated to a suite of techniques for a single scientific discipline, or dedicated to having multiple capabilities where proof-of-concept experiments could be conducted.
SAC members asked a number of questions about priorities, requested information on scientific interactions between the APS and the planned Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), and suggested other topics, such as detector development, that could be incorporated into the planning process. Eric Isaacs, Director of the CNM, joined the SAC members to describe the vision for APS/CNM user interaction; Isaacs indicated that discussions on this topic take place regularly with Gabrielle Long and Murray Gibson. Ultimately, the SAC recommended that the APS Strategic Plan be renamed the APS Vision and that the XOR Tactical Plan be expanded to incorporate all APS sectors and capabilities; it could then be considered the actual APS strategic plan. Overall, the SAC validated the process used to develop these plans and agreed that, although the plans are works in progress, it is comfortable with what has been done thus far. Gibson agreed to keep SAC members informed as these documents are revised and expanded.
Thursday, January 26, 2005
User Access Modes:
The discussion of user access modes (General and Partner User) at the APS began with a presentation by Keith Brister, Chair of the General User Program Evaluation Committee. This group, under the auspices of the APS Users Organization, conducted a comprehensive study of the General User Program. Brister reported that overall users are comfortable with the program as it is; only minor changes should be made. The most significant recommendation was to eliminate the two types of proposals (individual and program) and establish a single proposal type, which would remain active for one year and against which multiple requests for beam time could be made.
Brister's presentation was followed by a brief description by Dennis Mills of the APS Partner User Program. (Background materials and questions had already been furnished to SAC members prior to the meeting.) After considerable discussion, SAC members agreed that although tweaks to the access modes should probably be made, no major changes are needed or desired. They recommended that an agreement be reached on disposition of equipment developed during Partner User proposal (PUP) beam time before the PUP begins. Exclusive use of this equipment should be granted to the proposers during PUP time, but some benefit must accrue to General Users after a PUP ends. The APS agreed to work out details, create a new policy statement, and circulate it to the SAC. The SAC agreed to retain the process for review of limited-scope PUPs (review by a screening committee with a decision made by the Associate Laboratory Director). Letters of Intent for a full beamline or sector will be sent for peer review then discussed by the entire SAC. The screening committee for 2005 will consist of Pierre Wiltzius, Denis McWhan, and Jim Norris, with representatives from the APS Users Organization, Partner User Council, and Office of the Associate Laboratory Director.
Letters of Intent:
Multiplexed Microdiffraction/Microspectroscopy Station
The SAC reviewed Sector Review Panel comments and formulated a recommendation to the APS. X-ray Bio-Analysis to the Nanoscale (X-BAN-CDT) The SAC feels this Letter of Intent (LOI) has considerable scientific merit and recommends that it be sent immediately for scientific peer review. If the peer reviews are positive, the Principal Investigator should be invited to submit a full proposal by August 1, 2005, to enable peer reviews of this proposal to be obtained prior to the 2006 SAC meeting.
Next SAC meeting:
The next meeting of the full Scientific Advisory Committee will be held on January 24-26, 2006.