APS General User Proposal
System Instructions for Proposers

version 3.0
January 27, 2012



Instructions available separately for:

General User Program: gu_program@aps.anl.gov, 630-252-9090
Technical assistance: mis_mgrs@aps.anl.gov


Part 1 : Introduction

What Does the System Do?

You can use the APS General User Proposal System to

  • Prepare your proposal, in several working sessions if necessary.
  • Submit your final proposal to the APS.
  • View your proposal at any time after you have submitted it.

Who Can Access My Proposal?

A proposal can be viewed and edited by the individual listed as the spokesperson and by any collaborator identified on the proposal by an APS badge number. In addition, because this system is used to track proposals through the review and allocation stages, proposal data will also be visible to

  • APS upper management
  • User Office staff
  • Certain staff members of each beamline selected
  • The reviewers selected to evaluate the proposal
  • The beam time allocation committees.

To Contents

What Do I Really Have to Know?


Save. You can save a proposal and return to it at another session (see Part 4 ). However, once you submit the proposal you cannot make further changes.

Name lookup. In the Experimenters data-entry screen, you can automatically insert contact information for experiment participants who are already badged APS users. Click the "Find" link next to the field you want to fill in. See Part 5 for details.

File attachments. You can attach files with additional information, e.g., figures, tables, etc. Please provide these materials in PDF format, because it is universally viewable.

Work on multiple beamlines. The Beamtime Request screen permits you to make separate requests for different beamlines, e.g., to perform different techniques. You must make a compelling case within the proposal for why such a split request is justified.

Quick search. On the search criteria screen, if you click "Submit Query" without specifying any other criteria, the system will retrieve all the proposals that you are eligible to view.

Copy proposal button. The Copy Proposal button copies most of the information from the current proposal into a new proposal and displays the new proposal.

Generate report button. The Generate Report button produces a PDF containing the information in the proposal. The report generation software has limited formatting capabilities and these limitations are understood by the reviewers.


Logging on. If you are not currently an APS user, you will need to register with the User Office as soon as possible to obtain a user badge number.

Saving. In general, data entered are saved at three times: (1) when you click "Save", (2) when you click "Next Page" or "Previous Page", and (3) when you click the tab for a different section.

Attachments. In the Abstract section of the form, click the link "Click here to attach/detach files". Attached files are listed to the left of the abstract; you can open a file by clicking on its name.

Sample information. For crystallography experiments with multiple samples, each sample is described using a separate screen.

Error messages for missing data. Certain fields must be completed. If you submit the proposal and required data are missing, you will see an error message identifying the missing information. You may want to print this screen before returning to the proposal to correct the problem.

Basic Requirements

Provide a plain-text abstract. To accommodate the reporting requirements of certain funding agencies, we require a plain-text abstract of less than 2000 characters. Please be aware that the title and abstract of your proposal could become publicly accessible at a future time through the Freedom of Information Act.

Minimize supplemental PDFs. If you choose to provide the text of your proposal as a PDF, you must follow the question format of the web form. We recommend that you enter the full text of your proposal in the data entry screens and use PDF attachments only for figures and essential supporting text.

To Contents

Part 2: How Do I Log On?

What You Do

What System Does


1. Go to the proposal system URL: http://beam.aps.anl.gov/pls/apsweb/gup0005.start_page.

Displays system logon dialog box


2. If you do not have an APS badge number, go to Step 3. If you do have a badge number, go to step 6.



3. Request badge number. If you do not have an APS badge, to to the Argonne central user registration system to register: click the link above the login box or go to http://beam.aps.anl.gov/pls/apsweb/ufr_main_pkg.usr_start_page

Displays registration form


4. Enter the information and submit the form.

Sends an email with your new badge number

For questions or difficulties with the registration form, write to Linda Carlson, carlson@aps.anl.gov.

5. After you receive your new badge number, return to Step 1 to log on.


The badge number must be activated before you can use it to access the proposal system. There may be a delay of a few hours.

6. If you have a badge number, enter the number and your password, then click the "Logon" button. See the notes at right and password tips below:


Your badge number appears on the back of your badge: find the sequence that has 6 numbers and 2 letters. Ignore the letters. If the number starts with zero, ignore that zero.

  • If you have never accessed any other APS web-based Oracle system, enter your badge number as your password.

Displays dialog box asking you to specify a new password


  • If you have used an APS web-based Oracle system previously, enter the password you used on that system.



  • If you have forgotten your password to the APS Oracle systems, click the first link below the dialog box.

Displays dialog box with further instructions


To Contents

 Part 3: How Do I Create a Proposal?

Tip: You do not have to enter all the data in a single session. You can save the current data, log out, and return to the system at another time. The next time you log in, you can resume entering data in the draft proposal (see Part 4).

Tip: Before logging out of your first session with a new proposal, make a note of your proposal number, which is shown at the lower left of each data-entry screen. You can use this number to access the proposal quickly at the next session (see Part 4 ).

What You Do

What System Does


1. Log on (see Part 2 )

Displays main menu


2. On the Main Menu, in the section "Create a New Proposal", click the button "General Users".

Displays "General" data-entry screen


3. After you have entered the information requested on the "General" data-entry screen, click "Next Page" (button at lower right).

Displays additional data-entry screens


4. Navigate through the data-entry screens (identified by tabs at top of window) and provide data.

  • For instructions and cautions on entering data, see Part 6 .
  • For descriptions of data fields, see Part 7.



5. Save data frequently: click the "Save" button at any time. If you want to stop working and continue later, click "Save", then go to step 11 to log out.


You can edit data on any screen at any time before submitting the proposal.

6. Review entries and verify that all fields are complete.


WARNING: After you submit the proposal, you cannot change any of the data.

7. When you have verified all the data and you are ready to submit the proposal, click the "Submit" button.

Displays a confirmation dialog box: "Are you sure you want to submit this proposal?"

If the proposal has already been submitted, the "Submit" button will not be visible.

8. To continue with submitting the proposal, click "OK". Otherwise click "Cancel" to return to the proposal form.

If all data OK: displays acknowledgment screen and sends email to spokesperson

If required data are missing: displays error message listing the missing fields

Tip: If an error message is displayed, you may want to print the page; it will help you locate the missing fields.

9. If you get an error message, go to step 10. If you get an acknowledgment screen, go to step 11.



10. If an error message is displayed, do the following steps.

  • Make a note of the missing fields.
  • Use your browser’s "Back" function to return to the data-entry screens.
  • Enter missing data.
  • Return to Step 7 to resubmit the proposal.



11. Log out of the proposal system by doing the following:

  • If you are working with a draft proposal, click the "Save" button.
  • Click the "Logout" link in the top or bottom border bar.


WARNING: For a draft proposal, if you log out without clicking the "Save" button, some changes may be lost.

To Contents

 Part 4: How Do I Access an Existing Proposal?

What You Do

What System Does


1. Log on (see Part 2).

Displays main menu


2. If you know the proposal number, go to step 3. If you need more search criteria, go to step 4.



3. On the Main Menu, in the section "Existing Proposals", in the box below "Find Proposal",

  • Enter the proposal number.
  • Click the "Submit Query" button.

To make changes on an unsubmitted proposal, follow the instructions in Part 3.

Displays the proposal.  

4. On the Main Menu, in the section "Existing Proposals", click the link "Advanced Search".

Displays screen requesting search criteria.


5. Enter the criteria for searching. The last row of check boxes applies only to macromolecular crystallography proposals.


Use the % character to do partial searches. For example, "smith%" will find Smith, Smithson, and Smithfield. If you do not enter any criteria, you will be shown all proposals that you are eligible to view.

6. Click the "Submit Query" button at the bottom of the data-entry screen.

Displays query results screen listing proposals that you are eligible to view that match criteria.


5. Click on the proposal number of the item you want to see. To make changes on an unsubmitted proposal, follow the instructions in Part 3.

Displays proposal form

A submitted proposal can't be changed, except to add a beam time request. The status of the proposal is indicated by the color of the bar and label at the bottom of the proposal form.

6. If you want to see another proposal, click the "Search Criteria" link, either in the top border bar. Return to Step 5 to select proposal.

Displays screen requesting search criteria.

WARNING: If you are editing a draft proposal and have made changes, click "Save" first, before clicking "Search Criteria."

If you are working with a draft proposal, you cannot use the Back function on your browser to return to the search criteria.

7. When you are finished editing or viewing, click the "Save" button if you have made changes, then click the "Logout" link, in either the top or the bottom border bar.


To Contents

Part 5 : How Do I Request Additional Time?

To be considered for time in cycles after the one in which you originally submitted the proposal, you must submit another beamtime request.

Requests for time are made by using the Beamtime Request screen. The screen has two parts. The left side shows a list of all requests. In this list, unsubmitted requests have a checkbox. When you click on a specific request, the details of that request are displayed on the right side (including results of the allocation process). When the Beamtime Request screen is first displayed, the right portion of the screen is blank. On a submitted, active proposal, this screen is the only part of the proposal that can be changed. All other sections of the proposal remain read-only.

From the Beamtime Request screen you can

  • Request time in a future cycle
  • Request time in current cycle
  • View details of previous requests
  • Delete a saved request
  • Submit all requests

What You Do

What System Does


1. Access the proposal: See part 2 (log on) and part 4 (access existing proposal).

Displays "General" screen.


2. Select the Beamtime Request tab.

Displays "Beamtime Request" screen, with list of previous requests (if any) at left of screen.

If the selected proposal is not eligible for additional requests, the message "No more requests can be made" is displayed above the list.

A proposal expires either because the number of shifts recommended by the Proposal Review Panel has been used OR because six cycles have passed.

3. To make a new request, click the link "Make New Request" at top of left side of screen.

4. Complete the information requested on the right side of screen.


Displays blank fields on the right side of screen

If you want to work at different beamlines during the same scheduling period, e.g., to use different techniques, you must create a separate request for each beamline.

If you request an APS-operated ("XOR") beamline, you will be asked to identify the instrument or capability you need.

If you have made previous requests on this proposal you must indicate progress made and publications.

5. To request time during the current cycle, select the period designated with "rapid access," e.g., "2012-3 (RAPID ACCESS ONLY)".


If none of the scheduling period options indicates rapid access, it means that rapid access is not available, as of the day you are viewing the proposal.

6. To save your work, click the "Save" button.

Closes the detail portion of the screen and adds a new link to the list of beamtime requests on the left side of the screen

In the list of requests:
--If a box appears in the "Delete" column, it means the request has not been submitted to the APS and may still be edited or deleted.
-- A red asterisk indicates a rapid access proposal.

7. To edit further, or to see another request, click the link for that beamtime request in the list at left of screen.

Displays details of selected request on right side of screen


8. To delete a saved request, click the checkbox corresponding to the request you want to delete.

9. Click the "Delete" button at the top of the column.

Reloads the screen and removes the entry for the request

If the request does not have a checkbox, it has already been submitted and you cannot change any of the data.

10. When you are done with all requests, review them for completeness, and click the "Submit" button (see warning).

Displays a request for confirmation

WARNING: Clicking "Submit" submits ALL unsubmitted requests at once. After you submit the beamtime request(s), you cannot change any of the data.

To Contents

Part 6: How Do I Enter Data?

General Navigation

What You Do

What System Does


Move between fields

  • Click within the desired field
  • Press the Tab key to move to the next field
  • Press Shift+Tab to move to the previous fields

Puts cursor in desired field

For the questions under the Questions tab, you may wish to compose the answers in a text editor that has a word count feature, and then cut and paste the text into the form.

Move between data-entry screens

  • Click the tab for the screen you want.
  • Click the "Previous Page" link at the lower left of the window
  • Click the "Next Page" link at the lower right of the window.


When you move to a different data-entry screen, all the data from the previous screen is saved.


Attaching and Detaching (Deleting) Files

What You Do

What System Does


1. Click the "Abstract" tab.



2. Click the link "Click here to attach/detach files".

Displays the GUP-Attach File window


3. To attach a file, go to step 4. To detach (delete) a file, go to step 9.



4. Attach. Click the "Browse" button and select file you wish add.    

5. In the "Description" box, type a description of the file (e.g., "Figure 1, Experiment Setup").


A description is required.

6. Click the "Add Attachment Now" button to add the file to the proposal. Only files in PDF format should be attached.

Displays description text for each attached document as a link at the left side of the Abstract data-entry screen


7. Repeat Steps 1-5 for each file you want to add.



8. When you are done, close the GUP - Attach File window.



9. Detach (delete). Click the box(es) beside the file(s) you want to delete.

10. Click the icon at the top of the column of boxes to complete the deletion.

  If the proposal has been submitted, you cannot delete attachments.
11. When you are done, close the GUP - Attach File window.    

To Contents

Completing "Experimenters" Data-Entry Screen

What You Do

What System Does


"Find" link
The "Find" links allow you to automatically insert contact information for users.
1. Click the link closest to the field you want to fill in. A pop-up window opens.
2. In the pop-up window, enter the badge number or all or part of desired name.
3. Click "Search."
4. To insert the contact information, click the "select" box by the user’s name.

Step 3: Displays window listing of users with "select" option by each

Step 4: Closes list window closes and inserts user data into proposal form


"Delete" checkbox
This checkbox allows you to remove all contact information for a particular experimenter.
1. If no checkboxes are visible in the "Delete" column, click "Save".
2. If checkboxes are visible in the "Delete" column, check the corresponding box(es) beside the names you want to remove.
3. Click "Save".

Experimenter information is removed at next save

The "Delete" check boxes are displayed only after the name information has been saved.

To Contents

Completing "Sample" Data-Entry Screen
(macromolecular crystallography proposals only)

What You Do

What System Does


"Add Another Sample" link
To describe an additional sample,
1. Click the "Save" button to record the information on the current screen.
2. Click the "Add Another Sample" link at the lower right of the screen.

Displays new sample screen with blank fields; displays link to previous sample at the left of screen under "List of Samples"


"List of Samples" column
To see data for a sample entered earlier, click the description for that sample under "List of Samples".
Displays data screen for selected sample  

To delete a sample, check the box next to the sample name, then click "Delete".


If the proposal has already been submitted, you can't delete a sample.

 To Contents

Part 7: What Data Do I Need to Provide?

The following sections provide information about selected fields on the data-entry screens (not all fields are described).

General Screen

Shifts: Data on shifts provided so you can gauge the remaining active life of the proposal and judge when to submit a new one. You will receive an email when a proposal is close to expiration. Proposals awarded "project" status will be so identified here.

Questions: Answer all the questions (click the appropriate button).

Subject of Research: Check all categories that apply to the proposed work. If you choose "Other (specify)", be sure to provide a description.

Experimenters Screen

Identify the proposal spokesperson and provide complete contact information for him or her. This user will be the point of contact for all communication with the APS. (Note that this does not mean the beamline staff contact person.)

Identify all members of the research team. Indicate which researchers will be coming to the APS; these individuals must register as APS users and complete all required training before beginning their work at the APS.

Abstract Screen

Summarize the proposal in less than 2000 characters (about 400 words). Review the questions on the Questions data-entry screen before preparing the abstract.

Use the "Click here to Attach/Detach PDF Documents" link to include other material not covered by the "Abstract" and "Questions" screens (e.g., figures, publication lists, etc.).

Beamtime Request Screen

Use this screen to provide any information that will help the beamline staff schedule your beam time in the most efficient and productive manner. In the "Unacceptable Dates" area, you may indicate date ranges when you are unavailable.

Note: If you normally plan in terms of days of beam time, please translate your schedule into shifts, with 1 day = 3 eight-hour shifts. The use of shifts facilitates centralized reporting of beam time schedules.

Questions Screen

Funding Source (for proposals not involving macromolecular crystallography): Check all sources of funding for the proposed work. If you choose "Other (specify)", be sure to provide a description.

Questions: In the text fields, provide a detailed description of your experiment and the reasons why you need the facilities of the APS and the beamline(s) you have chosen. Please observe the word limits.

  • What is the scientific or technical purpose and importance of the proposed research?Why do you need the APS for this research?
  • (For project status requests:) Why does this proposal warrant project status?
  • Why do you need the beamline you have chosen?
  • Describe the participants' previous experience with synchrotron radiation and the experimental results obtained. (If you refer to previous publications, be sure to include complete citations.)
  • Provide an overall estimate of the amount of beam time you will need to accomplish the goals of your proposed experimental program. How many visits during the two-year proposal period do you expect to need? How many shifts will you need during each visit (approximately)?
  • References.

Sample Screen (macromolecular crystallography only)

Information is requested in the following areas:

  • Sample identification--the sample name and type of molecule are required.
  • Unit cell information.
  • Crystal size and quality.
  • Safety information--select the appropriate biosafety level.
  • Experimental needs, including energy, cryo-freezing conditions, structure solution strategy, and sample mounting.
  • Funding source--check all sources of funding for the proposed work. If you choose "Other (specify)", be sure to provide a description.

Review Panel Screen (areas other than macromolecular crystallography)

Proposals in areas other than macromolecular crystallography are evaluated by panels of reviewers, as outlined in the APS policy for general user access. Panels are currently constituted for the following categories:

  • Imaging/microbeam
  • Scattering: applied materials
  • Scattering: condensed matter
  • Scattering: chemistry/biology/environmental science
  • Small angle scattering (SAXS)
  • Spectroscopy
  • Instrumentation
  • High pressure

Select the panel you think is most appropriate for your proposal. To ensure competent scientific review, your proposal may be assigned to a different panel (at the discretion of the Review Panel Chair), or the panel may seek additional ad hoc reviews from other experts. 

To Contents

Part 8: What if…

I can't log on.
If you have an APS badge number, has it been activated? If not, contact the APS User Office (apsuser@aps.anl.gov, 1-630-252-9090).

I get an error message when I submit the proposal.
Have you entered a response to all the questions and fields? See Part 3 of these instructions.

The screen is chopped off when I print.
In your browser, go the page setup specifications and select "fit to page."

I still can't solve my problem or I have another question.
For questions about the proposal process or content of the proposal form, contact the APS User Office (write gu_program@aps.anl.gov or phone Beverly Knott, 630-252-7385, or the general number, 630-252-9090). For technical problems, contact the system developers (mis_mgrs@aps.anl.gov).