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Melbourne - Access
User Guide Melbourne

Melbourne - Access

ANSTO would like to offer special rapid access to the MX2 Macromolecular Crystallography Beamline for users currently involved in COVID-19 research. Access would consist of short mini-shifts of MX2 beamtime (minimum of 2 hours), available as-needed.

Please submit an Expression of Interest to the Australian Synchrotron via the portal as per the below instructions.

  1. Create a user portal account if you don't have one

  2. Select the proposal round "Special Rapid Access COVID-19" and submit.

 Visit the Synchrotron User Portal

If you have any questions please contact the User Office (

The Australian Synchrotron makes its beamlines available to the research community and industry through peer-reviewed, collaborative and commercial arrangements.

Access types

The Australian Synchrotron is free of charge for all researchers who are publishing results in open literature and is allocated through the peer-review application process, for commercial users there is a fee structure.

Merit Access (including proposal round deadlines)

Merit proposals are peer-reviewed for scientific merit and technical feasibility by external scientific reviewers and a specialist committee. Based on these reviews, proposals are then ranked for each beamline, and all applicants are notified by the User Office of the outcomes. 

Proposal round deadlines

Dates subject to change

2021-1: User beamtime late January to early May 2021


Key dates

Call for proposals opens

20 August 2020

Call for proposals closes

15 September 2020

Users notified

From mid December 2020


Australian Synchrotron

2021-2: User beamtime late May to August 2021
  Key dates

Call for proposals opens

16 December 2020

Call for proposals closes

2 February 2021

Users notified

From late April 2021


Australian Synchrotron

2020-3: User beamtime September – December 2020

Please note that the 2020/3 proposal will not open as usual. Key dates will be updated on this page once a return to user operations date has been determined. 

  Key Dates

Call for proposals opens


Call for proposals closes


Users notified



Australian Synchrotron


MX Collaborative Access Program

The standard way of accessing beamtime on the macromolecular- and micro-crystallography beamlines at the Australian Synchrotron is via Collaborative Access Program proposals. The implementation of CAPs recognises that this system better reflects the needs of the MX community where labs require regular access to beamtime in order to progress their research activities.  Sharing beamtime between different laboratories allows the CAP to have the flexibility to optimally utilise beamtime allocations dependent on sample and team member availability. Read more.

2021 User beamtime late January to early December 2021

  Key dates

Call for proposals opens

20 August 2020

Call for proposals closes

15 September 2020

Users notified

From mid December 2020


Rapid Access (including proposal round deadlines)

To provide quick access to the macromolecular crystallography beamlines, Users can apply for rapid access to the facility. Rapid Access (RA) gives users a route for urgent access to beamtime in certain circumstances.

Approximately three shifts of RA time per month will be reserved on each MX beamline on days to be announced in advance. The call for proposals will open approximately one month before the RA day and close approximately two weeks prior. RA proposals will be assessed by the Program Advisory Committee on the basis of merit.

Priority for RA time will be given to those researchers who are not members of a Collaborative Access Program (CAP). CAP members will be required to demonstrate a need for urgent access to beamtime.

Examples of urgency include, but are not limited to:

  • High profile work in danger of losing out to international competition.
  • Risk of losing precedence in intellectual property (e.g. a patent position).
  • Critical time-limited work for inclusion in a graduate student's thesis.
  • A new project for a user with no existing Program allocations who may have to wait an unreasonable amount of time for access to Project or Program beamtime.

A successful application must also demonstrate feasibility. The status of the crystals and detail of the experiment to be carried out must be clearly stated.

If a proposal for RA time is unsuccessful due to RA time being allocated to other requests then that proposal will be removed from the system and will need to be resubmitted for the next RA round.

Please note:

If you are wishing to conduct COVID-19 specific research, please contact the MX beamline directly.

Shifts available

Opens for Applications

Deadlines (Melbourne time)



1pm 06/11/20 - 9am 07/11/20

(2.5 shifts)




9am 01/12/20 - 9am 02/12/20

(3 shifts)



Fri 02 Oct 2020





Mon 02 Nov 2020



11.59pm Fri 16 Oct 2020





11.59pm Fri 13 Nov 2020

Commercial Access

Industry engagement with the Australian Synchrotron’s customised experimental facilities in the Melbourne suburb of Clayton provide an impressive array of non-destructive, high-resolution, rapid, in-situ, real-time imaging and analysis techniques. These generate elemental, structural and chemical information from diverse sample types ranging from living cells to advanced materials, industrial components and mineral processes. Projects and results are confidential and available only to the customer.

Depending on the specific needs and requirements, the Industrial Liaison Office can offer a range of service to suit:

  • Beamtime - you come to the Australian Synchrotron and collect your own data
  • Data Collection - we collect your data and send it to you for analysis

What we offer

  • Access to an extensive range of facilities and techniques, many of which are not available elsewhere in Australia
  • Full assistance with experiment design
  • Expert execution of experiments, data analysis and reporting
  • Ability to use some of our facilities via remote access
  • Confidential results, with intellectual property owned by the client

Read more about Commercial access at the Australian Synchrotron.

International Synchrotron Access Program


The International Synchrotron Access Program (ISAP) is administered by the Australian Synchrotron and is designed to assist Australian-based synchrotron users to access overseas synchrotron related facilities. Sources such as free electron lasers (FELs) will also be considered. The objectives of the program are:

  • To facilitate access to international synchrotron related facilities for Australian University researchers by providing travel and subsistence funding;
  • To ensure that those projects are funded which will yield the greatest benefit to the Australian community, and which strategically enhance Australia’s synchrotron and research capabilities;
  • To enhance in the Australian research community awareness and expertise in emerging synchrotron techniques and methodologies.

Read more about the International Synchrotron Access Program (ISAP)

Proposal submission advice

Review criteria

Merit proposals are assessed by external reviewers and Program Advisory Committees based on 4 main criteria.

1. Quality of the Scientific Proposal. This makes up 40% of the reviewer score.

  • Describe the purpose and importance of your science
  • Describe the aim of the experiment and what information you expect to get. How will this contribute to your project?
  • Make sure that reviewers can easily determine the scientific value of the synchrotron experiment you are planning and how it will contribute to the relevant field of research or application

2. National Benefit and Applications of the Proposed Research. This makes up 30% of the reviewer score.

  • Explain how the proposed research is likely to lead to the creation of beneficial national impacts (economic, environmental, health, social or cultural) 
  • Explain how the proposed research broadly supports Australian or New Zealand (as appropriate) national research priorities 
  • Provide objective evidence that the research is important to likely consumers or adopters
  • If you are an applicant from outside Australia or New Zealand and you are unable to describe a particular national benefit for Australia (or New Zealand where relevant), you should note this. You may also want to point to any of the general benefits (e.g. reciprocity of access, international collaboration, knowledge transfer) of international access that may be relevant to your application.

3. Track Record (relative to opportunity) of the investigators. This makes up 30% of the reviewer score.

  • Give a description of the experience of all the applicants on the proposal
  • Include a description of previous Australian Synchrotron experiments carried out in the last 3 years and a brief description of the outcomes obtained
  • Update your publication history with all your accepted and published publications from Australian Synchrotron experiments
  • Include any of your relevant non synchrotron publications, especially if you are a new user 

4. Need for Synchrotron Radiation (no score - yes/no only)

  • Describe why you need synchrotron radiation for this work in the "The need to use Synchrotron Radiation for this research" section in your proposal
  • Describe why the experiment can't be done with laboratory facilities or other techniques. In particular include relevant laboratory data to back up your claims.
  • Justify the choice of beamline for the experiment
General hints for completing your proposal
  1. Only the principal scientist can submit the proposal.
  2. In order to submit the proposal, the principal scientist MUST have their up-to-date affiliation details entered under 'My Account'.  This can be accessed from the Portal Dashboard.
  3. Students should not be the principal scientist on a proposal.
  4. Provide evidence of why synchrotron radiation is necessary for the experiment and the project.
  5. Include relevant laboratory data to support your proposal.
  6. Save your work often to avoid accidental loss or system time-out.
  7. Avoid using the 'Back' button in your internet browser as the Portal will return an error and you may lose valuable un-saved work. You should only ever use the Portal-specific buttons to navigate the Australian Synchrotron Portal.
Portal User Guide

Australian Synchrotron User Portal
This user guide provides information to external merit researchers, commercial clients, scientific collaborators and partners who use the Australian Synchrotron User Portal to submit proposals for access to their beamlines. 

Download guide

User beam schedule

The schedule for the synchrotron includes time for shut-down for maintenance and upgrade of the storage ring and beamlines, and operational beamtime. Read more.

Contact the Melbourne User Office

Office Hours:  Monday to Friday 8.30am - 4.30pm