Top arrow pointing up

Proposal Review Process

Proposal Submissions

LaserNetUS encourages scientists from diverse fields to propose experiments utilizing the consortium’s wide-ranging capabilities. International Principal Investigators are welcome. We recommend that scientists describe well-posed experiments. Proposals must include brief discussions of the expected scientific or technological impact and anticipated feasibility and probability of success of experiments. Proposals that include a clear description of the expected schedule, indicating the scope, have a better chance of being selected.

Proposal Guidelines and Required Content

  • Provide a descriptive title of your proposed experiment that you would be willing to be make public if awarded facility time.

  • Provide an abstract that concisely (less than 1,950 characters) summarizes the proposed experiment, quantities to be measured, samples to be studied, expected scientific results and impact. The full proposal is limited to 6 pages in PDF format, not including references or supplemental material. Proposals should include the spokesperson's name in the upper right hand corner of each page.

  • Proposal submission requires registration of the spokesperson and a list of names for the experimental team. Include the spokesperson's name in the upper righthand corner of each page. In a table, list the names, institutions, email addresses of PIs and collaborators who would participate in the proposed experiment (e.g., sample prep, theory, data collection, data analysis). This section could also briefly mention directly-relevant previous work done by the team members.

  • Briefly explain the background and significance of your experiment. In particular, why is a LaserNetUS laser system required for this experiment? Itemize the specific aims and particular questions you want to answer. Focus on the specific experiment and avoid broad discussions in general terms.

  • Provide specific information so that the feasibility of this experiment at the requested LaserNetUS facility can be evaluated. Tell us if you plan or have carried out supporting experiments at other facilities. Have simulations of the experiment been performed? What are the anticipated data rates? Provide a beam time plan, indicating what could be accomplished shift by shift. Describe any additional equipment you plan to bring to the facility for the experiment. Finally, remote operation, if requested, must be addressed in this section. Has the desired facility been contacted? Has the facility POC confirmed that remote operation is available for the proposed experiment? Is remote operation only to be considered if the experimental team is unable to travel or is remote operation the only possible mode-of-operation?

  • Due to Covid-19-related uncertainties, please provide additional information about your experiment readiness. Upon being informed that your proposal is accepted (anticipated to be mid-March 2022), how soon do you anticipate being ready for the experiment? This information will be used for scheduling only and does not affect the ranking done by the Proposal Review Panel.

  • Each proposal is for one specific experiment, with the option to designate first and second choice for a facility. Indicate preferred facilities for the experiment. This information will be forwarded to the Proposal Review Panel that will rank proposals and make recommendations for awarding beam time, at which point the proposals will be forwarded to the recommended facilities for feasibility. We strongly recommend that you contact scientist(s) at your preferred laser facility or facilities before proposal submission to discuss capabilities, to identify possible problems in integrating external equipment with the facility and to determine possible solutions.

  • Proposals must contain sufficient information to be evaluated by the Proposal Review Panel and the LaserNetUS facility for technical feasibility. This information should include:


    • Which elements of the proposed facility do you require for the proposal?
    • What additional equipment is needed, including detector, sample delivery/environment, temperature, pressure, etc?
    • How do you plan to provide/organize the additional equipment?

    • Describe relevant laser parameters, such as wavelength, focal spot quality, repetition rate, pulse contrast, pulse energy, and pulse duration
    • Specify any timing and synchronization requirements

    Experimental protocol
    • Describe the experimental geometry
    • Calculate the expected signal rate/background
    • Describe samples and concentrations, sample preparation and storage
    • Describe local facilities and resources that may be required

  • When submitting a proposal that is substantially similar to a previous proposal (declined or awarded LaserNetUS facility time), upload a summary of changes since last submission or a brief progress report; for the latter include proposal number(s), date(s) of experiment, instrument(s) used, a brief summary of how experiment time was used and results disseminated (list major invited talks, papers published or in press, awards, or special recognition).

  • Safety
    Safety related documents must be submitted during the safety management portion of the LaserNetUS proposal submission process in the user portal. List and describe any safety concerns that may arise with samples you will examine, equipment you will use, or techniques you will perform (including any physical, chemical or biological hazards) and how these issues will be addressed.
  • Cost
    There is no cost to submit proposals or conduct experiments at the participating institutions. Users are generally responsible for their own travel and target expenses as well as any extraordinary consumables required by the experiment.
  • Designating Primary and Secondary Facility
    Each proposal is for one specific experiment, with the option to designate first and second choice for a facility.
  • Scientific Campaigns
    Proposals may be made in the context of a larger scope than can be covered in a single experiment. All proposals, even these broader proposals that address important problems, must be resubmitted each cycle in order to be peer reviewed and considered for facility time. However, in the absence of sufficient information to evaluate progress (data disseminated from previous facility time, publications, etc.), the PRP may recommend that some proposal(s) be postponed for consideration until a future review cycle.
  • Publication Record from Previous LaserNetUS Experiments
    In future calls, the PRP will pay particular attention to the applicants' publication record from prior LaserNetUS facility times. Failure to publish in a timely manner will impact the chances of a successful application in a similar area.
  • Multiple Submissions
    Multiple submissions from the same team for similar experiments at different LaserNetUS facilities will not be considered. While there is no limit to the number of distinct proposals that can be submitted by a scientist or team, the Proposal Review Panel (PRP) may impose a relative advantage to the first-best proposal from each team.
  • Resubmission
    Proposals can be re-submitted at each call, but this will not happen automatically and a re-submission will not receive preference during the review process.
  • Scheduling Accommodations during COVID-19 Pandemic
    LaserNetUS will make every effort to schedule runs as outlined in this call for proposals and, once scheduled, to execute the runs on time. However, unforeseen changes either in the ability of our users to travel and perform the run or in a facility’s ability to admit users may require flexibility by all. Users whose proposals are selected for run-time should be in regular contact with LaserNetUS to prepare for their runs.
  • Remote Operation and Facility Availability
    Due to the complex environment existing nationally, the availability and constraints at each facility differs. Some facilities are offering, or may offer, remote operation. In this mode, users are not on-site but instead participate in their run online while facility staff setup and execute the run. Some facilities may offer remote operation only on a case-by-case basis depending on the technical challenges and collaborative nature of the proposed experiment. Proposers should contact their preferred facilities before the proposal deadline to discuss this if desired.
  • Required Language
    Proposal teams must acknowledge the host institution and DOE Office of Science in presentations and publications using the template: "This work was supported by DOE Office of Science, Fusion Energy Sciences under Contract No. [LaserNetUS contract number from facility]: the LaserNetUS initiative at [Facility]," and any other acknowledgement required by the host institution.

Changes since Cycle 3

  • With the recent decommissioning of the HERCULES laser, the Center for Ultrafast Optical Science (CUOS) at the University of Michigan will no longer available for LaserNetUS experiments.
  • The Jupiter Laser Facility (JLF) will resume operations of the Titan Laser.
  • The Institute for the Frontier of Attosecond Science and Technology (iFAST) at the University of Central Florida (UCF) has joined LaserNetUS however they will not be accepting proposals for LaserNetUS experiments yet during Cycle 4.
  • The Diocles 0.7 PW beamline at the Extreme Light Laboratory (ELL) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is unavailable for user experiments during Cycle 4 due to essential maintenance and repairs.

Ready to Submit Your Proposal?

Submission Schedule

Cycle Type Proposal deadline Cycle begins Cycle ends Awards
1 LaserNetUS standard proposal call Mar. 18, 2019 4pm PST July 2019 Dec. 2019 Cycle 1
2 LaserNetUS standard proposal call Sept. 6, 2019 4pm PST Jan. 2020 Dec. 2020 Cycle 2
3 LaserNetUS standard proposal call Dec. 11, 2020 4pm PST June 2021 June 2022 Cycle 3
4 LaserNetUS standard proposal call Dec. 10, 2021 4pm PST July 2022* July 2023 Cycle 4

*Earliest start date will depend on facility readiness and proposal feasibility.

LaserNetUS proposals are submitted through the LaserNetUS Portal which is operated by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. New users must register for a User Portal Account before they can submit a proposal – please note that if you already have a user account for facilities at SLAC (i.e. LCLS, SSRL, CryoEM), you do not need to make a new account. The proposal submission process will take approximately 30 minutes to complete including a safety management portion at the end. If you have any problems while submitting your proposal, please contact us.

Proposal Review Process

  1. Pre-Review / Conflict of Interest (COI) Stage

    PRP members review basic proposal information. Potential COI are identified and addressed by the Chair of the PRP.

  2. Initial Review Stage

    The Chair assigns 3 reviewers to each proposal and designates a primary and secondary reviewer. PRP members are required to read, at minimum, the abstract of all other proposals. Proposals are scored on Intellectual Merit (75%) and Broader Impact (25%).

  3. Final Review Stage

    Initial ranking by Chair based on reviews. Primary reviewers lead discussion of each proposal. New rank ordering and sorting by facility. Overall science mix assessed.

  4. Facility Feasibility Review

    The top ranked proposals for each facility will be sent to the Facility Directors for evaluation of technical feasibility.

  5. Final Decision

    PRP review and feasibility review integrated by PRP. Final list of awards submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (FES). Decision letters emailed to each PI and facility Director.