The first step is to create a new user account in the ILL User Club. Once you've created your account, we will complete the process; there is normally a time lapse as this stage is done manually after completing a number of checks. Your account will give you access to the various tools and functionalities of the User Club.

Don't forget to bring your User Club login and password.

Adding a new scientist to the experimental team

All scientists must have a User Club account before they can be added to the team

  • As a proposer you can add a scientist via your User Club  account: click on “Register for experiment(s)”, select the experiment, go the the "New Experimenter" section, complete the box “add another scientist”. You can only do this if the scientist has completed all his personal data in his User Club account.
  • If personal data is missing from the scientist’s account: please send an e-mail to the User Office - user-office(at) - asking us to add the scientist to the experimental team giving the user's name (exactly as shown in their account), experiment number, date of experiment. We will add them to the team and send them an invitation so they can register (once they've completed the missing data).

Visa Support

If you think you may need a visa, as soon as you receive your experiment invitation please contact your nearest French Embassy or French Consulate for information on documents you will be required to produce. You may simply need an official invitation letter or a 'convention d'accueil' or sometimes both.

If you require an invitation letter please let us know if you prefer it in English or French; and if you require the pdf or a hard copy by DHL (please provide a mobile phone number - required by DHL).

If you are informed that you need a ‘Convention d’Accueil’ could you please send the following information by email to the User Office:

  • Name (family name)
  • First name
  • Gender (M or F)
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Status/profession (ie PhD student, Post Doc, Research Assistant, ...)
  • Private address in country of residence
  • Name of employer
  • Employer's address
  • Experiment number & instrument
  • Dates of your stay in France
  • Mobile phone number for DHL to be able to contact you for delivery of the documents

Please note that SCO cannot issue the official visa support documents at short notice. The completed convention d’accueil is taken to the local French authorities (Préfecture) for an official stamp. This service is provided on a weekly basis by ILL’s Liaison Officer. Allow plenty of time before the appointment with the Consulate; the procedure can take from 10 days to a month between the date you request the document and the day you receive it. Your Convention d'accueil will be sent by DHL courier or normal post to your LABORATORY ADDRESS.

Visa fees are not reimbursed by the ILL.

Travel & Accommodation

Visitors are asked to make their own travel arrangements.

Please consult our specific reimbursement procedures before making your arrangements.

You will find all the information about how to reach the ILL on our EPN campus website: Travelling to EPN Campus

You will be asked to provide proof of identity (passport, ID card) to gain access to the ESRF/ILL/EMBL site.

Reimbursement procedures

All exceptions to the regulations must be agreed with the User Office before your trip: contact user-office(at)

Neutron beams and instrument facilities are provided free of charge to proposers of accepted experiments under certain conditions, detailed below.

  • Scientists affiliated to laboratories in ILL member countries may be assisted with travel and daily subsistence for a limited period.  Scientists affiliated to laboratories in ILL interim member countries are not eligible for reimbursement.
  • A maximum of two persons per experiment are reimbursed. On instruments with very 'user-demanding' experiments (e.g. D11, D17, D20, D22, PN1), additional people may be reimbursed. In some cases, this may also apply to other experiments when the User Office has authorised it.
  • ILL pays for the number of experiment days allocated (given on the invitation form) + 1 additional day. Extra days of beamtime allocated at short notice by the instrument responsible may be reimbursed after confirmation by the Instrument Responsible or Local Contact. Payment of extra days for installing special equipment or preparing samples may be authorised by SCO if requested beforehand. In general, extended stays for data treatment are not reimbursed. 
  • The UK maintains an additional budget line which is used for the purpose of enabling extra users (PhD students, users new to the ILL). Users must be affiliated to a UK lab and based in the UK. Requests require justification and authorisation by SCO.
  • Reactor users from the Grenoble region are not eligible for reimbursement. Users with beamtime for CRG, Test, Internal and Industrial experiments are not eligible for reimbursement.

Submitting your claim form

  • On arrival, you will receive the travel-claim form at the site entrance (if eligible for reimbursement). 
  • The claim form should be filled out clearly. Please note all the expenses separately, so that nothing is missing. Please use the original currency as the conversion to EURO is done automatically during the reimbursement claim processing.
  • Expenses can be reimbursed only if they are corroborated by the correct documents:
    • original tickets and/or receipts containing date and price of the trip, including e-tickets
    • payment confirmation documents containing price, date, and mode of payment
    Please note that booking confirmation documents and invoices are not acceptable without boarding passes (including electronic ones - not scanned) or original tickets (including e-tickets).
  • There is no need to provide receipts for meals; these are at a fixed rate according to the number of days covered by ILL.
  • Cash advances are not possible.
  • Expenses are reimbursed by bank transfer following the submission of your claim form, once all items (badge, film dosimeter, radiation warning bleeper) have been returned. Expenses cannot be reimbursed to your laboratory.
  • The claim form may be submitted in person to the Travel Office or sent by post.
  • Reimbursement claims are accepted for processing within six months after the final date of the visit.

The ILL reimburses return travel costs between the home laboratory and the ILL using the most economical means of transport authorised by the ILL.

Please book return tickets when possible and use reductions if available.

  • Rail
    • 2nd class fare,
    • physical ticket or e-tickets with payment confirmation;
  • Air
    • economy flight (if your flight costs more than the average price range for your period of travel, please contact user-office(at)
    • physical ticket or e-tickets with payment confirmation;
  • Car
    • Standard travel: on the basis of km travelled at a rate of 0.18 EUR/km. Prior authorisation is not required.
    • Transport of heavy, bulky or fragile equipment, which cannot be carried by public transport: kms are reimbursed at a higher rate of 0.32 EUR/km. Prior authorisation is required.
    • Fuel, motorway tolls, parking, tunnel fees or car hire are not reimbursed.
    • If you don’t take the shortest route, please provide details of your car journey (ie detours to pick up passengers, etc.)
    • In all cases please mention on the Reimbursement Claim the names of the other Users entitled to reimbursement who travelled together in the same car.
  • Unauthorised costs (taxi, car parking fees, 1st class tickets)
    • Please inform the User Office in advance of your journey if you intend to take a taxi where public transport is unavailable.
    • All non-authorised transportation costs will not be reimbursed unless agreed with the User Office before travel.
  • Extra days or travel detours: All non-standard travel options (such as adding extra days to your trip or deviations from the normal itinerary, both for personal and professional reasons) should be prearranged with the User Office and justified by presenting a price comparison. If this non-standard option is more expensive, we will reimburse a standard economy return fare.
  • Requests for accommodation are made by ticking the appropriate box on the registration form in the User Club. Users are accommodated in the Guest House, depending on availability of rooms in the ILL quota. No accompanying person can be accommodated in the Guest House. If the Guest House is full (ie over ILL quota), the Travel Office will book a room in an aparthotel/hotel near the station and the bill (incl. breakfast and tourist tax) will be paid directly by ILL.
  • If you arrange accommodation yourself or request specific accommodation to be booked by ILL, you will be reimbursed on the basis of Guest House cost to ILL (20 EUR/night). You will be asked to pay for your accommodation and you will be reimbursed 20 EUR/night on submission of the receipt.
  • Bookings are made only for users and not for any accompanying person. Once the booking is confirmed, if you are accompanied you should contact the hotel directly to ensure the room is suitable for your requirements (most rooms already have twin or double beds). You should pay any supplementary costs directly to the hotel.
  • If you wish to modify or cancel your accommodation reservation please inform the Travel Office immediately. If you arrive later or leave earlier without letting us know and the cost of the unused accommodation is invoiced to ILL, this cost (as well as any extra charges arising through failure to inform the ILL in good time) will be deducted from your reimbursement.
  • ILL pays for the number of experiment days allocated (given on the invitation form) + 1 additional travel day. Extra days of beamtime allocated at short notice by the instrument responsible may be reimbursed after confirmation by the Instrument Responsible or Local Contact.

ILL Travel Office:

phone: +33 (0)476 20 74 87
fax: +33 (0)476 48 39 06

  • Breakfast is provided at your accommodation. On bank holidays breakfast is not provided by Residence Marie Curie. Residents may book breakfast at the Guest House.
  • Your canteen card is now integrated on your site entrance ID badge. The canteen uses a 'points' system; the cost in points of each dish is displayed in the canteen. The badge is valid for the onsite canteen only.
  • Users are allocated a meal allowance of 8 EUR/meal for 2 meals/day for the experimental period (reimbursed with the travel claim).There is no need to keep receipts.
  • You can recover any balance remaining on your badge at the end of your stay:
    • at the cash desk in the restaurant entrance on weekday lunchtimes, or
    • at the till during meal times on evenings and weekends.
  • If you lose your badge, go to the site entrance to request a new one. Money remaining in your account can be transferred to your new badge at the restaurant.

Health & Medical Insurance

Make sure that you are insured for illness, hospital treatment and industrial accidents.

Ensure that the address of your local health physics/medical service of your workplace is up to date in your User Club account. The ILL Health Physics service will send your radiation dose record to this address after your visit.

Health Physics Training

Please complete the health physics training test in the User Club. If you plan to perform an experiment at the ILL you are obliged to take this test (valid for 6 months).


All users of the ILL facility must comply with French safety regulations and the local administrative and safety regulations of the ILL. Any ancillary equipment supplied by the user must conform to the appropriate French regulations.
Experimental conditions involving special safety requirements, such as the use of radioactive isotopes or chemically or biologically hazardous materials or others, should be clearly stated in the proposal.

To perform experiments at ILL, no classification as category NE or B radiation worker is required. The only exception concerns the experiments performed on the instrument PF2 for which the ILL imposes that you are category B radiation worker and that you supply a medical certificate, see more information below.

Please read carefully the specific information below if it concerns you. Some procedures take several weeks or months to process.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers - Please read carefully safety note 2003/03 concerning the special protection against ionising radiation during pregnancy and nursing.


If you are in any doubt, please contact the following persons:

Safety Engineers

Gaëlle Rochex
+33 (0)4 76 20 70 81
Isabelle Perbet
+33 (0)4 76 20 76 74

Health Physics

Jean Tribolet
+33 (0)4 76 20 71 67


Véronique Mayeux 
Safety Officer for Biology and Biochemistry (ESRF-ILL)
+33 (0)4 76 20 79 13 (phone)
+33 (0)4 76 20 77 60 (fax)

1. Conventional hazards

The conventional hazards which may be encountered when preparing and conducting an experiment on an ILL instrument are divided into two categories:

  • the hazards inherent in any activity carried out in the ILL’s experimental work areas, namely fire, electrical and material handling hazards.
  • the specific hazards associated with the experiment or its preparation, which can be: fire/explosion (flammable substances), chemical hazards (dangerous gases, toxic substances), biological hazards, non-ionising radiation (ultraviolet (UV), infrared (IR), lasers, magnetic fields), cryogenics, work at height.


  • If you need to make use of the chemistry laboratories, you must complete an online training module beforehand (you can access this module via the Visitors Club). In addition, on your arrival, you will be given an introductory safety tour by the Laboratory Responsible.
  • For information on biological hazards, please see the relevant section: Important instructions for biological samples

2. Radiological hazards

The experimental areas are either Radiation Supervised Areas or Radiation Controlled Areas. However, the level of exposure of guest scientists to ionising radiation corresponds to the radiation protection classification “non-exposed worker” for the use of all of the ILL instruments, with the exception of the instrument PF2 for which classification as a category B worker is required. (For information: Non-exposed: annual dose of less than 1mSv; category B: annual dose of less than 6 mSv).


  • To obtain authorisation to access the experimental areas, you must complete the online health physics training module (you can access this module via the User Club).
  • The ILL assigns a passive dosimeter and an electronic dosimeter to all guest scientists in order to quantify the doses received in its installations. Guest scientists who already have a passive dosimeter from their employer must wear this dosimeter in addition to those provided by the ILL.

3. Safety requirements

Guest scientists must comply with the safety regulations set out in the documents they are given (user handbook, health physics regulations, special instructions for specific experiments, laboratory information leaflet).

We remind you that it is of the utmost importance that all samples are measured for radioactivity by the Health Physics department after the experiment. 
We have installed a new sample control procedure, and consequently the ILL's invitation form has changed.

From now on, you are asked to specify the name of the person who is responsible for the samples (one person per experiment).

The nominated person must be sure to have the samples properly checked by Health Physics before his departure.

He will be considered responsible if this is not carried out.If he is not able to come to the ILL at the last minute, he must contact SCO and communicate the name of the new responsible for the samples.
Many thanks in advance for your collaboration.

We would like to inform you that, in compliance with French safety regulations, we are obliged to ask all users of the instrument PF2 to provide a medical certificate (or an equivalent certificate from their employer) stating that they are properly authorised to work with ionising radiation and that they have regular medical check-ups in their laboratory, i.e. a Designated Radiation Worker. 
The whole experimental team must make sure that they obtain the certificates before their arrival. They must hand them to the reactor guardian when receiving their film-badges.

Failure to do so means that you will be forbidden from entering the experimental area on PF2 (reactor Level D).

If you are required to work in isolated conditions, outside normal working hours, during your stay at ILL, you must carry a portable alarm (known as PTI). This device makes it possible to raise the alarm if you are in difficulty and to identify your geographical location in the experimental area. The devices are available from the security staff at the reactor entrance on Level C (ground floor).

For more information please ask your Local Contact and refer to Safety Note 2005/03 (French version here).

The biological safety of experiments performed on macromolecules at the ILL is initially based on a sample sheet to be filled in and submitted once you receive the safety letter related to your proposal. It is crucial that the scientist fills out the sample sheet correctly. In case of DNA or oligonucleotides, indicate if native, synthetic or from other origin (ie commercial). For biological agents, please make sure that all details are given. A French decree dated 18 July 1994 defines a list of pathogens with their risk classification. The ILL does not accept biological samples belonging to higher than Hazard Group 1. For proteins, full details must be given. Is the protein toxic, oncogenic, biologically active, or presenting any risk to human health or environment? DO NOT use abbreviations, but mention the function of the sample (e.g. kinase, scaffold protein or even if  hypothetical or unknown function, etc.). For highly purified proteins, you should detail the source of origin and the host organism in which the protein is expressed. 
According to the Commission de Génie Génétique (the French Genetic Engineering Commission, which has now been replaced by the HCB (Haut Conseil aux Biotechnolgies) by decree 2008-1273 of 5 December 2008) proteins are classified in two classes of risk:

A (no danger to human health and/or environment) or
B (presenting a danger to human health and/or environment). All toxins fall under category B.

The CGG has published a short list of classified proteins. Proteins which come from a class 2 source organism or higher and that have been over-expressed in class 1 organism (e.g. E. Coli BL21 strain, Yeast, Baculovirus in insect cells) will be reviewed case by case. 

The French decree of 30 July 2004 details some biological agents and takes into account the notion ‘all or part of’ (tout ou partie) of the agents. With the new regulations (Décret du 30 juin 2010 et Arrêté du 30 avril 2012) the notion of 'all or part of' has been redefined as follows:

  • For toxins and toxin fragments authorization is required when the sequence is more than 167 amino acids.
  • For genetic materials authorization is required when DNA and/or RNA sequences are more than 500 base pairs.

For experiments involving samples of human origin, the scientist should clear the export regulations of his/her own country and should submit an import/export authorisation form and transport label to the French Ministry of Research via the ILL/ESRF Bio Safety Officer. In addition to the form and label users should submit the following:

  • a brief summary of the research project is required;
  • an accompanying letter from the head of your home institute research department, stating the importance of the research project involving human samples;
  • a testimony of the innocuousness of the samples related to HBV, HCV and AIDS Virus;
  • a letter stating that the samples have been collected with prior consent of the patients and no money has been exchanged in whatsoever form to collect the samples.

Without such an authorisation, no human sample can enter the French territory to be analysed on ILL instruments. Please, note that authorisation instruction time takes at least 1 month.
After checking your sample sheet submitted with your proposal, and checking what is stated in the safety letter that you receive from the Biosafety Officer, you will be notified if you have further documents to provide.

Finally, an agreement with airport security at Geneva, Lyon and Grenoble airport customs and police has been set in place; you must carry an accompanying letter provided by the ILL/ESRF joint Biosafety Officer (Véronique Mayeux phone +33 (0)476 88 22 03) only when you are travelling home with your dewars or dry biological samples. No agreement exists for liquid samples. The letter (in French) must be signed by the person transporting the samples and the ILL/ESRF joint Biosafety Officer. You may request an English translation of the letter either for your information or for the airline, depending on which company you are flying with. The joint Biosafety Officer should be contacted well in advance for the provision of this letter, especially when the letter is required for travel at the weekend; details of the person transporting the samples have to be transmitted to the airport authorities in advance of travel.

Users travelling via Lyon or Grenoble airports should ensure that the dewars comply with IATA special provision A152. It is strongly recommended to contact your airline prior to travel to check specific constraints regarding weight and size. Ensure that any old labels are removed prior to travel. 

It is strongly recommended that samples should be shipped by "agreed" carriers such as FEDEX, UPS, DHL, World courier, TNT.

The ILL does not provide any such letter for scientists travelling back to UK on Eurostar with samples and may be subject to a security check by Eurostar authorities. See Eurostar section.

Scientists travelling back to UK on Eurostar with samples may be subject to a security check by Eurostar authorities.
In order to obtain authorisation from French authorities prior to their journey, users should send the following information to the address given below:

  • Type of sample concerned
  • Reason for transporting sample
  • Name of sample responsible(s) during transport
  • Date and time of train to London.

Direction régionale des douanes de Paris 
A l'attention du Pôle Action Economique
16 rue Yves Toudic 
75010 PARIS 
Email: pae-paris(at)

Once the authorities have processed the request, authorisation is sent to the user as well as to the Security Inspection Squad so that the sample is not opened during transit.

Please note that, due to the present national French emergency programme against terrorist attacks (VigiPirate), x-ray screening is carried out systematically.

On receipt of this letter, a special dispensation will be sent to the Users concerned, and a copy to the Safety Control Brigade, so that containers will not be opened on the Eurostar site.  However, containers will still need to pass through X-ray control.

Scientists may also contact:

Eurostar Security Standards Management Security Pass Office
St Pancras International
Pancras Road, LONDON NW1 2QP

UK Principal Investigators who have succeeded in obtaining beamtime at the ILL may request support for the cost of consumables from ISIS. 
If you wish to apply for support, please complete ISIS's "ILL consumables request form" application form, which can be downloaded from the ISISweb page: and send it together with a full copy of the successful proposal to the ISIS User Office.

User Access policy

In January 2017, the EU Commission has published a Charter for Access to research infrastructures in close cooperation with the ESFRI, the e-infrastructure Reflection Group (e-IRG), and the European Research Area stakeholder organisations. This charter sets out non-regulatory principles and guidelines as a reference when defining access policies for RIs.

In this context, the ILL has defined its own User Access policy, defining the principles and guidelines for access to ILL infrastructures and related services.
All users participating in experiments are obliged to comply with the ILL User Access policy. They are asked to commit to this when submitting their proposal (by ticking the box ‘I agree with the ILL access policy’).

The complete document can be found here.