Proposal writing hints

Before submitting a proposal, make sure that the library database contains any articles and PhD theses from your group making use of ILL data. Check that these articles from you and your co-proposers are also correctly linked to ILL beam time.

During the submission process, you will be asked to include a list of papers published in the last 5 years arising from ILL experiments; only articles found in the library database may appear.


- Select an instrument which is best suited to your research.

- Once you select an instrument, contact the appropriate scientist to ensure your research is feasible and receive answers to your initial questions. The instrument scientists are listed on each instrument page.

- Your proposal should be submitted to a single college with the most appropriate keyword. In case of doubts or overlap, contact the relevant college secretaries.

- To streamline the subcommittee members' tasks for the evaluation of your proposal, provide clear information if the proposal is a continuation or a resubmission.

- When writing your scientific description, please use the "Times" font, size 12 (or equivalent) and make sure that the figures and their captions are clear enough. Proposals not easy to read could be rejected by the panels.

suggested content of the 2-page proposal


Give a brief statement on (i) the scientific background, (ii) the importance of the research you are conducting with this proposal and (iii) the broader significance of this work.

Clearly state what scientific question is raised and should be answered with this proposed experiment.

Include the support received for your research programme: PhD students, post-docs, grants, industrial partners...

Previous Results

Give results of preliminary work carried out with complementary techniques and of any modelling or simulations you have performed.

Summarize any previous results obtained from neutron or X-ray experiments (at the ILL or elsewhere), and/or refer to an existing experimental report.

Any information justifying the beam time request should appear in the proposal, including expected signal-to-noise, E and/or q-range needed, resolution required.

You can contact an instrument responsible for assistance, or the college secretary if you are not sure which instrument you should apply for.

The Proposed Experiment

Give a clear account of the aim(s) of the experiment and a detailed description of the experiment and all the samples.

State why neutrons in general and the ILL in particular are necessary for your experiment.

Say why you have chosen the instrument(s) you are applying for.

Beamtime Request

Provide the instrumental configuration(s) (the instrument responsible should be contacted for advice).

You must explicitly show how you calculate the total beam-time requirement.

For multi-instruments proposals: make sure that the scientific case, experimental plan and time requested is sufficiently detailed for each instrument. If the available space is not enough, consider submitting different proposals for different instruments, and include the proposals numbers in the respective submissions. If an instrument cannot be allocated, will it render the other experiment(s) useless? Is there a priority between instruments requested?

Data Analysis

Detail how data will be analysed and how the analysis result will answer the scientific question.

ILL is keen to expand its users' knowledge base but the level of assistance needed with data analysis must be clearly stated.


List references needed to understand the experiment proposed, the significance of the research, and importantly articles with similar work, articles using the same data analysis method you will apply, and articles from your group demonstrating your expertise. Add the DOI and create hyperlinks to online resources to facilitate the subcommittee-members' tasks.


Below you will find selected examples of well written (and accepted) proposals submitted to the ILL in the past.

For any further information, please do not hesitate to contact: