SESAME User Policy

The SESAME User Policy lays down the conditions that govern the use of the Centre’s facilities. It defines inter alia conditions for access to the Facility, the definition of different types of use and users, criteria for selecting proposals, and procedures for applying for beam time and selecting proposals.

The SESAME User Policy was adopted at the 28th meeting of the SESAME Council in May 2016. Amendments were introduced at the Council’s 37th meeting in December 2020. 

Section I:     Underlying Principles
Section II:    Facilities at the Disposal of Users
Section III:   Categories of Users and Allocation of Beam time 
Section IV:   Safety
Section V:    Evaluation of General User and PRT Proposals
Section VI:   Conflict Resolution Process
Section VII:  Lost beam time
Section VIII: Reporting and Monitoring



SESAME is an intergovernmental organization that operates a third generation Synchrotron Light Source and associated Beamlines. This document lays out the conditions that govern the use of SESAME.

I. Underlying Principles

I.1 Use of SESAME must conform with the SESAME Statutes and the Rules of Procedure of the SESAME Council:

Relevant Provisions of the SESAME Statutes

Article I.1:

The “International Centre for Synchrotron Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East”, hereinafter called “SESAME”, shall provide for collaboration in the Middle East and the Mediterranean Region with free access to all scientists of SESAME members in relevant areas of research, being also open to scientists from the whole world, in basic and applied research using synchrotron radiation or closely related topics.

Article I.2:

Special support will be given to work of relevance to the region and scientific and industrial research. SESAME shall not undertake classified work for military purposes or other secret research and the results of its experimental and theoretical activities shall be ultimately published or otherwise made generally available. The Council referred to in Article III [of the Statutes] shall adopt appropriate regulations concerning intellectual property and industrial interests.

Relevant Provisions of the Rules of Procedure of the SESAME Council

Article 4.1:

The approval of experiments, beam lines and instrumentation, as well as the allocation of beam time will be the responsibility of the Directorate, taking into account the advice of the Advisory Committees.

Article 4.2:

Subject to Article 4.1 above, scientists from Members in the relevant areas of research and training have free access to the SESAME facilities, including existing beam lines and instruments.

Article 4.3:

Scientists from Non-Members (including Observers) shall have access to the SESAME facilities under the following conditions:

  1. the proposed work must correspond to the objectives of SESAME as laid down in the Statutes (Article I);
  2. their participation must contribute to maintaining or improving the intellectual, instrumental or teaching standards of the overall programme or be of exceptional scientific or technical quality, or otherwise in the clear interest of SESAME or of science in the Middle East and neighbouring regions;
  3. the activities should be carried out preferentially in collaboration with scientists from Members;
  4. in cases in which these Non-Members do not provide scientists from the SESAME Members with reciprocal access to comparable facilities, they will be expected to become Members of SESAME should their use of SESAME start to approach that of Members;
  5. if condition (b) is not satisfied, the Director may allow use of SESAME on the condition that the resources (financial, in-kind or manpower) to be supplied should not only cover the needs of the experiment in question but should also provide an indirect contribution to the general operating cost.

Article 4.4:

The Council will monitor the use of SESAME by scientists from Non-Members, which the Director will report to the Council annually.

Article 4.5:

The Council will encourage, and give support to, national agencies representing Members of SESAME so that they may closely involve the industrial sectors of the region in exploiting the unique opportunities offered by SESAME.

I.2 SESAME subscribes to the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics Recommendations for the Use of Major Physics Users Facilities, with the caveats implied in Article 4.3 of the Rules of Procedure concerning use of SESAME by scientists from Observers and other countries that are not Members of SESAME.

I.3 SESAME will endeavour to facilitate access to its instrumentation to new or occasional users in the SESAME Members and to qualified and deserving users with restricted financial resources in the SESAME Members, such as very young researchers, as well as to small-scale industries based in the SESAME Members (subject to the conditions related to industrial use described in section III below).

I.4 Intellectual property resulting from the use of SESAME’s facilities will be retained by the institution or institutions that funded the work conducted at SESAME, unless otherwise specified in a Memorandum of Understanding related to this use. The Intellectual Property resulting from discoveries made by employees of SESAME is owned by SESAME.

I.5 SESAME has the right to refuse access to its facilities to researchers who have committed scientific misconduct at SESAME or elsewhere, been negligent and caused substantial damage to instrumentation that they used, or otherwise behaved in a way judged by the Director to be unethical.

II. Facilities at the Disposal of Users

II.1 SESAME will provide Users with appropriate instrumentation and the necessary support facilities needed to carry out approved experiments.

II.2 SESAME will endeavour to set up specialized facilities related to approved proposals, such as advanced laboratories, etc., in response to ad hoc requests from Users, under conditions to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

11.3 SESAME will give priority in accommodation at the Guest House located on its campus to Users in the SESAME Members.

III. Categories of Users and Allocation of Beam time

III.1 SESAME defines three categories of external users:

  1. General Users (GU). These are (groups of) scientists who are allocated beam time to conduct experiments at SESAME based on proposals that have been peer-reviewed by the Proposal Review Committee (PRC). The terms of reference of this Committee are posted on the SESAME web site; the criteria it applies are described in section V below. These proposals may be for a single experiment requiring one visit to SESAME, or for a programme requiring multiple visits. 75% of the beam time that is available (after allowing for use by Participatory Research Teams) will normally be reserved for General Users. This beam time will be allocated on a six-monthly basis, though research proposals may remain valid for two years subject to a beam time continuation request being made for each six-month cycle. Scheduling of the beam time will be prepared by the management of SESAME, in close consultation with the beamline scientists.

  2. Participatory Research Teams (PRTs). These are research teams that have contributed to the funding, building and/or operation of SESAME beamlines. PRT members may be from a single institution or from a consortium of institutions. The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), which is responsible for advising the SESAME Council on construction of substantial new scientific infrastructure, will evaluate and provide advice to the Director on proposals to form Participatory Research Teams. Proposals that involve the construction of infrastructure that goes beyond the scope of SESAME’s current medium- or long-term plans require the approval of the Council; otherwise, approval rests with the Director. A certain percentage of the available time at a beam to which a PRT has contributed will be reserved for its exclusive use. Any percentage of the beam time reserved for a PRT that is not utilised by the PRT may be used by the General Users. The percentage of time to be reserved for a PRT will be negotiated with the Director of SESAME, based on the resources contributed by the PRT, and recorded in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Approval will typically be for three years, following which the PRT may apply for renewal, on the basis of a new MoU to be negotiated with the Director. Unless otherwise laid down in the MoU, PRT proposals for beam time are usually peer-reviewed by the PRC.

    PRT members may not apply for the General Users’ beam time on their own beamline unless this is specifically authorized in their MoU with SESAME, although the Scientific Director may authorise their use of any unassigned General User beam time. They may however apply for beam time as General Users to carry out experiments on other beamlines.

    PRTs may not establish industrial collaborations without the authorisation of the Director of SESAME who will decide what charges such industrial collaborators should be required to pay.

  3. Industrial Users (IU). Subject to the condition that the scientific results must ultimately be published or otherwise made available (as required by Article I.2 of the Statutes), the SESAME Council encourages use of SESAME by industries based in the SESAME Members (as stated in Article 4.5 of its Rules of Procedure). Up to 15% of available beam time may be allocated for Industrial Users, based on proposals evaluated by the SESAME Directorate. The fee to be charged for any single experiment will be determined by the SESAME Directorate based on a market analysis. Part of this fee will be used for the development of experimental facilites that may be needed at SESAME for the experiment.

III.2 Up to 25% of the beam time (after allowing for use by Participatory Research Teams) will normally be available for the following in-house use:

  1. use by SESAME and PRT Beamline Scientists for their professional development subject to the Director ensuring that the proposed use is consistent with SESAME’s objectives; after three-years, continuation of this allocation will be subject to annual joint review by SESAME and the Scientific Advisory Committee, taking account of the use the beamline scientist has made of the beam time and his or her scientific productivity;

  2. beamline development and maintenance.

Members of the SESAME staff may participate in other experiments at SESAME in collaboration with General Users or PRTs.

A summary of use of SESAME for beamline development and maintenance and in-house scientific use at the Director’s discretion will be reported annually to the Council’s Scientific Advisory Committee.

III.3 Up to 10% of the beam time (after allowing for use by Participatory Research Teams) will normally be available for use allocated by the Director at his or her discretion (‘Director Discretionary Time’), typically for General Users in Non-Members (including Observers), short trials deemed desirable for the development of SESAME’s scientific and/or industrial programme, very promising beam time requests received after a proposal submission deadline, and beam time that may be allocated on an individual user basis in the case of lost beam time.

IV. Safety

IV.1 All users and staff are expected to know and follow applicable safety rules at all times. Information about user and experiment safety is given at the Safety for Users Web pages which will be available from the autumn of 2016.

IV.2 When submitting proposals, all categories of users are required to draw attention to any potential safety hazards and to list any potentially-dangerous substances that they plan to bring to SESAME. This notification must be updated if the situation changes at any time.

V. Evaluation of General User and PRT Proposals

V.1 Before General User and PRT proposals are evaluated by the PRC:

  1. the initial safety assessment required by SESAME’s Safety Regulations must have been carried out;

  2. the relevant Beamline Scientist (BS) must appraise, and report to the PRC on, the technical feasibility of the proposals.

V.2 In evaluating proposals and determining their priority, the PRC will use the following criteria, based on IUPAP’s Recommendations for the Use of Major Physics Users Facilities:

  1. scientific merit (interpreted as: relevance, impact, innovation, potential of the scientific and/or technological case and/or relevance, and applied importance of instrumental development);

  2. technical feasibility;

  3. capability of the proponent(s);

  4. availability of the resources required.

Guidelines that the PRC will use to score proposals are given in the Committee’s Terms of Reference.

VI. Conflict Resolution Process

If conflicts arise between users and/or between users and SESAME, parties seeking redress or resolution may submit a petition to the SESAME Director who will endeavour to resolve the dispute. If this proves impossible, the Director will appoint an ad hoc committee to review the disputed matter. The committee, composed of a representative from the SESAME Users' Committee, from the Scientific Advisory Committee and from SESAME, will advise the Director on the fair resolution of the dispute.

VII. Lost beam time

When user beam time is lost due to beamline or storage ring malfunction, SESAME will be unable to automatically reschedule this lost time because of the negative repercussion this will have on other scheduled users. However, it will attempt to reassign beam time to those affected from that which may become available by late cancellations or by using reserve time (typically about four days at the end of the running period). In either case, the re-scheduling decision is taken by the relevant Beamline Scientist and approved by the Scientific Director. Moreover, on an individual user basis, Director Discretionary Time may be allocated when possible.

VIII. Reporting and Monitoring

VIII.1 Scientific users of SESAME (General Users, members of PRTs, and in-house) are required to publish their results in a timely and responsible manner and to notify the beamline scientist of the host beamline and the Director of SESAME of publications resulting from work conducted there. SESAME's infrastructures are to be duly acknowledged in all publications resulting from use of SESAME’s facilites. Failure to do so may affect future allocation of beam time.

VIII.2 Users are required to acknowledge any financial support (e.g. travel and subsistence allowance) provided by SESAME to enable their use of SESAME’s facilites in any publication resulting from the work carried out. Failure to do so may result in the support provided having to be paid back and may affect future allocation of beam time.

VIII.3 SESAME consults the SESAME Users’ Committee (SUC) on matters that affect use of SESAME.

VIII.4 SESAME will monitor the level of satisfaction of its user community jointly with the Scientific Advisory Committee, and will take all necessary actions to increase users' satisfaction. With the Scientific Advisory Committee, it will also monitor the output of the research conducted at its beamlines in terms of publications and impact on society, and it will take account of data related to users' satisfaction and users' productivity when planning the development of its instrumentation.