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The Sample Information and Safety Sheet ('sample sheet') is an electronic form that provides the ESRF with complete information on a sample to be studied in a Structural Biology experiment (only for proposals with research area designation: MX – MX BAG proposal and MX Rolling Access Proposal).

A sample sheet is used two ways:

  1. Initially, it is associated electronically with a proposal,
  2. Later, it is associated electronically with the A Form to declare the sample that will be studied during a particular scheduled experimental session of that accepted proposal.


The sample sheet gives ESRF staff members enough information to:

  • Assess risks at an early stage by the Safety Group
  • Correctly evaluate proposal and assess necessary beamlines and beam time
  • Schedule efficiently the experiment sessions
  • Prepare efficiently for the experiment sessions

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Features of the electronic system

Both the main proposer and co-proposers already registered in the (new) electronic application form for Structural Biology beam time (BAG proposal or Rolling Access proposal) may manage sample sheets.

  • Detailed safety information is absolutely required. Safety info must conform to all ESRF and French requirements.
  • One sheet allowed per sample.
  • At least one sheet is required to allow proposer to validate a BAG or a Rolling proposal.
  • Multiple sample sheets are allowed per proposal.
  • Samples can be added and modified throughout life of proposal—at least three calendar days before the related experiment session.
  • Samples can be duplicated to start new sample sheets for later experiment sessions or proposals (a new sample has a new database number and all fields can be edited).
  • Proposers can reuse any sample from any proposal on which they are listed as a main proposer, co-proposer or user.
  • Each sample is assigned a safety rating (colour) independent of proposal.

Contents of a sample sheet

Complete and submit one sample sheet for each sample for which you are requesting beam time.

Each sample sheet contains:

  • a description of the sample: classification of the substance, classification of the sample, ...). It includes the definition of the protein acronym which cannot be edited after the sample sheet is submitted.
  • details on 'Handling and special equipment' required,
  • for BAG proposals only: the 'Experimental characteristics and specific requirements' (scientific justification, space group, unit cell, scattering parameters, type of data collection). See also on this page 'Special issues for BAG proposals'.
    • Certification of correctness (name and contact information).

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Create and submit an electronic sample sheet during the process of submission of a new proposal (BAG or Rolling)

Once the electronic application form for a structural biology proposal has been correctly saved and attributed a reference number,  access the sample sheet submission tool, via the User Portal, as follows:

User account: Tab 'Proposals/Experiments' -> 'Proposals'  -> tab 'Proposals in process'
-> click on icon next to 'Sample sheets required':

  1. Add sample sheets, either by creating  new sample sheets or by duplicating sample sheets from previous proposals/experiments (for which you are already registered as main-proposer or co-proposer or/and user).
  2. On the last tab of the electronic sample sheet, click 'Submit' to add the sample sheet to the proposal.

►Choose the protein acronym carefully. This is the only field that cannot be edited after the sheet is submitted. The acronym must be unique within the proposal.
►On an unsaved sample, do not use the 'Proposals' or 'Samples for this proposal' buttons: data registered on sample sheet will be deleted.

Manage sample sheets linked to existing proposals/experiments with final number

Access the list of samples linked to proposals/experiments with which your name is associated as follows:

User account: tab 'Proposals/Experiments' ->'Proposals' -> tab 'Proposals with final number' -> click on 'Manage Samples' of the appropriate proposal/experiment

The 'Manage Samples' screen lists all samples declared for that specific proposal/experiment. You can add, duplicate, modify and delete sample sheets from this screen. 

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Modifying sample information

On the "Manage Samples" screen, in the list of samples, use the icons to view, edit or delete existing sample sheets.

For sample sheets duplicated from past proposals: the information is duplicated but the new sheet has a unique number and can be edited.

When a pre-existing sample is edited and resubmitted, its ESRF-assigned safety designation (link on Safety page: http://www.esrf.fr/UsersAndScience/UserGuide/Applying/SafetyRequirements (safety colour) is reset.

What happens after proposal submission

  1. Sample (sheet) number assigned
    • The system automatically assigns each sample a unique number and displays this number along with the proposal number at the top of the sample sheet.
  2. Risk category assigned
    • The ESRF Safety Group evaluates the risk for each sample and assigns it to a category (green, yellow, red). Go to the page 'Safety Requirements'. 
    • The safety colour is displayed in the sample list on the 'Manage Samples' screen.

The proposal takes its overall safety colour from its most restrictive sample. The proposal safety colour dictates the procedures required for starting the experiment.

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Special issues for BAG proposals

  • The submission of at least one sample sheet is mandatory to be able to validate and submit an application for BAG beam time.
  • Sample sheets which are submitted with a BAG Proposal are considered in the decision about beam time (see point below). Sample sheets may be added after the proposal submission deadline, but no additional time will be awarded.
  • Information from the sample sheets which are linked to a BAG Proposal is automatically collected into a 'Samples & Datasets Summary' within the BAG proposal. Once the Sample Information and Safety Sheet forms have been submitted a table 'Samples & Datasets Summary' will be automatically created in the electronic BAG beam time application form. This list will display the list of samples (protein names) and the number of datasets per category of experiment type and wavelength required (Fixed, MAD, SAD, BioSAXS, lambda=0.8-1.3A, lambda=other).
  • Additional data are required ('Experiment Data' tab):
    • Space group, unit cell values, anomalous scatterers, number and type of data collection (MAD, SAD, native, bio-SAXs).
    • The scientific justification for studying a sample must provide complete information covering (a) the significance of the proposed work, (b) the current state of the project (crystals available, diffraction limit, etc.) and (c) specific requirements (microfocus, microspec, unusual wavelengths, extensive screening etc.).

When duplicating samples from an earlier BAG proposal, verify that the information on the Experiment Data tab still meets your needs.

Special issues for Long Term Project proposals

  • Electronic Sample sheets can be added to a new proposal only after the User Office has validated the proposal which gets a final number (i.e. the submission of sample sheets is not possible during the process of submission and validation of the LTP by the main-proposer).

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Resources for safety information

Issues covered include...

  • Macromolecular samples
  • Micro-organisms or derivatives
  • Samples under ANSM control
  • Samples from humans (and/or derivatives therefrom)
  • Cell lines
  • Use of lasers
  • Dry ice
  • Travelling with samples
  • Request for lab facilities
  • Samples from a genetically modified organism

In case of difficulties ...

  • Should you run into difficulties in submitting your proposal, please contact the User Office by email or telephone +33 (0) 476 88 2552 or  2358 (08:00-17:00).
  • For help with technical difficulties with the software, contact the MIS Group. On 1st March and 10th September, the MIS Group can be contacted until midnight (French time).

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