User Operations and the AP28 call under COVID-19 conditions

Since the initial call for COVID-19 related research proposals, which were scheduled in April and May, Diamond has concentrated on creating safe and manageable working protocols with a view to allow further experiments to be conducted. Research now includes a wider set of remote and mail-in experiments and we anticipate inviting some users to come to Diamond from September.

Proposals that had to be cancelled are now being considered for beamtime via mail-in or remote operations, as long as the complexity of the proposed experiments matches the allowed working protocols. As a result, we have now opened most of Diamond’s instruments and we will continue to re-schedule feasible experiments until the end of 2020 and in some cases into 2021.

Note, that as we are rescheduling cancelled experiments the amount of beamtime available for many beamlines will not be extensive, but in particular for those users whose AP27 experiments have been cancelled and not deemed feasible in the present circumstances, we wanted to provide an opportunity for new proposals to be submitted. We will not be accepting any multi-instrument proposals or new long-term proposals in the AP28 round.

The next call
The call for AP28 is now open and the deadline for submission is the 30th September. For submissions of proposals including which beamlines will not participate in this call see Important information provided here.

Diamond is still accepting rapid proposals for COVID-19 related research – see below for details.

Beamline working conditions

Diamond is currently operating to keep staff and users safe.

The working levels we have defined are different from the UK government levels - they are defined in this way:

Currently at Level 2: We will attempt to schedule cancelled AP27 experiments that are feasible under Level 2 conditions. This means: Limited user presence on site, 1 or 2 users at the beamline at any time. Limited staff presence. Strict social distancing and working protocols. Possibly beam available into the weekend. Staff will not be expected to be on site in the evenings or at the weekend.

Level 1: Experiments which require operation at Level 1 (normal user operation) are unlikely to be scheduled, and Principal Investigators are encouraged to re-apply with a simplified experiment when the next call opens.

When a new call for proposals is made, experiments will be assessed for their feasibility at the expected operating Level. 

Currently we assume the schedule will be determined by running the sessions over a normal 6-day week with some users being able to visit Diamond to conduct their experiments. 

Please respect these points when writing your proposal:

  • We may be at Level 2, with only two users per experiment permitted on site at any one time, but shift working will be considered, with a total of 4 users working in teams of 2 people.
  • With limited user numbers per experiment, 24 hour operation may not be possible, due to the risk of user and staff fatigue.
  • Social distancing and COVID-19 working protocols increase the length of time required to perform tasks.
  • Ensure that you will have samples ready for scheduling at short notice. It will not be possible to accommodate user preferences for "good" and "bad" dates.
  • Beamline staff cannot take responsibility for setting up or operating sample environments owned by users.
  • Complicated, ambitious experimental equipment setups are not encouraged until we are confident that Level 1, normal user operation is possible.
  • As always, please discuss the feasibility of your proposal with beamline staff before submission.
  • Submit your proposals to UAS

The protocols Diamond works to can be found here.

Before you arrive: Go to the COVID-19 Protocols

MX proposals - responsive mode

For MX related proposals please follow the link here to the mode of access to MX beamlines pointing to our “responsive mode”

Rapid Access Call for Proposals: SARS-CoV-2

Diamond would like to ensure that it is doing everything possible to support researchers in their efforts to discover more about the COVID-19 virus and bring us closer to an effective vaccine or treatment.

With this in mind, we are offering priority rapid access for groups who require instrument time for projects directly related to SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins. Based on the number and nature of requests for priority rapid access, Diamond will make every effort to satisfy research priorities.

Submit a proposal for COVID-19 related research using the rapid access form here.

Or contact the team here:

UK national information relating to COVID-19

Diamond is aligning its approach to this outbreak with PHE Advice (Public Health England’s advisory website) and UK Gov. Travel Advice - These pages are updated regularly and you are advised to check the latest UK government statements through these sites.

If you believe you are at increased risk for any other reason, please see: to discuss personal risk and then adhere to their advice.


Users coming to Diamond to undertake experiments in the future are advised to consult the formal govenment website for the latest updated information on what is required. Please click here for more information.

Diamond's Values

Diamond seeks to foster a culture of working that is reflected in five values (Respect, Excellence, Collaboration, Integrity and Innovation). These values help everyone who comes here to work or use Diamond's facilities to have a common framework of understanding how we relate to each other and what we aspire to.


This benefits everyone: 

• Everyone is valued, trusted and respected regardless of their gender, location, age, ethnicity, beliefs, role, grade, religion or other personal attributes - treated with respect
• Diamond will be a great place to work
• Clarity on how to behave well and what you can expect from others
• Identify and plan development to meet the challenges of your current role and future roles






Contact the User Office

The User Office provides administrative support for users.

During the COVID19 conditions we are working from home. We will attend to email correspondence only.

Office Hours: Monday to Friday 08:30 - 16:30
Location: Room G61, Diamond House
Telephone: +44 (0) 1235 778571
Fax: +44 (0) 1235 778719

Contact for industrial users:
Elizabeth Shotton




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