STREAMLINE is a Horizon2020 funded project that will complement the ESRF-EBS upgrade by enhancing user operation through new procedures and systems. STREAMLINE is a grant worth 5 million Euros for which the ESRF is the sole beneficiary. STREAMLINE will run for 54 months, from 15 November 2019 to 14 May 2024.
In 2020, the ESRF’s Extremely Brilliant Source (ESRF-EBS), which is a 2018 ESFRI Roadmap Landmark, began user operation delivering the world’s first high-energy fourth-generation synchrotron.
The ESRF-EBS source upgrade provides X-ray beams with performances increased by a factor 100 in terms of brilliance and coherence, compared with third-generation synchrotrons. The enhanced X-ray beams, together with the most advanced portfolio of new beamlines and a “data-as-a-service” strategy, will allow completely new experiments as well as significant gains in resolution or rapidity for existing experiments. EBS therefore provides potential for increased capacity at the beamlines.
STREAMLINE will adapt the systems involved in user operation to make an increase in the number of user experiments possible. New services will be envisaged and automation at the beamlines will be used to allow high-throughput.
STREAMLINE also aims to promote the new opportunities for research to existing users and new scientific communities. Benefits will be felt by both academia and industry. This will allow the ESRF to become rapidly the first operational demonstrator of a high-energy fourth-generation synchrotron.
For more information about ESRF-EBS: www.esrf.eu/about/upgrade.
WP1: Project management, communication, dissemination and exploitation
WP1 addresses the project coordination, management and dissemination activities of STREAMLINE. Within this work package there is provision for workshops to disseminate results of streamline to the European light source community.
WP2: Business plan and facility access policies
WP2 addresses the facility’s business plan and access policies in the context of the new scientific opportunities afforded by the new ESRF-EBS storage ring. WP2 is therefore the cornerstone of STREAMLINE’s overall sustainability objectives and planning for the ESRF. Its results will drive the remaining work packages.
The overall aim of WP2 is therefore to produce a sustainable business plan through a wide-ranging review of scientific opportunities with strong socio-economic impact, whilst also building a tenable set of user administrative practices and access models, for academic and industrial researchers, compatible with the vastly increased ESRF-EBS capacities and the ESRF’s current, emerging and new user communities. This will undoubtedly involve extending the mail-in service, leveraging the experience of the existing mail-in service for structural biology.
Status update as of May 2022:
- Creation of a new “community access” concept through the identification of three new access models: science HUB, science-driven BAG, technique-driven BAG. The aims in each case are to (i) increase the ESRF’s responsiveness to the societal challenges identified as the most important ones in terms of sustainability (environment, energy….) and improvement of the human condition (health, food security….), (ii) maximise the impact of the ESRF’s capabilities in those areas and (iii) optimise the research carried out by encouraging collaboration within the community, pooling community expertise and resources, and optimising the efficient use of the available beamtime.
- Development of the PUMA (publication and user experiment metadata analyser) software application to provide an enhanced approach to reporting on user-related activities from both academia and industry, thereby developing a powerful tool for monitoring user, beamline and facility activity and the impact of the ESRF. (See PUMA news item).
- A study on the possibility of hosting SMEs on the EPN Campus, particularly the “intermediary” companies which access commercial beam time and add value through data analysis, looked at the limitations and interest from SMEs for such a hosting.
WP3: Update user tools and administrative procedures
WP3 builds upon the strategic steering provided by WP2 and addresses the necessary adaptations to the ESRF’s user administrative frameworks and revisits the access models, industry charging models and KPI (key performance indicator) generation. A key element of this strategy will be the enlarged use of mail-in services for researchers from academia and industry.
This work package aims to increase user operation efficiency to match the new ESRF-EBS experimental capacity, making increased experimental throughput feasible. The challenge is two-fold, firstly to improve the capacity of the current systems to cope with EBS throughput, and secondly to effect a fundamental change in the way some users and communities carry out their experiments: increasing experimental efficiency and saving time for the scientists, thereby making experiments both more cost effective and time efficient.
Status update as of May 2022:
- Implementation of fully-remote experiments across all beamlines; workflows introduced to enable compatible experiments to be carried out remotely – this allowed user operation to continue during the COVID pandemic and has encouraged a general increase in the number of users participating in experiments remotely.
- Creation of three pilot proposals for the new “community access” mode concept: the “Battery Hub” proposal, the science-driven “Historical Materials” BAG and the technique-driven “Shock” BAG. These proposals have allowed the concept to be successfully tested and guidelines for the governance, selection, follow-up and administrative handling of these community access proposals to be drawn up. Web pages have been published describing the concept of “Community access proposals” as a new access mode and linking to the 3 existing pilot proposals: Historical Materials BAG, Shock BAG and Grenoble Battery Hub. (See related news item)
- ESRF commercial beam time charges have been updated to reflect the fresh investment made in the ESRF Extremely Brilliant Source (EBS) as well as new services and interests from industry.
- New proposal forms and updated workflows for users are being implemented in a new version of the ESRF User Portal; the first module(s) of the new User Portal is (are) expected to be available in 2023.
- The travel rules for users have been updated and a new software for handling user business travel, SAP Concur, has been implemented; this will help control the costs related to an increasing number of users.
- New procedures for sample declaration and sample tracking have been implemented; by using sample sheets and declaring samples in ICAT, users’ parcels may be tracked to and from the ESRF, and also on the ESRF site. This important development allowed the ESRF to run fully remotely for large parts of 2020 and 2021 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
WP4: Build capacity
WP4 seizes the opportunities for new experiment capacities. The ESRF-EBS will enable new experimental capacities – both in terms of wholly new experiments and in terms of throughput and volume of samples. WP4 will deliver enlarged capacity with new service designs supported by laboratory management information systems and on-line data analysis tools. An important aspect underpinning future developments is the application of machine learning to data collection and analysis, which could be particularly powerful (for example) in supporting higher speed data analysis to report results rapidly and inform experiment strategy whilst the samples are still at the ESRF.
The new services will be co-designed with interested parties from both academia and industry. These new services will lower the barriers of access for researchers by making the techniques more approachable and encouraging their access to become “routine” for regular users. For non-expert users, the new services should feel like any other analytical services and therefore the excellence of the ESRF should become accessible to new communities.
Status update as of May 2022:
- Remote sample tracking has been extended to all beamlines and experiments, which enabled samples to be sent and tracked for remote experiments during the COVID pandemic. The sample tracking has been used for sending over 5000 samples for 42 beamlines since the start of the EBS in 2020.
- A high-throughput XRF spectroscopy system has been co-designed, installed, commissioned and deployed on BM23 in collaboration with the University of Montpellier. The system is already available for exploitation by both academics and industrial users. (See related news item)
- A routine powder diffraction high throughput system (HTpXRD) is currently under development in collaboration with the company BASF. A first prototype system will be tested on ID31 in June. A service descriptor for commercial exploitation is also under preparation. (See related news item)
- EASI-STRESS, a project fully dedicated to residual stress measurement has been financed by H2020. (see: EASI-STRESS project website)
- A generic solution for workflows for automating data reduction has been developed and tested on MX beamlines. The workflows for the high throughput powder diffraction experiment have been developed and will be tested with the first experiments using the new HTpXRD sample environment on ID31. (See related news item)
- The new database backend of ISPyB in Python developed by EMBL-HH has been validated at the ESRF as part of STREAMLINE and is being applied to the CryoEM as first test case. The next steps are to specify the needs for Serial Crystallography (SSX) with the scientists and then develop the backend and frontend / web interface.
- An AI/ML algorithm has been developed for computing XRF intensities for a subset of specific elements (e.g. Al_K) from an XRF spectrum. The first use case will be to calculate and display the elements distribution of XRF maps on ID21.
WP5: User engagement, training and outreach
WP5 addresses the outreach and training required for both academic and industrial researchers to most effectively exploit the scientific opportunities of the ESRF-EBS, and the new access methods and services developed within STREAMLINE. The tasks of WP5 address both existing user communities and new communities that will be identified within WP2.
Videos will be used extensively as a training method of particular interest to users and future users, encouraging them to learn about a beamline or particular technique in preparation for an experiment at the facility. This is especially pertinent for mail in services and remote access experiments where users need knowledge of the beamline and advice on sample preparation, and who will not receive hands-on training at the beamline. An “Ambassador Programme” will be run to permit ESRF staff to give presentations at Schools/Universities in European Member States targeting the younger generation to raise the awareness of the capabilities of X-ray experiments and to inspire take-up of STEM careers, eventually to become synchrotron users and even synchrotron staff. An “Insight Programme” will permit completely new users to join peer-reviewed user experiments that have been accepted for beam time, to acquire an immediate understanding of the challenges and opportunities offered by EBS beamlines. A wide range of workshops and forums for discussion will be held to nurture new and emerging communities – a central element of building long-term sustainability and extending the user base of the ESRF.
Status update as of May 2022 :
- The production of training and advertising videos, with a total of 12 “how-to” videos, 13 “#EBSstories“, 5 videos “follow-a-scientist“
- A series of EBS webinars in which expert users and ESRF scientists showcase scientific activities in various domains and explain the new possibilities offered by ESRF-EBS
- Two workshops organised for emerging communities focussing on a) cultural and natural heritage and b) static and dynamic extreme conditions involving lasers or other shock-generating devices in combination with X-ray probes.
- One sandpit, a workshop to develop future user communities, focussed on the technique of dark-field X-ray microscopy (DFXM).
- Communication with industrial users through the organisation of an “intermediaries meeting” and two webinars.
Presentation: An overview of STREAMLINE