International Synchrotron Access Program


The International Synchrotron Access Program (ISAP) is administered by the Australian Synchrotron and is designed to assist Australian-based synchrotron users to access overseas synchrotron related facilities. Sources such as free electron lasers (FELs) will also be considered. The objectives of the program are:

  • To facilitate access to international synchrotron related facilities for Australian University researchers by providing travel and subsistence funding;
  • To ensure that those projects are funded which will yield the greatest benefit to the Australian community, and which strategically enhance Australia’s synchrotron and research capabilities;
  • To enhance in the Australian research community awareness and expertise in emerging synchrotron techniques and methodologies.


Selection Criteria

The International Program Advisory Committee (IPAC) will prioritise projects on the basis of three selection criteria:

Nature of the requirement to use an overseas facility

Applications for overseas funding must provide a well-defined case for the requirement to use an overseas facility. It must be clearly demonstrated that the beamline facilities at the Australian Synchrotron do not meet the needs of the project in terms of capability. Ideally, applicants should reference in their proposals that they have engaged in communications with an appropriate Australian Synchrotron beamline scientist, as well as the outcomes of such discussions.

Strategic benefit to the Australian Synchrotron & research communities

The IPAC includes fostering of scientific excellence as one of its strategic priorities . Applications should, however, also address how the work will strategically benefit the Australian research community and, in particular, how it will enhance awareness and expertise in emerging synchrotron techniques and methodologies. Research that is directly related to the development of existing or future beamlines will be well regarded by the committee.

Community benefit through scientific importance and impact

This criterion encompasses the quality of the science and its wider impact. Applicants should describe the importance and significance of the proposed project, and how their work will benefit the broader Australian community. The existing or potential translational outcomes and impact from the research should be discussed.

Tips for writing strategic and community benefit statements

These few points aim to improve the relevance of proponent’s entries in these two important selection criteria for ISAP grants and should be read in conjunction with the existing guidelines. They will improve the ranking of your proposal and will ensure that committee time is spent reviewing the best possible arguments for funding. As always, making your pitch easy to read for the committee is a good start, so do use paragraphs and bullet points, don’t have a huge slab of text where we need to go looking for the actual benefits.

Synchrotron benefit statement

•    Do not just restate the scientific case – the committee gets this as well, and it is not formally part of the scoring criteria
•    Describe tangible benefits for the synchrotron community – these might include new techniques, cross-correlation of data between facilities, evaluation of sample environments for consideration/implementation in new beamlines
•    Describe the number of students that will be involved and how their training will be enhanced
•    Describe new international collaborations that could result and how they might be ‘disseminated’ so groups doing similar studies
•    Describe your commitment to disseminate findings at synchrotron related conferences

Example synchrotron benefit statement

Acknowledgement: The International Program Advisory Committee is grateful to the Hooper group (Ritchie Centre, Hudson Institute of Medical Research) for allowing their proposal to be used as an exemplar to ISAP applicants.

Proposal title: Examination of glottis function at birth with multi‒view phase‒contrast imaging

How is this work of strategic benefit to the Australian Synchrotron and its research communities?: One of the biggest problems in neonatal medicine is providing assisted ventilation to premature newborns, without damaging their lungs. Our research has pioneered the use of phase contrast X-ray imaging to investigate the effects of different resuscitation strategies on lung aeration after birth; this has already influenced clinical practice. Our work is unique because it visually demonstrates how different resuscitation strategies affect the way the lungs expand and deflate, both globally and regionally. No other research group in neonatal medicine has been able to provide a regional analysis of lung aeration at birth. To ensure that our research is relevant to current clinical practice, we work closely with clinicians who help us to design research that has great impact and benefit to neonatal medicine. In addition, our research has strategic benefit for the synchrotron community as it has required the development of several new methodologies to analyse the phase contrast X-ray images and provide information on regional lung gas volumes and motion. These techniques are unique to our research group, but are of great interest to others interested in synchrotron imaging, particularly those investigating pre-clinical models of human disease. This work also contributes to the education of many future research leaders and increases the capability of synchrotron research in Australia and overseas. Our research has already involved numerous higher degrees students (Honours, Masters and PhD) in fields including physiology, neonatology, engineering and physics. These projects are developing an Australian cohort of early career researchers trained in synchrotron science who could transfer their skills and experience and ongoing research to the Australian Synchrotron. This will help to quickly generate internationally competitive research at the Australian Synchrotron.

Community benefit

•    Do not pay lip service to this section – it carries the same weight as the synchrotron benefit
•    Provide the essential link between the research and final outcome of significance for the person on the street
•    Make a link to National Research Priorities if there is one
•    Are there likely to be ‘politically appetising’ outcomes that can assist the synchrotron in drawing attention to outcomes in the mainstream media? Do not try too hard on this one as it will sounds convoluted if it is not sensible to do so, but if it is obvious then it should be here.

Example community benefit statement

Acknowledgement: The International Program Advisory Committee is grateful to the Hooper group (Ritchie Centre, Hudson Institute of Medical Research) for allowing their proposal to be used as an exemplar to ISAP applicants.

Proposal title: Examination of glottis function at birth with multi‒view phase‒contrast imaging

How will this work benefit the broader community?: Babies born with immature lungs often require assistance to breathe. Although assisted ventilation is often necessary for survival, it can cause immediate lung and brain injury and life-long lung disease and brain damage. A major obstacle in identifying safe ventilation techniques has been the inability to visually observe lung aeration at birth. We have developed techniques to acquire high-resolution images of regional lung volume and motion at birth, allowing us to identify resuscitation strategies that are protective to the lung. Our work demonstrating the benefits of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) has been incorporated into the 2010 International Liaison Committee Guidelines on Resuscitation, guiding the management of neonatal resuscitation worldwide. The videos have also been incorporated into the Victorian Government’s “Neoresus” website helping paediatricians to resuscitate preterm infants. More than 9,000 health providers have already attended and benefitted from this program. Providing PEEP is now standard of care for many hospitals worldwide and its benefits were most clearly demonstrated by our synchrotron X-ray imaging. Our work is also changing the understanding of lung aeration and pulmonary blood flow at birth. Our synchrotron images clearly demonstrate high blood flow in non-aerated regions of the lung at birth. This is in contrast to the current dogma and means that a significant amount of blood is going to regions of the lung where it has no potential to exchange gases. This information could affect the management of all premature babies, particularly those with pulmonary hypertension, which causes significant morbidity and mortality. Our continued collaborations with neonatologists (the clinicians caring for preterm babies), helps to guide our research and ensures our results have the potential for clinical translation. Overall this work benefits the broader community by reducing death and long-term disease in premature babies and reducing associated health care costs.

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Eligibility Criteria

  • Please note that the eligibility criteria for the program have recently changed and you will only be eligible for funding if your application for beamtime has been approved by the overseas facility. Evidence of this approval must be uploaded via the User Portal at the time of ISAP proposal submission.
  • The ISAP is open to all researchers with an appointment at an Australian institution.
  • You must have your travel approved by your Head of Organisation, DVC, Division or School Head or Managing Director prior to submitting your proposal. Please click here to download the 'international funding request form' – this must be completed, signed and uploaded with your proposal in order for you application to be considered.

How and When to Apply

How to Apply

To apply for access funding for an overseas synchrotron facility, you will need to submit a proposal via the online proposal system.

Please ensure that all researchers requiring funding are listed as ATTENDING on the 'Researchers' page of the proposal, and that the user accounts of all researchers have their ORGANISATION selected.

The following items are required when submitting the application:

  • The signed 1 page ‘international funding request form’; this can be downloaded below.
  • A copy of the merit proposal submitted to the overseas facility to which the funding request relates - all proposals must be submitted in English
  • Evidence of the scheduled beamtime dates if the beamtime has been scheduled or evidence of the award of beamtime if scheduled dates are not yet available.

Please click here to download the 'international funding request form'.

When to Apply

Applications will be accepted at any time; submissions will be considered quarterly. 

Applications for funding can be submitted before or after you conduct your experiment at the international facility, provided requests fall within the time periods outlined below.

Funding application cut-off dates are as follows:

11.59pm Wednesday 8 November, 2017 (Melbourne time) for beamtime scheduled from 11 July 2017 onwards

11.59pm Tuesday 6 March, 2018 (Melbourne time) for beamtime scheduled from 09 November 2017 onwards

11.59pm Tuesday 10 July, 2018 (Melbourne time) for beamtime scheduled from 07 March 2018 onwards

11.59pm Wednesday 07 November, 2018 (Melbourne time) for beamtime scheduled from 11 July 2018 onwards

Applications submitted by these cut-off dates will be considered for travel funding within 3 weeks and applicants notified of the outcome within 4 weeks.

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Level Of Funding

  • ISAP is intended to cover the majority of the cost of air, accommodation, meals and contingencies as well as overseas ground travel, and it is anticipated that under some circumstances the actual cost of travel may exceed the award.
  • A maximum of two travellers will be funded per application, and the maximum duration of beamtime to be funded is three days.
  • Funding will be provided as a single-line budget and variation is allowable between the amounts determined for airfares and ground transport. However, if fewer people travel than the number in the application, the maximum funding level will be reduced.

Region: North America

Updated on: Dec 2012


Number of Persons 1 2
Number of days scheduled beamtime    
1 $2,900 $5,600
2 $3,100 $6,000
3 $3,300 $6,400

Region: Europe

Updated on: Dec 2012

Number of Persons 1 2
Number of days scheduled beamtime    
1 $3,100 $6,000
2 $3,300 $6,400
3 $3,500 $6,800


Region: Asia:

Updated on: Dec 2012


Number of Persons 1 2
Number of days scheduled beamtime    
1 $2.400 $4,600
2 $2,600 $5,000
3 $2,800 $5,400

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How to Claim Funding

If your ISAP application is successful you are to make necessary travel arrangements and once all expenses have been incurred raise a tax invoice to the Australian Synchrotron for the exact amount (up to the approved amount). The funding will be valid for 1 year from the date of approved funding notification.

The applicant will also be required to acquit this funding and return the acquittal form to the Australian Synchrotron User Office. 

Please click here for Invoice and Acquittal information.