MAX IV has just closed the second open user call for proposals for the beamlines BioMAX, NanoMAX and Hippie. In total 119 proposals were submitted, approximately half of them from Swedish institutions.
During the upcoming weeks the Program Advisory Committees will review these proposals and beamtime for the period October 2018 to June 2019 will be allocated. End of May a new call will be opened for commissioning experts for the beamlines Bloch and FinEstBeaMS. It will be followed this autumn by an open user call for these two beamlines.
So far, the quality of all instruments delivered by MAX IV is very good. The accelerators have above 97 per cent availability and the beamlines deliver stable high brightness beam and are equipped with state of the art detectors.
This is of course good news but MAX IV is still not aligned with the original timeline made in 2011. Beamline status MAX IV May 2018 for the delivery of new beamlines has therefore recently been sent to one of our major funders, The Swedish Research Council (VR). This will be followed by quarterly updates at the request of VR.
Since the start of the project MAX IV has grown in many ways. It started from the small and mostly informal MAX-lab team in 2011 and with an ambition to build the seven beamlines funded by KAW and the Swedish universities – Bloch, Balder, BioMAX, FemtoMAX, HIPPIE, NanoMAX, and Veritas. It has now grown to a large and structured organisation with approximately 230 employees.
The support by users and funders has allowed increasing the beamline portfolio to a total of 16 beamlines. The second phase consists of FinEstBeaMS, SoftiMAX, CoSAXS, SPECIES, FlexPES, MAXPEEM, and the third phase of DanMAX, ForMAX, and MicroMAX.
This growth has been both fantastic and challenging. We had ambitious plans and time estimations but have not been as fast in delivering as we had originally hoped for. There are several reasons for the delays. In brief, bottlenecks in pooled resources combined with delays in finalising buildings, radiation permits, and hiring of skilled staff have all added to the challenge of building an effective management culture in this growing multi-project program.
Having identified the delays, we have over the last months worked on minimizing them and avoiding further delays. In a new action plan, we focus on:
- Define guiding principles for prioritisation
- Improve the process for resource allocation
- Identify and mitigate single point of failure
- Significantly increase bottle neck resources (IT, safety, automation),
- Improve communication (users, funders, internal)
Because we are a user facility our priorities are:
- Prio_0: Provide reliable and stable beams
- Prio_1: Users today
- Prio_2: Users in three months
- Prio_3: Long-term development of the MAX IV facility
Following these principles, resources are focused on beamlines that are most likely to see external users during 2018. As a consequence, work at parts of the phase II beamlines will be significantly slowed down or even postponed, but the phase III beamlines will not be affected.
We strongly believe that by focusing resources on finalising a few beamlines instead of trying to proceed with too many parallel projects, MAX IV will be able to deliver the overall scope in a more effective way. In fact, lessons learned in the first beamlines can be transferred to the upcoming beamlines, so that finalising these can be done more efficiently. Hence, the true delay of the full beamline portfolio might not be as severe.
MAX IV are dedicated to providing excellent tools for scientists to use in many years. We are proud of the progress made so far – new technologies, innovations and strong science. Having identified the problems above we can now address them. The user meeting in September will be a forum where we will be presenting the outcome of the new action plan and hopefully you will see that the changes already by then bear fruit and that we deliver more access to a larger number of beamlines soon.