Become a User

Facilities Updates

The preferred mode of operation at MRL is self use after completing the necessary training. In certain cases when advanced characterization is required or if the project is short-term, facility staff may perform the analysis/processing of samples for users. All users are required to submit a proposal before work can begin. Additionally, researchers who are not from the University of Illinois are required to have a Facilities Use Agreement (for self use), or a Technical Testing Agreement (for sample analysis by MRL staff) in place.

Already an MRL User?

  • To add any new technique(s) to your existing project at MRL, select the 'Change of Scope' option (rather than the 'New' option) using the links above.
  • To work on more than one project, submit a 'New' proposal for the additional project(s). You will be issued another MRL user ID, and your instrument permissions and safety training will be added to your new ID. Please note: if you add new technique(s) to your additional project, your new user ID will not be issued until your project has been reviewed by MRL staff. Please contact MRL Facilities staff with any questions.
  • To change the account (CFOPA) that your existing MRL work will be billed to, please contact the MRL Facilities staff.

The following step-by-step guide illustrates the procedure for University of Illinois users, however the steps to submit a proposal are similar for outside academic and non-academic users: How to Submit a Proposal

For fee structure information, please visit the Usage Rates page.

General Resources for MRL Users

Central Research Facilities Use Acknowledgement Requirement

Please review the MRL Facilities Access Options before following these steps to become a user of the MRL facilities.

1.  Submit a proposal

Submit an online proposal with details of the research work and if known, the required instrumentation. The proposal form is different depending on your affiliation. To review a sample proposal form, please use the sample proposal forms link below.

Proposal form for University of Illinois (all campuses)

Proposal form for other Academic Institutions and Government Agency users (outside the University of Illinois system)

Proposal form for Business or Industrial users (including UI Enterprise Works)

Instrument hourly rates are available online for academic/government or industrial use. Notice that rates depend on self-use (independent work once training is complete), or staff-assisted (training or work carried out by staff) modes.

If you have questions during the proposal submission process, please e-mail

Once the proposal is submitted, you will receive a confirmation email. Your proposal will be reviewed by MRL staff to evaluate the safety and feasibility of your project using the technique(s) you requested. After the review, you will receive an approval e-mail with a new MRL user number. We will also follow up with you via email in case we have questions or concerns about the feasibility of your proposal.

*If you are an instructor or student needing access to the MRL for a course or senior design project, please follow this guide.

Sample Proposal Forms

Sample proposal forms for University of Illinois (all campuses), other Academic Institutions and Government Agency users (outside the University of Illinois system), and Business or Industrial users (including UI Enterprise Works).

2.  Complete the Division of Research Safety (DRS) online safety training

Complete Laboratory Safety and Chemical Safety: An Introduction online training in the Division of Research Safety website. Users from outside the University of Illinois system need to contact us first before accessing that website.

Complete DRS Training


3.  Complete the MRL Orientation

New users are required to watch the MRL Orientation video before accessing the shared instrumentation facilities. The video covers details on the MRL building access, important office and resource locations, lab safety procedures, etc. It also includes a full tutorial on how to use our scheduling system to reserve instrument time and how to request training on a particular tool. Please make sure you watch this video before moving to the next step.

MRL Orientation


4.  Review the Building Emergency Action Plan (BEAP)

Safety is the top priority in MRL. The Building Emergency Action Plan (BEAP) includes instructions for building evacuation, contacts, phone lists and floor plans showing exit locations within the MRL building complex.

Reviewing this Building Emergency Action Plan (BEAP) information is required before each new user can have access to the facilities. Existing facilities users and MRL building residents are required to review the BEAP information on an annual basis.

Additional information available from campus police:


Review Supercon BEAP



5.  Become trained by MRL staff on the instruments

After completing steps 1-4, request hands-on instrument training through the MRL online scheduling system. Once you have been fully trained on an instrument or piece of equipment, you will be able to reserve time to use it independently. Please review our required facilities acknowledgment to be included in publications including results obtained through the MRL facilities.

Request Training


6.  Key/Card access to the lab

Once training is completed and staff determines that you can independently operate the instrument on a 24/7 basis, please submit a request for key/card access to the lab here. This process applies to users from the UIUC campus with a NetID. For users from outside our campus, please e-mail for more detailed options.

Request Key/Card access