S²C² Proposal Review


photo of students from Puerto Rico using one of SLAC's cryo-electron microscopes

Mission Statement:

The missions of the Stanford-SLAC Cryo-EM Center (S2C2) are:

  1. to provide access to state-of-the-art cryo-EM instruments for data collection towards atomic resolution structure determination of biochemically purified single particles and
  2. to enable scientists across the nation to become independent cryo-EM investigators.

Our Center also has cryo-specimen preparation devices, data quality assessment tools for on-the-fly evaluation and visualization, and image data storage capacity on a short-term basis. We provide expert staff that trains, assists and advises users, both on-site and remotely, and are available for consultation beforehand and in a follow-up program. We cross-train scientists who want to employ cryo-EM within their own research portfolios. Our training is targeted at a wide variety of skill levels - including short-term and long-term in-residence training programs for single particle cryo-EM workflow from specimen preparation to structure validation. Access to the Center is through an open process based on scientific merit.

Read about S2C2 »Apply to use the cryo-EM facilities »

The review criteria for S2C2 proposals are primarily based on the missions of the National Institutes of Health Transformative High Resolution Cryo-Electron Microscopy program.  More specifically, our Project Evaluation Committee is considering the following criteria for the proposal review:

  • Scientific merit
  • Need for cryo-EM to achieve project aims
  • Readiness of the project - preliminary data for the proposed specimen (negative stain, 2D class averages and/or a lower resolution 3-D reconstruction)
  • Geographic and institution distribution

To ensure consistency in the process, the committee uses the following rating scale:

  • 1.0 – 1.9 Excellent: A well-chosen problem or important research that has a good chance of producing a major contribution to fundamental knowledge or an important technological development through high resolution single particle cryo-EM studies. Prior image data, 2D class averages and/or a lower resolution 3-D reconstruction will be helpful to substantiate the need and feasibility of the request. Should be given highest priority for cryo-EM time. (The most compelling proposals with the greatest likelihood of a high profile publication should be rated 1.0–1.4.
  • 2.0 – 2.9 Very Good: A worthwhile problem or research that may lead to advances in fundamental knowledge or technology. Should receive cryo-EM time if at all possible.
  • 3.0 – 3.9 Good: A reasonable problem, but less than forefront. Cryo-EM time should be considered only after the above two categories have received time.
  • 4.0 – 4.9 Fair: Significant deficiencies appear in the proposal. Successful completion of the research is doubtful. Should probably not receive time.
  • 5.0 Poor: Poorly written proposal or major scientific issues that should not receive time.