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