Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Who can apply?
Everyone is welcome to apply. The mission of NCCAT is nationwide cryoEM access and training.

When are the proposal cycles and deadlines?
There are 4 cycles a year, with each calendar quarter being a cycle. Applications will initially be accepted and scored on a rolling basis. Future deadlines and cut offs are posted at the NCCAT Proposal Central

How do I submit a proposal? 
Prospective users should submit a proposal through our web forms at the NCCAT Proposal Central.

I submitted a proposal, do I receive a confirmation?
A confirmation should be sent upon receipt of your proposal. If you have not received a confirmation by the next business day, please email nccatuseroffice [at] .

How do I edit a proposal?
The primary user attached to the proposal, also known as the spokesperson, may request to make changes to the proposal up to the cycle cutoff date by emailing nccatuseroffice [at] .

How do I see my score?
The primary user or spokesperson of the scored proposal will be contacted after the UAC has normalized the scores.

What if my proposal did not receive a score? 
All proposals are reviewed, but in some cases, the URC may determine that a proposal lacks sufficient information to provide a score, which will result in it receiving an NR. When this happens, the NCCAT User Office will reach out to you on behalf of the URC in order to request additional information.

How do I know if I have been awarded time?
A member of the NCCAT TAC will contact the primary user or spokesperson once time has been awarded.

I have been contacted, what is the pre-session meeting?
Once time has been awarded, NCCAT will contact the primary user or spokesperson to schedule a pre-session video conference to ensure the available resources are matched to the experiments laid out in the GUP. Some proposals require significant staff resources in addition to instrumentation resources. These proposals entail a greater amount of coordination.

How can I schedule a GUP1 session time?
NCCAT operates on queued access, meaning that scheduling will not take place until your grids have been received onsite by NCCAT. Please contact the NCCAT user office at, once you are ready to ship your grids.

When should I make travel arrangements?
If your proposal involves on-site work, you will be contacted with instructions, and you may make travel arrangements once you have completed the necessary pre-session forms. Upon submission of the forms, please reach out to the NCCAT User Office to finalize your plans.

What happens if my samples or I do not arrive in time for an on-site session?
It is the responsibility of the user to ensure their samples and person arrive on a timely manner. Failure to show or make appropriate use of instrument time will still count against the proposal and be taken into account during future assignments. In case of an emergency, another registered NCCAT user that has completed all necessary pre-session steps may come.

What is the biosafety level for the samples and work done at NCCAT?
All samples shipped to NCCAT, and any research material that is worked on at NCCAT, must be biosafety hazard level 1 (BSL-1) compliant.

What happens if there is a maintenance issue that prevents a scheduled instrument from being available during my session?
If there is a force majeure or act of nature that prevents use of the resources at NCCAT, your session will be pushed further down the queue until it is able to be served.

How long are the sessions for instrumentation access?
1, 2 or 3 sessions will be awarded per proposal, which may each be 1-3 days in length. The length and number of sessions are based on URC and UAC recommendations.

How many micrographs can I get per day and what type of instrument is available?
Parameters greatly dictate the throughput and may mean the difference between 750 to 5000 images per day. On our standard settings, we typically reach 1500-3000 images per day.

What is the end-of-session survey?
All users that use NCCAT resources are required to complete an end-of-session survey. A hold will be placed on future session assignments until the survey has been completed.

I have a manuscript/publication in preparation, how do I cite NCCAT? 
The standard NCCAT acknowledgment is as follows:
“Some of this work was performed at the National Center for CryoEM Access and Training (NCCAT) and the Simons Electron Microscopy Center located at the New York Structural Biology Center, supported by the NIH Common Fund Transformative High Resolution Cryo-Electron Microscopy program (U24 GM129539,) and by grants from the Simons Foundation (SF349247) and NY State.”

What is the data management policy?
Users are responsible for backing up and archiving their own data. NCCAT mirrors the data during collection, but only maintains a backup for up to 1 month. In addition, users must also comply with all NIH data sharing and publication policies.

For any additional queries please email