RAP Application Instructions

Program overview

This initial cycle will support single-particle cryoEM data collection on one of our Titan Krios instruments. Applicants must have pre-screened cryoEM samples with pre-processing results (representative micrograph, 2D class averages, and initial reconstruction if available) from the same batch of grids to be submitted for data collection at NCCAT.

Program details

  • Rapid turn around time from request to award for standard single-particle data collection on samples that may be easily set up with automated data collection.
  • Only 2-4 grids may be submitted for a data collection. When an application is awarded samples should be at the center rapidly. If a user’s sample arrives after their rapid access window has been granted, then the rapid access time may be forfeited. A lab may choose to pre-store samples on-site after clearing the NCCAT sample submission process.
  • The total amount of time that may be requested for one RAP proposal is limited to one (1) Krios access session. Only one (1) request per spokesperson or principal investigator may be submitted at one time (be concurrently in the RAP access category). Additional personnel cannot be listed on more than three (3) RAP applications at a time.
  • After a RAP has been completed an additional application must be submitted for additional time.
  • RAP proposals will be valid for the cycle it is submitted. In exceptional cases, it may be forwarded to the next cycle.
  • There are 2 categories of rapid access: 1) RAP1 – requests on active projects 2) RAP2 – new proposal requests with rapid turnaround time.

Rapid Access Proposal category 1 (RAP1)

General User Proposals that are still within the 2 year period of the lifetime of the project and have an active URC/UAC scored proposal may request for additional time on their project. This access avenue is separate from the ongoing GUP instrument pool. If a user has an active, unfulfilled scored proposal in the TAC, then the TAC is actively working to schedule your application. If you have an urgent need, then you should contact the NCCAT User Office or apply for a new proposal under RAP2.

Rapid Access Proposal category 2 (RAP2) – seasonal

Expedited review for new proposals with the target of 1-month turnaround. This category is offered depending on the capacity and availability of instrumentation.

Application requirements.

Applications will be limited to one page of text and one page of supporting data and figures. For RAP applications, supplemental data is REQUIRED and should demonstrate the user has high-quality instrument access ready samples in hand. Also, low or medium mag images should accompany the proposal indicating that the samples may be compatible for automated data collection. Key personnel named in the application must also submit an NIH Biosketch (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/biosketch.htm).

Accepted NCCAT users (and their PI’s if applicable) are required to sign a written agreement that they will comply with all NIH data sharing, reporting and publication policies. The written agreement will also outline other requirements and policies for NCCAT access so as to manage expectations as transparently as possible.

Application process

The initial round of proposals will be for Rapid Access Proposal category 1 (RAP1s) for Titan Krios access. Users may submit proposals outside the quarterly call for applications. During this early access phase, only one (1) session will be awarded per proposal, which may be 1 – 2 days in length.

A request for access proposal will expire in the cycle applied for or when the requested amount of time recommended by peer review has been used, whichever comes first. After that point, users will have to submit a new project to submit an additional request for access applications/proposals against.

The content of the proposal will be kept confidential by the reviewer or relevant committees. A user may specify individuals that pose a potential conflict and exclude them from the external review committee.

If NCCAT cannot fulfill the proposal or as advised by the UAC the proposal is not within the scope of this access category, then NCCAT will inform the spokesperson of the application. Unawarded RAPs will not be automatically forwarded for GUP access and the user should submit a separate application.

Possible categories for review for RAPs (if scores do not already exist from a prior URC review)

For rapid access proposals external peer review is required. For active proposals that have already been scored by the URC, programmatic review by the UAC and/or the TAC will be done based upon capacity to award additional time. For new proposals, expedited URC and/or UAC review will be done based upon the available instrument time as advised and scheduled by the TAC.

In general, user proposals are scored by the user review committee (URC) with respect to five (5) different categories.
(i) Aims & Impact: The specific objectives of your project. Include the scientific and technological importance of your project.
(ii) Feasibility & Data: Information and preliminary data for the samples associated with this proposal that impact feasibility of cryo-EM studies.
(iii) Proposed Experiments: The work to be conducted at the national center during the awarded project period.
(iv) Goals & Expectations: The goals for the project.
(v) Expertise & Resources: The team’s expertise in CryoEM sample preparation, microscope operation, and data interpretation, as well as the available cryoEM and/or computational resources that your team has access to.

Note: Geographical diversity, need for access by under-served or under-represented institutions, the extent of requested support, and other options available to the users or the trainees, will be taken into account in setting priorities.

These scores will be combined and averaged for a final proposal score from 1 (excellent) to 5 (poor).

Possible scores

Scores are on a scale from 1 (excellent) to 5 (poor).

Score Title Description
1 Excellent Highly innovative research of great scientific or technological importance. Access to NCCAT is integral to the success of the work.
2 Good High quality research with the potential for making an important contribution to a specific field, scientific discipline, or technical development project. Use of NCCAT resources is important to a successful outcome of the work.
3 Satisfactory Interesting research likely to produce results or incremental technological advances. The work will benefit from access to NCCAT.
4 Needs improvement Research may not significantly impact a specific field, scientific discipline, or technological area. Proposed work would also be able to be completed in other facilities including the home institution of the user.
5 Poor / Unsatisfactory Not well-planned or not feasible. The need for use of a national center is not clear.
NR No Review Insufficient information to base a review.


NCCAT encourages applicants to contact nccatinfo [at] nysbc.org or attend one of our regular information sessions before applying.