TP Application instructions

Application requirements.

Applications are limited to 2 pages of text (1 ideally) and 1 page of supporting data and figures. Key personnel named in the application must also submit an NIH Biosketch (

We highly recommend you contact the nccatuseroffice[at] BEFORE submitting a training application to discuss if this access mechanism is appropriate for your training needs.

There are two (2) types of training proposals:

TP1: Embedded Training
TP2: Facility Manager Training

What’s the difference between TP1 and TP2?

The aim of the TP1 embedded training program is to train a labs to become independent cryoEM practitioners. NCCAT staff will assist with access and trainings over a period of weeks, up to ~3 months in an intensive immersion program that can involve one or multiple members of the same lab. This extended training allows individuals to receive ample hands-on experience with the tools and technology.

The TP2 program is for cryoEM facility management and operations for individuals that already know how to prepare, image and process cryoEM ready samples. This training is for individuals who are responsible for managing, leading or training at their own facilities. They will be intimately incorporated into the daily operations of the Center, participating in every aspect of day-to-day operations and management. The goal will be to expose the trainee to the procedures and protocols of the Center and provide them with opportunity for extensive discussion of best practices with our professional staff. The expected time frame is 1 week to 1 month.

Accepted NCCAT TP1 and TP2 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

A training program will encompass a full range of expectations, from the basics required to ensure that users produce valid structures, through more detailed training for users seeking independence, to fully embedded researchers who will be expected to graduate to running their own cryoEM research laboratories.

The goals for NCCAT is to enable as many functional cryoEM practitioners as possible at a variety of levels. These levels will vary from fully independent researchers capable of running their own facilities at one end of the spectrum, to those who leverage center staff for specimen preparation and data acquisition and only require training in evaluating their data, processing, and validating their final structures. These diverse training goals will be greatly assisted and accelerated by two important aspects: (i) a very high level of automation at NCCAT; and (ii) very rich on-line training resources available at NCCAT as well as in the public domain.

Users’ proposals are scored in the following categories: (i) Aims & Impact; (ii) Feasibility & Data; (iii) Proposed Experiments; (iv) Goals & Expectations; (v) Expertise & Resources. The URC will score these aspects on a scale of 1-5 and also have the option to provide additional comments.

A request for training proposal will expire in three (3) cycles 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 additional request for access applications/proposals against. The content of 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.

Categories for review

The user review committee (URC) will score with respect to five (5) different categories.
(i) Aims & Impact: Areas and scope for training.
(ii) Feasibility & Data: A training plan with specific objectives and milestones for the proposed training.
(iii) Proposed Experiments: What period of time will the training take, and what work will be conducted at the national center during the awarded period of time?
(iv) Goals & Expectations: A brief history with current expertise level and familiarity with equipment.
(v) Expertise & Resources: Geographical proximity to potential training opportunities and cryoEM practitioners in your area. 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 training potential with great scientific or technological importance. Access to NCCAT is integral to the success of the work.
2 Good High impact training 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 Training likely to produce some benefit or incremental technological advance in understanding EM. The work will benefit from access to NCCAT.
4 Needs improvement Training may not significantly impact a specific field, scientific discipline, or technological area. Proposed training 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 or traveling to a national center is not clear.
NR No Review Insufficient information to base a review.
Note: Scored proposals that have not been assigned time will automatically be forwarded to the next cycle.