Project Evaluation Criteria

The review criteria for S2C2 proposals are primarily based on the mission of the National Institutes of Health's Transformative High Resolution Cryo-Electron Microscopy Program as the program supports the center financially.  More specifically, our external, peer review, Project Evaluation Committee is considering the following criteria for the proposal review:

Scientific Merit

  • Intellectual impact of the work on the field.
  • Need for cryoEM to achieve project aims.
  • Value of using single particle cryoEM approaching atomic resolution towards project aims

Project Readiness

  • Based on preliminary data for the proposed specimen(s)
    • ​Prior image data (preliminary cryoEM screening and/or negative-stain electron micrographs), 2D class averages, and/or a lower resolution 3D reconstruction are needed to substantiate the feasibility of the project.
    • SDS-PAGE gels and/or SEC traces are needed to assess specimen purity for single particle cryoEM.
  • The cryoEM research experience of the investigators.
  • The investigators' access to SPA-capable cryoEM facilities at either their home instiution or elsewhere.

Geographic and Institutional Association

  • This information is utilized to prevent untoward monopolization of center resources by partnering institutions or geographic regions.

Each of the three kinds of applications (i.e., Data Collection Service, Exploratory Freezing & Screening, or Training) are evaluated separately by the Project Evaluation Committee.  Scientific merit is considered equally for all three kinds of applications; however, the bar for project readiness is lower for exploratory freezing & screening projects and the lowest for training projects.  The committee may reassign projects from data collection service to exploratory freezing & screening or training project types based on project readiness as appropriate.

To ensure consistency in the evaluation process, the committee uses the following rating scale from 1 (best rating) to 5 (worst rating):

Excellent (1.0 - 1.9)

  • 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.
  • Proposed specimens are ready for high-resolution, single particle cryoEM studies.
    • ​Specimens produced/procured at sufficient quantity and purity.
    • Preparatory conditions optimized for specimen vitrification.
  • Given highest priority for microscope time.
  • A rating of 1.0-1.4 is given to the most compelling proposals with the greatest likelihood of a high-profile publication.

Very Good (2.0 - 2.9)

  • A worthwhile problem or valuable research that may lead to advances in fundamental knowledge or technology.
  • Proposed specimens are ready for high resolution, single particle cryoEM studies.
    • ​Specimens produced/procured at sufficient quantity and purity
    • Preparatory conditions optimized for specimen vitrification.
  • Given second priority for microscope time, as resources permit.

Good (3.0 - 3.9)

  • A reasonable problem for single particle cryoEM, but less than cutting edge, forefront research.
  • Proposed specimens are not quite ready for high resolution single particle cryoEM studies.
    • ​Specimens produced/procured at a questionable quantity and/or purity.
    • Preparatory conditions not optimized for specimen vitrification.
  • Given microscope time only after all projects rated excellent and very good have received time.

Fair (4.0 - 4.9)

  • Significant deficiencies appear in the proposed project regarding scientific merit and/or project readiness.
  • Unlikely to be given microscope time.

Poor (5.0)

  • The proposed project is poorly designed and/or communicated.
  • Major scientific and/or technical issues remain unaddressed.
  • Not to be given microscope time.

    Last Updated

    Fri, 11/11/2022 - 14:34