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Instruct-ULTRA Work Package 4 Call 1

Proposals for projects that will introduce new and innovative technology into the portfolio of services provided by Instruct-ERIC.

Deadline for Submission:
29-Sep-2017 12:59 CEST

Submit proposal for this call

Proposal Guidelines

  • Access. iNEXT offers access to structural biology infrastructure at some of the best equipped research institutes in Europe.
  • Eligibility. Applicants may come from academia or industry (SMEs).
  • Impact. Projects should be “translational”, i.e. relating structural biology research with applications in biomedical, biotechnological, biomaterial, food or environmental research. Every application will be carefully evaluated on its scientific merit, scientific quality of the applying team and technical feasibility.
  • Publication. Data resulting from iNEXT access should be published by the users, with the exception of data for SMEs. iNEXT funding must be clearly acknowledged by:“This work has been supported by iNEXT, project number 653706, funded by the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Union”.Relevant research data must be made available within one year after publication of the research results, or within five years after the visit, whichever comes first, unless otherwise agreed.
  • Proposals. The proposal submission and review process aims to be efficient, transparent and quick. While most access modalities are expected to have a turnaround time of two weeks, some modalities for non-expert users will need more time to allow prioritization with respect to high demand and/or low availability.
  • Deadlines: Applications for access can be submitted at any time.
  • Instruct. The application system for iNEXT is being handled by Instruct, the ESFRI project that participates in iNEXT. Although potential iNEXT users are requested to register in the Instruct system, the application, review and reporting process will be handled by iNEXT.

Application step by step

1. Select Platforms

Three major access themes are offered through iNEXT.

  • Non-experts in Structural Biology. These users will receive expert guidance through the Structural Audit modality, which allows the evaluation of macromolecular samples for suitability for structural studies.
  • Enhanced Support modalities. For non-expert users iNEXT in addition provides a variety of advanced Enhanced Support modalities: crystallographic or SAXS structure solution, NMR assignment, structure or dynamics, study of macromolecular interactions in vitro by biophysical methods, advanced light imaging in cells to confirm or extent structural biology insight, and automated ligand and fragment screen.
  • High-End Data Collection. iNEXT provides modalities appropriate for researchers with experience in acquiring and/or analysing synchrotron, high-field NMR, or high-resolution EM data. Here, the applicant selects the modality of choice and the preferred research institute for the planned research.

Notes: For some modalities the host institute should have been contacted prior to proposal submission to discuss feasibility of the project. For synchrotron access ‘pooling’ of projects in Block Allocation Groups will be required for groups of projects with a common broad scientific theme and clear translational potential.

When choosing the platform(s) to use, in many cases the applicant can select multiple host infrastructures to perform the experiments. Reviewers may give feedback as to which platforms are more suitable.

2. Confirm Platform Selection

Please confirm the platform you have selected and continue with your application.

3. Proposal Details

Research project title: provide a title for your project.

Scientific background and significance: a concise introduction to the research topic (2500 characters maximum), with the background and rationale to the project as well as the expected impact of the research.

Background in your lab and current results: proposals should contain sufficient preliminary data to show that the experimental work is feasible (4800 characters maximum). For instance, material should be of sufficient quality and quantity for requested technologies, there may be data supporting the scientific approach, and there should be no safety or ethical issues preventing access. For some proposals (e.g. synchrotron access) additional data on safety will be required.

Relevant publications: indicated and/or uploaded publications should provide information on potential impact of the work and the likelihood of success. Please provide preliminary data or information that allows the reviewers to judge if the work is feasible and of a suitable scope. Applicants are strongly encouraged to focus on their own research to show their strength in the field, but can include relevant high-impact references from other groups.

Files & figures (PDFs only): provide information on protocols, add relevant publications and/or illustrative results with clear legends (e.g. gels showing protein purity, NMR HSQCs, initial EM data, etc.).

Value for translational research: the applicant must provide information showing how the proposed research is important for biomedical, biotechnological, biomaterial, food or environmental application or for future applied research

For other information, a modality-specific Help-function is included within the application form.

4. Build Your Team

Choose which researchers will be involved in your proposal. This includes you and scientists who will be involved in the desired research.

Principal Investigator: A principal investigator is any scientist eligible by their institution to apply for grants. If you are not a PI, the system will send a message to the PI of the institute to authorise the proposal. Please note that the user profile will be the reviewer’s main source of information about the applicant and the team.

Team members: If desired, indicate other members that will be involved in the research. Only scientists mentioned in this session will be eligible to access the host institute if the proposal is approved. Please note that the user profile will be the reviewer’s main source of information about the applicant and the team.

5. Exclude Reviewers

This is your opportunity to suggest possible reviewers with particular expertise relating to the proposed research, or exclude reviewers that may have conflict of interest. Please note that the reviewers to be excluded will always be excluded, while the persons that are suggested by the applicant to review the proposal may be replaced by ones that may be more appropriate.

6. Confirm and Submit Proposal

Please review you proposal carefully before submitting. Once you submit you can access your dashboard to check and follow the status. If you have any questions contact us through your proposal messaging online or by email (info@inext-eu.org).

What happens next?

The submitted proposal will be assigned to an external moderator (not an iNEXT partner) who has been assigned for each access modality. The moderator will assign two to four reviewers, depending on the access modality. Applicants might find it useful to read the iNEXT proposal moderator and reviewer guidelines below. Once a proposal is accepted, please read our access guidelines.

Guidelines for Moderators

Moderators should assess proposals according to the following initial criteria:

  • Eligibility: Proposals must originate from an EU-country or associated country (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Iceland, Norway, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Israel, Moldova, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Ukraine).
  • Field of research and request for platform access: The research should fall within the requested modality and be well matched to the desired host institute.

Moderators must ensure that reports from at least two reviewers are received for each proposal. Reviewers should be appointed as quickly as possible and at most within four days. The aim is to provide a decision to the proposer within two weeks of submission, unless the Expert Review Panel (ERP) composed of all Moderators needs to meet for this modality to select from a set of pooled proposals, upon which the proposer will obtain information about the evaluation process. The decision to call the ERP will be made by the Coordinating Team, but all Moderators may indicate that this is needed at any time of the project. ERP meetings will take place at either Amsterdam or Frankfurt airports, or by teleconference, and every effort will be made to give advance notice.

When sufficient reviews have been received, the Moderator decides on one of five outcomes:

  • Accept
  • Reject
  • Change Reviewer
  • Contact applicant (on modalities that allow that, e.g. NMR)
  • Add to ERP pool

The Moderator may refer back to the reviewers at any time for help and comment on the proposal outcome to the proposer. The proposer will receive the average review scores, as well as the Moderator’s decision.

Guidelines for Reviewers

iNEXT offers European researchers access to instrumentation as well as expertise for different structural biology modalities. iNEXT provides access for “translational” research, i.e. research connecting structural biology to applications in biomedical, biotechnological, biomaterial, food or environmental research.

  • Reviews should be returned within one week.
  • Each evaluation criterion must be scored.
  • A too low score in any criterion (a red mark below) will suffice to reject the proposal.
  • A thorough evaluation of the scientific excellence of the proposed work is essential to prioritize proposals, especially where platform capacity or funding is limited.

Proposals should be scored according to the following criteria:

1. Scientific Excellence (6. Internationally Outstanding; 5. Excellent; 4. Good; 3. Average; 2. Satisfactory; 1. Not Competitive)

Proposals should be of high scientific quality, with a clearly defined background and innovative goal.

2. Relevance for Translational Research in Health, Biotechnology, or nanomaterials (3. Highly relevant; 2. Possibly relevant; 1. No translational component)

The aim of iNEXT is to be “translational”, i.e. to connect structural biology research to applications in biomedical, biotechnological, biomaterial, food or environmental research.

3. Scientific Track Record (2. Outstanding team; 1. Sufficient)

Researchers with a remarkable track record in their respective field of science should be awarded an “outstanding” status; this mark is to be reserved for the top 10-20% of the applicants.

4. Technical Feasibility (3. Feasible; 2. Suboptimal; 1. Not feasible)

Proposals must contain sufficient information to demonstrate that the experimental work is feasible: materials should be of sufficient quality and quantity, there should be data supporting the scientific approach, and safety or ethical issues must need to be addressed where appropriate.

Even if a host institute agrees with the feasibility of a proposal, the reviewer may express their doubts about this.

Overall Threshold score for acceptance: 10

The Moderator may refer back to the reviewers at any time for help and comment on the proposal outcome to the proposer. The proposer will receive the average review scores, as well as the Moderator’s decision.

Help: Moderators and Reviewers may contact the iNEXT Project Administrator (info@inext-eu.org) for help with the on-line reviewing process.

Disclaimer: All proposals will be peer-reviewed and need acceptance - either a priori or a posteriori - by the host institute(s) selected in the proposal. A recommendation by the Moderator on the acceptance of a proposal is subject to the right of a host institute to decline access on reasonable grounds (e.g. conflict of interest, capacity limitations, financial limitations).