Proposal Submission FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about the proposal submission process:

1. Can we apply for access to infrastructure in any Instruct country/Centre?

Yes, any user from a subscribing country can apply to any of the platforms described in the service/technology catalogue.

2. Does Instruct pay for access?

Instruct provides some funds directly to support access to infrastructure. Instruct funds will be available according to the following criteria:

  1. no other access funding is available for the platform work proposed
  2. the proposal forms part of a research project that is interdisciplinary and uses an integrated technology approach
  3. the impact of the research is scored highly (scoring guidelines).

3. Why should I apply for Instruct access instead of establishing a collaboration with a scientist who has access to the infrastructure I need?

Instruct provides a single point of access to infrastructure in Instruct Centres all over Europe. It also provides the expertise to support you in carrying out your research and to point you to the right place for the right experiment.

4. Who can apply for access?

See our page which describes who qualifies.

5. Is there a limit on the number of applications I can make?

No, however, we are looking for high quality research proposals that are inter-disciplinary and use an integrated technology approach. We will also consider the impact of the research. A Moderator may suggest revisions to a proposal and resubmission. A revised proposal will be accepted for re-evaluation at any time.

6. Is there a time limit to start the project after approval, and are there limits on the duration of the project?

There is no time limit to start or finish the project, however we will try to help the user access the service/technology required as promptly as possible. If the project has not started within 12 minths of approval, the Access Committee may request and update to ensure that the original scientific goals are still relevant.

7. If one wishes to obtain a crystal structure, do the applications for crystallisation and data collection have to be separate? Can I expect the institutes providing my Instruct access to provide the kinds of support I will need to carry out my experiments?

An Instruct project will be judged on its integrative approach to solve a scientific problem. All service/technologies required should be included in a single proposal. Expert guidance from the participating institutes is part of the Instruct access provision.

8. How will my proposal be evaluated - what are the criteria?

Every application is evaluated on its scientific merits. Instruct is looking for research projects that demonstrate innovative approaches within integrative structural biology.

The reviewers will be asked to report on; scientific quality and integrated aspects of the research plan, feasibility of the research plan and the competence and expertise of the applicant/research team. The guidelines to the reviewers will include questions such as “is the project scientifically significant? Is the project inter-disciplinary?” “Are the research methods appropriate for the project?” “Have alternative approaches been considered in case of problems?” “Are the merits and scientific expertise of the applicant appropriate and sufficient for the proposed project?”

Safety and ethical issues will also be taken into account. Evidence of preliminary data will be required.

More details of criteria are available in the Review Guidelines.

9. Can I appeal if my proposal is rejected?

Yes, you can appeal to the Moderator through the web site. We are committed to working with applicants to develop their proposals

10. Do I have to agree to publish my results gathered through Instruct access?

The proposers must agree to publication of data (a publication delay can be negotiated to allow IP and patent processes). The publication must include this acknowledgement "This work was funded by Instruct, part of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) and supported by national member subscriptions."

11. What is the Instruct IP policy for data collected?

Instruct IP policy shall include the principle that data arising from research should be made available on an open-access basis in order to advance research in the field of integrative structural biology, subject always to the rights of any human data subjects and subject to a right for the party generating such data to withhold publication for a period of up to 4 months in order for that party to seek patent or other intellectual property protection for the results.

12. Do I have to include Instruct authors on my papers?

It is not required to include Instruct authors. However, the access mode will often be ‘collaborative’ rather than ‘service’ and may be extended over time in which case joint publications may arise. Co-authorship should be agreed with all parties involved before commencement of the work.

13. How many reviewers do I have to suggest?

It is not necessary to suggest reviewers - the Moderator will appoint reviewers in the field. You need only say which reviewers you do NOT wish to see your application (in case of a conflict of interest).

14. How do I report results after a visit?

By answering the feedback form when prompted by the system