***Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation: Centers for Cryo-EM

Case Western Reserve University has received a specific invitation to participate in the creation of Arnold and Mabel Beckman Centers for Cryo-Electron Microscopy.

Advances in instrumentation and methods have revolutionized applications of cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to determine atomic structures of biological samples that are currently beyond the reach of other structural biology methods. Examples include large complexes, membrane proteins, and samples with compositional and conformational heterogeneity. These advances have also led to new modalities for structure determination in nanocrystalline samples and cellular environments. However, the high cost of cryo-EM instrumentation stands as a major bottleneck, limiting both scientific discovery and the career advancement of young investigators in the cryo-EM field.

As part of its continuing mission to advance chemical and biological sciences, to foster innovation and instrumentation, and to support young scientists, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation will provide support for the creation of new centers in the field of cryo-EM to bridge the cost barrier associated with this important new paradigm for molecular discovery.

The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation will provide several one-time awards to offset the purchase cost of cryo-electron microscopes and detectors. The funding will be used exclusively as a contribution towards the cryo-EM equipment purchase cost, up to $2.5M per award.

The Foundation will consider proposals for a broad range of cryo-EM microscopes and detectors, from mid-level screening instruments to high-end microscopes outfitted with direct electron detectors. Applicants shall identify the exact configuration of microscope and detectors they would purchase in the proposal, and justify why that level of capability is appropriate for the research programs centered at the Institute. The Foundation will not consider grants that only add workflow equipment to existing cryo-EM facilities.

The Foundation will consider applications from individual institutions or from consortia of institutions whose combined resources meet the requirements below. For any consortium application, there must be a "Lead Institution", defined as the institute that will have the new cryo-EM facility on their property.

Applicant institutions must:

  1. Purchase the proposed cryo-EM within the first year of the grant. The new microscope must be installed and operational within two years of the start of the grant award.
  2. Update laboratory space to provide adequate facilities for the cryo-EM system within the first year of the grant.
  3. Commit to hire a junior-level faculty member who utilizes cryo-EM as a major research focus at the tenure-track assistant professor level (or equivalent) within the first two years of the grant.
    • This new faculty position must be at a U.S. University or Institution.
    • A new faculty member with this research focus whose employment start date is between July 1, 2016 and July 1, 2019 will be considered as fulfilling this requirement.
    • Evidence of a current active search is not required, but will be considered favorably in the proposal review.
  4. Provide operating and maintenance costs for the first five years of operation of the cryo-EM (the five-year timeframe starts when the cryo-EM installation is complete), including a full-time PhD-level staff member dedicated to training and maintenance.
    • It may be possible to cover some or all operations with user fees, although the burden will fall on the applicant to demonstrate convincingly that an adequate and well-funded local user base exists to cover projected costs.

The new microscope facilities created by awards from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation will be named the "Beckman Center for Cryo-Electron Microscopy" in perpetuity, and the support of the Foundation will be acknowledged in all publications that result from the use of the facilities.


Applicants are encouraged to consult with their Associate Deans for Research prior to internal submission to assure they meet eligibility criteria and their projects meet stated program objectives.

This opportunity is by invitation only:

  • The "Lead Institution" must be invited, but other members of a proposed consortium need not be invited.
  • The "Lead Institution" must be a non-profit U.S. university, institution or national laboratory. Additional collaborators within a proposed consortium can be international or commercial entities.
  • One application per invited institution:
    • If an institute submits a proposal as a "Lead Institution" of a consortium, they cannot also submit a proposal as an individual institution
    • An institution can be a member on multiple consortium proposals
    • A "Lead Institution" on a proposal can be a member on other consortium proposals

Submission Process

Step 1

Anyone wishing to pursue nomination for the Beckman Young Investigator award should submit the application materials detailed below as one PDF email attachment to Stephanie Endy no later than 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 22, 2016.


  1. Cover letter listing all members and institutions on the proposal team, identifying the lead PI and institution, and listing all other investigators whose research will directly benefit from the facility.
  2. NIH style biosketch of lead PI only
  3. One-page addressing the proposed instrumentation, the proposed location, required renovations, and plans to cover operating costs in the first five years of operation.
  4. Breakdown of costs for the equipment, facility upgrades, new hire, and operational expenses. Clearly delineate between the funding received from this award, and funding provided by each member of the proposal.
Step 2

Final nominees will be notified of their selection by September 28, 2016

Step 3

Funding agency deadline is November 1, 2016


Abstract or LOI to ORA Chosen Proposal Announced ORA Final Proposal Due Date Sponsor Submission Deadline Days Until Due
09/22/2016 09/28/2016 10/25/2016 11/01/2016 CLOSED