STEP: Technical enrichment program for staff scientists and staff clinicians to acquire expertise in new technologies.

STEP applications will be accepted on a rolling basis throughout the fiscal year.

Due to an overwhelming response from the CCR SSSC community, only one STEP application will be accepted per Core lab, including for single cell RNASeq analysis.  However, if you are interested in pursuing scRNASeq as part of a STEP application in the next round, we strongly encourage you to take some of the introductory programming courses. Information on these introductory courses and additional training opportunities are available on the CCR Bioinformatics Training and Education Program (BTEP) website. You can also contact NCI Bioinformatics Training (NCIBTEP@mail.nih.gov) for further guidance on how to get started.

SSSC Technical Enrichment Program (STEP) was established to provide staff scientists and staff clinicians an opportunity to compete for funding to gain access to comprehensive training in state-of-the-art techniques available through CCR Cores and Facilities.  The intent is for the Staff Scientist/Staff Clinician (SSSC) to work closely with core managers/heads to learn an application from experimental design, through sample preparation and data analysis.  As part of STEP, the SSSC will spend time in a CCR Core/Facility working on a project which is part of the SSSC’s PI lab and requires the expertise present in the Core/Facility. Applicants are encouraged to develop a focused, narrow research question that will use well-established workflows in the Core/Facility.  Proposals requiring technology development or piloting new methodologies are strongly discouraged.  At the conclusion of their training, this work should not only advance the SSSC’s current research resulting in publication but also provide expertise to benefit future research of the Lab/Branch.

A cornerstone of this program is the opportunity for the SSSC to learn the requisite data analysis.  Each successful SSSC applicant is expected to allocate adequate time (1-2hrs per week) learning the basic skills needed for the data analysis step of their project.  This can include working at the Unix command line, programming in R or Python, or using other bioinformatics tools. Ideally these skills should be learned during the data generation phase (wet lab) of the project, so the trainee is ready to analyze their data as soon as it is available.  Dr. Amy Stonelake (CCR BTEP) will enable them to develop the appropriate path.  Trainees will be expected to prepare a data analysis notebook (R/Jupyter) that detail all of their work as a permanent record of their project.

Below are instructions for submitting the application for a project proposal.  Once the application has been accepted, the proposal will be evaluated based on the scientific impact of the proposed work, the need for the proposed technology, and that the training plan aligns with the research goals of the lab and the professional development goals of the SSSC.

Application Process:

1.  A letter of Intent (LOI) download here needs to be completed and submitted to Cynthia Masison, Office of Scientific Programs, masisonc@mail.nih.gov

2.  Upon approval of the LOI, you will be contacted by a member of the CCR Office of Science Technology Resources (OSTR) who will work with you and the Core/Facility to develop a training plan, determine the necessary resources required for the project, and define a proposed timeline for completion.

3.  Full Proposals and a letter of collaboration from participating Cores/Facilities should be submitted through STARS. On the Request Details section of the STARS submission page please indicate this is a STEP Request (see image below).

4.  Applicants will be notified if their proposals are accepted.