What is the Community Science Program?
The Community Science Program (CSP) was created to provide the scientific community at large with access to high-throughput sequencing and other resources at the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (JGI) for projects of relevance to DOE missions. Projects will be chosen based on scientific merit–judged through independent peer review–and relevance to issues in global carbon cycling, alternative energy production, and biogeochemistry. Criteria for participation in this program, the review process, and interactions between JGI and participants are outlined on this web site. Through this program, the Department of Energy aims to advance genome science-based scientific research from a broad range of disciplines.
How does the CSP Work?
Proposals for the annual CSP call begin with a Letter of Intent (LOI) from a researcher, briefly describing the project motivation, experimental design, capabilities to be used and DOE mission relevance. LOIs allow JGI to plan for appropriate review and prevent full applications for projects outside of DOE mission areas or outside the scope of the call. Letters are reviewed by JGI scientific staff, and nearly all LOIs are accepted for full proposal submission. The major reason for disapproval is a lack of relevance to DOE mission areas. In some cases, a meritorious project does not fit within JGI’s capabilities. In these cases, JGI scientists will often be able to suggest an alternative strategy that meets the project objectives. Proposals submitted to the CSP New Investigator and Synthetic Biology calls do not use the Letter of Intent; rather proposals are submitted in a single step.
The researcher then submits a proposal for consideration in the next review cycle. All proposals undergo technical review by JGI staff, who consider technical feasibility and readiness to begin work, checking such factors as genome size, polymorphism level, sample quality and availability, etc. During scientific peer review, proposals are evaluated and placed in rank order by the reviewers. The ranked proposal list, along with a recommendation from JGI management, is then forwarded to DOE for final approval. Following DOE approval, project managers negotiate project specifics with PIs (including JGI scientists as needed), and the work plan is written into a Statement of Work document.
For sequencing projects, once work is under way, raw sequence data is released to NCBI’s Sequence Read Archive on a regular basis, in accordance with JGI’s data release policy. Interactions with applicants and others who might be interested in the project are coordinated through JGI’s Project Management Office. At the completion of a project, the JGI makes the assemblies, gene annotations, and analyses available to the community at large. In most cases where the JGI provides more customized analysis, the JGI also participates in publication of results.