I don't have an answer for your question in the narrowest sense. I do have two suggestions that may achieve the same end.
Suggestion 1: Symlink
If the file dependencies are rooted in a common tree (or a small number of trees), you might be able to create a symlink to the appropriate files. So, let's say that you want /home/staff/root/analysis/test.txt to resolve to /path/to/working/directory/test.txt, then you could do this:
$ sudo ln -fns /path/to/working/directory /home/staff/root/analysis
This requires root privileges. The effect would be that the entire path prefix
/home/staff/root/analysis would resolve to /path/to/working/directory. This applies to files immediately under the prefix as well as all subdirectories.
Suggestion 2: Support configuration options for runtime dependencies
If files are really required for runtime or testing, they should be part of the package. Describing exactly how to do this is beyond the scope of this answer, but here are some resources, which you might already be well aware:
- Expert Python Programming http://goo.gl/YoDx6
- Use SafeConfigParser to parse conf/ini files (e.g.,data-dir=/home/staff/root/analysis)
- Use argparse to get options from the command line/override conf (e.g., --data-dir=..)