Research Proposal Guidelines

Structure your application in the format of the research plan section of an NIH F32 Individual Fellowship application. Use Arial or Helvetica type face, at least font size 11, with no more than 6 lines/inch.  Figures, tables, etc. may be smaller, but must be readable.  Margins must be at least 0.5 inches on all sides of 81/2 x 11 inch pages. Specific Aims are limited to one page – 1/2 page recommended.  Research Strategy is limited to 10 pages.

Specific Aims

State concisely the goals of the proposed research and summarize the expected outcome(s), including the impact that the results of the proposed research will exert on the research field(s) involved.

List succinctly the specific objectives of the research proposed, e.g., to test a stated hypothesis, create a novel design, solve a specific problem, challenge an existing paradigm or clinical practice, address a critical barrier to progress in the field, or develop new technology.

Research Strategy

Start each section with the appropriate section heading. Cite published experimental details in the Research Strategy section and provide the full reference in the Bibliography and References Cited section.

(a) Significance

  • Explain the importance of the problem or critical barrier to progress in the field that the proposed project addresses.
  • Provide, briefly, published background information relevant to your studies.
  • Explain how the proposed project will improve scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice in one or more broad fields.
  • Describe how the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field will be changed if the proposed aims are achieved.

(b) Approach

  • Preliminary Studies. Discuss your preliminary data and/or experience pertinent to this application.
  • Describe the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses to be used to accomplish the specific aims of the project. Include how the data will be collected, analyzed, and interpreted.
  • Discuss potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success anticipated to achieve the aims.
  • If the project is in the early stages of development, describe any strategy to establish feasibility, and address the management of any high risk aspects of the proposed work.
  • Point out any procedures, situations, or materials that may be hazardous to personnel and precautions to be exercised.

(c) Bibliography and References Cited