Study Section DOs
Be focused, clear, and convincing
- Focus, focus, focus.
- Make sure every facet of the grant is absolutely clear and logical.
- Maintain focus and provide supporting data if at all possible.
- Think through the outline of the grant carefully so the flow is clear.
- Make your proposal clear and concise.
- Clearly outline what you plan to do so that any educated scientist can read it.
- Describe study methods clearly and concisely, including a rigorous analysis plan.
- Provide some publications that support the studies proposed.
- Provide clear and meaningful descriptions of significance and innovation.
Have a strong idea
- Make sure you are proposing something new and interesting.
- Demonstrate importance to health.
- Have a great, innovative idea.
- Propose good science.
- Provide a compelling rationale for what you propose.
Develop strong, specific aims
- Specific aims are key - make sure they are focused, hypothesis driven, mechanistic and interrelated but not inderdependent.
- Write specific aims with corresponding testable hypotheses that relate to a coherent overall goal of substantive public.
- Provide sufficient preliminary data for all aims.
- Be crystal clear for each aim what samples are being used (size, source).
Have testable hypotheses
- Have strong and novel hypotheses with testable aims.
- Have real hypotheses.
Demonstrate that you have what it takes to do this research
- Provide strong preliminary evidence to support the feasibility of doing the project.
- Make logical arguments why your proposal is the next logical progression.
- Pull together (and describe) a team that has the expertise to do the work without being too large. Team organization and function should be described.
- Demonstrate that you are using state of the art technology.
- Prepare a realistic budget.
Understand and adhere to the guidelines
- Make your proposal responsive to the RFA.
- Follow instructions/guidelines.
- Do your best to understand the new review criteria and provide the appropriate balance across the criteria.
Make it easy to read
- Write well.
- Write an organized proposal (it is really frustrating to not be able to find necessary information quickly).
- State clearly, likely in separate pararaphs, overall impact of the research, its significance and its innovation. Make it easy for a reviewer to pick these out and not have to think too hard or potentially miss it. They may not agree but make it clear what these are from your perspective.
- Make good use of figures, tables, and white space. A dense grant is hard to digest quickly.
Seek input from others
- Have many people read your proposal before submitting.
- Have outside input into science and presentation.
- Do ask for a critical review of your grant at least 2 weeks before it is due by senior/seasoned colleagues in your work unit.
- Start early.
- Choose the right study section.
View the Study Section DON'Ts.