Wake Forest Translational Science Institute (TSI)

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.

Plan ahead

  • Start early.
  • Choose the right study section.

View the Study Section DON'Ts.