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Health Systems Grants Administration and Development Office


Applicants Seeking Intramural Grant Support  


Each applicant for these USA Cancer Research Funds will have different backgrounds and experiences in preparing research applications. The NIH Guidelines for developing a research proposal are very helpful in writing the application and must be carefully considered and reviewed throughout the application writing process.

The reviewers will be selected from USA colleagues or outside advisors who have demonstrated the qualifications to review, evaluate, and prioritize the project proposal and candidates for recommendation. Each reviewer will possess extensive knowledge of the grant writing process. They want to support quality research and will begin each review hoping to read a good proposal that they can recommend to the Executive Administrator, Advisory Council and the MCI Director for approval and distribution of funds.

It has been noted that there are common characteristics that result in the low scores given to most of the unsuccessful applications for intramural support. This is also often true of applications submitted to NIH. To aid you in making the best application, we respectfully request that every applicant strive to answer the following critical questions , before submission. It is wise to get as many critical readers as possible and to address their suggestions before submitting the application.

Finally, writing this or any other application requires a significant amount of time, thought, self-critique, clear thinking, and familiarity with the scientific literature. There are no shortcuts to thoughtful preparation and redrafting of proposals to get them in the best shape possible before submission. You must be able to have the preparation and writing time to have any hope of success. A poorly thought out or written proposal can be identified by a competent reviewer in the first several pages because the following points for not been addressed.

Your proposal should be written with the following issues in mind:

1. What is your hypothesis or the experimental question to be addressed by the research effort? That is, demonstrate that your proposed work will not simply be data collection!

2. How will your proposed research answer this question? This should include a clear explanation of the LOGIC behind your experimental approach, then the METHODS by which the data will be collected, and how an answer to the central question or hypothesis will be SYNTHESIZED from the data.

3. How does your research plan relate to the body of extant literature so the reviewer can understand how your research will add to the accumulated knowledge about the subject? References to similar or parallel methods/approaches in the literature will increase your credibility with the reviewers.

4. What is your perception of the problem(s) identified in the published literature pertaining to your experimental question and how will you avoid having the same or similar problems in your proposed work?

5. Can you provide simple and inexpensive, preliminary data that is crucial to the research?


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Date last changed: May 5, 2014 10:00 AM
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