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Proposal writing


Proposal writing Proposal deadline 5 7 How to start? How to start? How to start: how to get ideas Goal/Specific problems How to solve problems Preliminary ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Proposal writing

Proposal writing
Key Points of Your Proposal
What is your question Why is your study
important How are you going to do it
Whos the boss
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General guideline
  • You can write in either English or Chinese for
    this proposal. However, both Chinese and English
    titles and abstracts are required.
  • 2. For terms not universally known, spell out the
    term the first time it is used followed by the
    appropriate abbreviation in parentheses the
    abbreviation may be used thereafter.
  • 3. Type the proposal in single spaced, 12 point,
    Times New Roman.
  • 4. You must include at least one figure following
    the rules instructed in the class

5. The Research Plan of your project should
consist of in the order of all the following
components Chinese and English title and
abstracts Hypothesis and Specific aims
Background and significance Preliminary data
Research design and methods Anticipated results
References. The maximum number of pages is
10 pages including reference.
Title and Abstracts (1 page maximum)
name lab ???? ?? English
title Abstract
Put both Chinese and English titles and abstracts
in the first page of your proposal. Describe
concisely the research design and methods for
achieving these goals (250 words maximum).
  • Title must reflect the central theme selling
  • Attractive and easy to understand
  • Concise and Informative avoid non-informative
    words like A study of---
  • Avoid acronyms
  • English and Chinese titles should be consistent
    but not word-to-word translation

  • First impression to the reviewers
  • Concisely describe every part of your paper
  • Write it last, following the logic of the

Early onset breast cancer has been the unique and
major health problem in Taiwan with annual
Outstanding problems
The etiology and mechanisms of breast cancer in
young women is unknown. It has been suggested
that carcinogenesis in utero may account for the
early-onset of this cancer-------------
To test this hypothesis, we have used fed
pregnant mice with fatty diet and found increase
in incidence of mammary tumors in the new born
Background and preliminary data
In this proposal, we will examine the alteration
of mammary gland differentiation pathway in the
mammary tumors derived from the new born mice
using microarray, SAGE (serial analysis of gene
expression) as well real-time PCR techniques
Experimental approaches
This study of alterations in mammary gland
differentiation in the mammary tumor of new born
mice will allow us to identify the genetic and
molecular mechanisms involved in the early-onset
breast cancer.
Summary Answers
This information could be useful for
diagnosis/treatment of early-onset breast cancer
in Taiwan---------------------------
Hypothesis and Specific Aims
List the rationales and objectives of your
proposal, and hypotheses to be tested.
(Optional use a overview figure to explain your
hypothesis and aims) Describe concisely and
realistically what the specific research is
intended to answer the hypothesis.
Hypothesis and Specific Aims Objective,
rationale, and hypothesis Specific aim
1 Specific aim 2 Specific aim 3
Hypothesis and Specific Aims
  • Begin with a statement of long term overall goal
    overview, significance, central hypothesis
  • List the specific aims one by one concisely
  • Not too many aims 2-4 best
  • Be specific, no general and ambiguous statements
  • Be realistic, no unachievable aims best if
    supported by preliminary results
  • Aims should be logically linked and arranged
    accordingly testing your hypothesis
  • Link aims to Experimental Design

  • State your hypothesis clearly in the abstract and
    specific aims.
  • Hypothesis should be based on experimental data
    Hypothesis non fingo!
  • Use relevant literatures and preliminary data to
    help build the case to support the hypothesis ---
    no reinventing the wheel
  • Seeing is believing Use schematic figures or
    diagrams to help reviewers understand your

Examples for overview figure for hypothesis
Pictures say more than a thousand words!
  • A good figure can improve proposal clarity. 
  • Drawing process clarifies your thinking.  If you
    dont understand the process, you cant draw it.
  • Make cartoons of
  • A scientific equipment that you are using and an
    explanation of how it works to solve your problem
  • a novel physical, chemical or mathematical
  • a flow chart showing the steps in a process and
    the possible steps, feedback loops, causes and

Specific aims
Subaim 1a
Subaim 1b
Specific aim 1
Specific aim 2
Subaim 1n
Specific aim n
When you divide a section into subsections, all
the pieces should be of the same pie
Specific Aims
  • Specific Aim 1. Identification of downstream
    genes involved in ----.
  • This purpose of this aim will test the hypothesis
    that-------. This study will be able to allow us
    to identify -----
  • Subaim 1a Yeast two-hybrid technique will be
    used to ----- Subaim 1b Deletion analysis will
    be used to -----

Rationale and hypothesis
Specific Aim 1. To determine the role of
nucleosomes in the regulation of Igk locus
rearrangement. Our preliminary results showed
that the V(D)J recombinase could not recognize
RSS targets if they were arranged into a
nucleosome structure. We propose experiments to
extend these observations by 1) determining what
fraction of the Jk gene segments are in the
nucleosomal structure in cells undergoing
rearrangement as compared with non-lymphoid
cells, 2) determining if nucleosomes are phased
across the Jk locus, 3) determining whether
nucleosome remodeling complex can alter the
accessibility of the Jk cluster in native or
reconstituted chromatin. This analysis will give
us insight of the mechanism of Igk gene
Background and Significance Briefly sketch the
background of the present proposal, critically
evaluate existing knowledge, and specifically
identify the gaps which the project is intended
to fill. State concisely the importance of the
research, such as health relevance, scientific
contribution, uniqueness and originality.
  • Information needed for people to understand your
  • Important and interesting problems still
  • Hypothesis ( if need detailed explanation)

How to organize background information
Funnel approach
Checklist approach
  • State concisely and clearly the importance of
    your study.
  • Emphasize the novelty or innovation.
  • So what?
  • Im the best person to do it
  • Convey the significance of your research to
  • 1) scientific contribution
  • 2) improving public health
  • 3) make big money

Preliminary Results
  • Show only the relevant experiments supporting
    your hypothesis
  • The results should not be ambiguous
  • Figure and table legends should be clearly
    written figure numbers should correspond to the
    text be sure to label the figures
  • Do not show published results in this section

Research Design and Methods
List as specific aims Aim1 ? experiment1 Aim2 ?
experiment2 Use if you separate aims by
different approaches.
List as general methods Experiment1 Experiment2
Use when you apply similar approach to multiple
Research Design(1)
  • Do NOT write as protocol or operation manual
  • Design the experiments to solve the problems
    posed in the specific aims in logical order
  • Be realistic, do not plan too many experiments or
    out of your expertise manageable focus!
  • Be logical step-by-step leading to your goal
  • Provide information on statistical analysis
    whenever applicable

Research Design(2)
  • Updated technologies.
  • Competence in using techniques proposed
  • Evaluate the design critically alternative
    approaches, pros and cons
  • Control! Control! Control!
  • A schematic diagram will help the reviewers to
    understand complicate experimental design

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Anticipated Results
  • Why good results will be expected
  • Reasonable time table for achieving results
  • Alternative Interpretations critically evaluated
  • How the results will support your hypothesis
  • Potential difficulties and limitations of the
    experiment, and alternative approaches to achieve
    the aims.
  • How your results would be important for a group

  • Reference (2 page maximum)
  • Please choose Author-date style in your
  • In text (Almeida et al. 2006)
  • Almeida, C. G., R. H. Takahashi and G. K. Gouras
    (2006). "b-amyloid accumulation impairs
    multivesicular body sorting by inhibiting the
    ubiquitin-proteasome system." J. Neurosci.
    26(16) 42774288.
  • Should correspond to the text
  • Updated dont miss the most relevant ones
  • Consistent format

Key Points of Your Proposal
What is your question ?Hypothesis Why is your
study important ? Significance How are you
going to do it ? Research design
Benefits of Writing Proposal
  • Allow you to review and critically evaluate your
    current research program
  • Convince yourself and others that your research
    is worth doing
  • Keep you focused on your research program
  • Develop novel ideas during writing proposal

Writing Stages

RO1 grant writing timeline
Proposal deadline 5 ? 7 ?
How to start how to get ideas
How to start?
Goal/Specific problems
Literature search
Preliminary data
How to start?
How to solve problems
Get ideas
Get more ideas
Writing a Proposal
Initial Planning start early!
  • Ideas, Ideas, Ideas! Make a folder and enter
    thoughts anytime. Also put in papers or any
    related info.
  • Based on facts no speculations
  • Checking in literatures for similar ideas
  • Evolution of ideas ? Hypothesis
  • Obtain preliminary results to support your

Order of Writing a Proposal
  • Title(8)
  • Abstract(7)
  • Background and Rationale(2)
  • Overall Goal and Specific Aims(1)
  • Significance(3)
  • Preliminary Results (relevant ones)(4)
  • Experimental Design(5)
  • Expected Results(6)
  • Budget(9)
  • Check list

When you write
  • Keep the big picture in mind!!!

Remember whos the boss !!!
Keep in mind when you write
Overall Goal and Hypothesis do I know what Im
doing? why your proposal is important/interesting
that deserves to be supported Extensive
literature search. Convince yourself the
significance and contribution of your proposal
Specific Aims and experiment design How to
solve problems I posed . Do my experiments meet
the accept standard? How will I record the work
as it proceeds?
After first draft.
  • Have others read and critique Can they understand
    the rationale described, its significance, and
    the procedure proposed? Do they share your view
    of the study, if not, why? Revise proposal
  • Double check before turning in
    Spelling Format Citation requirement

Key Points of Your Proposal
What is your question Why is your study
important How are you going to do it
Reasons Why Proposal is Rejected
  • Importance and rationale not clearly stated
  • The problem is outmoded or trivial
  • No specific aims! Aims too diffuse or general
  • Similar experiments have already been done
  • No evidence for competence to carry out the
  • Not realistic overly ambitious plan

Reasons Why Proposal is Rejected
  • No experimental design! Or no correlation with
    the specific aims poor design
  • Too many factors or variables that will give
    ambiguous interpretations
  • No hypothesis fishing expedition technique
    looking for problem
  • No Controls
  • Proposed study will not give useful information
    or new contributions
  • Proposal depends on a key experiment with
    uncertain outcome

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