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Instructions for Preparing an Application

  • Research Proposal
  • Career Development Plan
  • Support Letters
  • Application Example
  • Begin each text section of the Research Plan with a section header (e.g., Introduction, Specific Aims, Research Strategy, etc).

    Research Proposal (3 page limit)

    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.


  • Explain the importance of the problem or critical barrier to progress in the field that the proposed project addresses.
  • 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.
  • Innovation

  • Explain how the application challenges and seeks to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms.
  • Describe any novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation or interventions to be developed or used, and any advantage over existing methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions.
  • Explain any refinements, improvements, or new applications of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions.
  • Approach

  • Describe the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses to be used to accomplish the specific aims of the project. Unless addressed separately the Resource Sharing Plan, attachment include how the data will be collected, analyzed, and interpreted as well as any resource sharing plans as appropriate.
  • 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. A full discussion on the use of select agents should appear in the Select Agent Research attachment, below.
  • If research on Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESCs) is proposed but an approved cell line from the NIH hESC Registry cannot be identified, provide a strong justification for why an appropriate cell line cannot be chosen from the Registry at this time.
  • Bibliography

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    Career Development Plan (1 page limit)

    A systematic plan that:
    (a) shows a logical progression from the candidate’s prior research and training experiences to the training and research experiences proposed for the mentored phase of the award and subsequently to independent investigator status
    (b) justifies the need for further mentored career development to become an independent research investigator (1 page limit).

  • Sample Career Development Plan
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    Support letters

    Roadmap Scholars
    Letters from the Applicant’s Dean, Department Chair, and Section Chief pledging support for the career development and protection of 75% time for the 2 years of this award and for up to an additional 3 years if the Scholar wins support for further training.

  • Sample Letter of Support Mentor
  • Sample Letter of Support Chair
  • Sample Letter of Support Chief
  • Sample Letter of Support Dean
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