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Specific Aims or Selling your Science in One Page Pedro Fernandez-Funez Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience

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Presentation on theme: "Specific Aims or Selling your Science in One Page Pedro Fernandez-Funez Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience"— Presentation transcript:

1 Specific Aims or Selling your Science in One Page Pedro Fernandez-Funez Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience

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4 The Specific Aims are the template or master plan for your Research Plan If this section works well, everything else will fall naturally in place Russell and Morrison 2010

5 Capturing the votes Reviewers not assigned to your proposal need to catch up during presentation. Abstract, Aims, Significance and Innovation will provide that information Include everything that is important and exciting, but without detail The Aims provide a conceptual framework for the assigned reviewers. The flow of logic has to be so compelling that other reviewers can follow while someone else is talking

6 For a compelling flow of logic, all the components of this section need to be appropriately linked, which requires in-depth understanding of what each component is meant to convey Russell and Morrison 2010 Tip: outlining is your key to developing linkage and avoid unnecessary detail

7 Structure of the Specific Aims

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9 The Introduction Relevance of proposal to human health Current knowledge, set up the gap in knowledge Gap in knowledge / unmet need At this point, the reviewers should understand the medical relevance, be up to speed with current knowledge, and should understand that there is a gap in the knowledge base that constitutes an important problem

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11 What, Why, Who Long-term goal Objective of this application: the expected product of the research Central Hypothesis: – Link to objective, provides focus (direction) – Objectively testable – How it was generated (prelim data, work by others) Rationale: what will become possible that is not possible now

12 The foundation: The Hypothesis

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15 Specific Aims paragraph Convey specific about the research Grow from hypothesis, test its parts Brief, informative, attention-getting headlines Each aim should convey WHY that part is proposed, not WHAT will be done Your aims should answer the question: WHY am I proposing this part? Avoid descriptive words: compare, correlate, investigate, determine 3-4 aims for RO1, 2 for smaller grants, not interdependent

16 Spelling out your aims

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19 No funding to generate Tg animals Not hypothesis-driven. Open-ended discovery Not hypothesis-driven

20 Interdependent aims

21 Specific Aims template (beware of templates)

22 The Payoff paragraph Expected outcomes of the research Positive Impact Linear progression of logic GAP Objective Central Hypothesis Specific Aims Expected Outcomes

23 Consider a diagram of your aims

24 From the experts: Keep it simple – expect that your reviewers will be smart but not necessarily experts in your field. NIH reviewers are unlikely to review grants directly in their field of expertise

25 Revise, Revise, Revise As you write your ideas down, they will become clearer As your ideas become clearer revise your aims page Writing a grant is a wonderful opportunity to focus the efforts of your lab – What is most important – What has to get done quickly

26 Final thoughts Start early Grant writing is hard work Administrative stuff takes A LOT OF TIME – Get it done early!!!!!! Talk through your aims with your colleagues Refine and revise your aims as you write the body of the grant – it is okay if they change Writing a grant is fun – it is an opportunity to refocus and take your research to the next level !!!! Talk with your NIH Program Officer – they have great advice and are your advocate

27 Good Luck!!!!


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