Research Proposal

Research Proposal

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We will have a research proposal on one of the following two topics:

1.       The topic of your final presentation. For this you will need to consider the author’s work in the context of the greater societal or human problem. Did their methodology lead to a new treatment of disease, new health policy, etc? If not, what are the limiting factors that remain and how can you contribute to this area of research? Formulate a problem based on your knowledge of the topic and prepare a research proposal using the guidelines below.

2.       Bacteria form infections in part by the colonization of tissues, organs, etc., as a result of normal every day activity. They also arise within hospital settings, where they come in contact with patients through catheters, implanted devices or transplants after surgery, etc. Select a mode of infection and a pathogen or pathogens of interest. Develop an understanding for how these bacteria mediate virulence and identify holes in the current state of the art for treating infections. The area might focus on (i) understanding mechanisms for resistance, (ii) new modes of antibiotic/antimicrobial drug discovery, (iii) new modes of antibiotic or antimicrobial delivery, (iv) new device materials, or (v) new sensing modalities for identifying infectious agents. Select one of these areas and prepare a proposal.

General Guidelines:

The objective of the written proposal is to communicate how a specific research problem may be investigated.  The proposal format will be similar to an NIH R21 proposal ( The proposal is not to exceed 6 pages using an 11-point Arial font, 1-inch margins, and 1.0 line spacing. The 6-page limitation covers the proposal body text, as well as any figures, tables, and schemes. The title page, abstract, specific aims, and cited references are the only sections that do not count toward the 6-page limitation. The specific aims, however, are limited to 1 page. The following details delineate the section requirements within the written proposal as well as the purpose of each section.

Title Page: The first page should include your name, title of your proposal, and signed honor pledge (this is not part of the 6 pages).

Abstract: A brief description of the problem of interest, its significance, and the proposed investigation.

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 may have 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.  The topics should follow those stated above. The specific aims section is limited to 1 page.

Research Strategy:  Organize the research strategy in the specified order and using the instructions provided below. Start each section with the appropriate section heading—Significance, Innovation, Approach.


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

·         Explain how the proposed project improves 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 may change if the proposed aims are achieved.


·         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 intervention(s) to be developed or used, and any advantage over existing methodologies, instrumentation or intervention(s).

·         Explain any refinements, improvements, or new applications of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation or interventions.


·         This is the core of the proposal. This section should occupy at least 70% of the allotted page limit.

·         Describe the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses to be used to accomplish the specific aims of the project. Include how the data will be collected, analyzed, and interpreted.

·         Discuss potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success anticipated to achieve the aims.

·         Describe strategies 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.

Cited References: Cite sources for background information and experimental plan.


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  • 12 pt Arial/Times New Roman
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  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

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