On-Demand Webinar

Specific Aims: The Logical Framework That Holds Your Grant Proposal Together


On-Demand Webinar

Specific Aims: The Logical Framework That Holds Your Grant Proposal Together


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  • “As a reviewer, I have usually found that the Specific Aims page of a well-written application provides enough information for me to decide whether or not to argue strongly for its funding… Thus, in my opinion, the SA page effectively provides 75-80% of the salesmanship of the grant. If this is done well, a big part of your job is done.  – Dr. Christopher Francklyn 

    Creating the specific aims page of your NIH grant application is arguably the most important part of your proposal. Deciding how much experimental detail to include, how to condense the Aims into one page, and how to effectively use them to convince reviewers that your work has impact are the crucial questions you should be asking yourself as you begin outlining your proposal.

    Your Aims page is your opportunity to wow reviewers from the get-go. If you fail to capture their attention here, the rest of your proposal may not stand a chance. As you begin to craft your Aims, keep in mind these 3 common mistakes most reviewers find: A lack of innovative ideas; Aims not being justified clearly; and Aims which are not hypothesis driven.

    Join your expert presenter, Dr. Christopher Francklyn, an NIH investigator and reviewer to gain first-hand knowledge on:

    • Using the Specific Aims page as a “foundation” during the writing of the application.
    • The essential components of the Specific Aims page and how to write them.
    • How many aims should you include? Can there be too few or too many?
    • Explain the importance of the Specific Aims page relative to the other parts of the application.
    • The importance – or not – of the hypothesis during the writing of your Specific Aims page.
    • How to use your Specific Aims page to convince reviewers your work has impact.
  • 5 Key Take-Aways:

    • How writing the Specific Aims constitutes the key piece of writing for the grant to that sets the stage for everything that follows.
    • How to make your Specific Aims page work as the key element to convince your reviewers to argue strongly for your applications.
    • How to balance the amount of emphasis on each section to gain maximum impact.
    • How to craft a page in which the Aims are mutually supporting, and not a collection of dissimilar research questions.
    • How to use hypothesis to convince the readers of your scientific vision, or how to avoid hypothesis and still gain reviewer approval.
  • Christopher Francklyn, PhDChristopher Francklyn, PhD, has been a funded NIH investigator for nearly 25 years, and reported discoveries related to protein synthesis and the genetic coding in leading journals such Nature, Science, Cell, Molecular Cell, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. His work on the molecular recognition of transfer RNA is routinely cited in most standard biochemistry textbooks. He has been a regular NIH reviewer for the last decade and a half, served as the founding Chair of the Molecular Genetics A Study Section, and served on the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. During the period of 2010-2011, he served as a regular columnist for the Principal Investigator’s Association Study Section Insider newsletter. He is proud of the many former graduate students, post-doctoral students, and junior colleagues that he has successfully mentored in the process of capturing their early career awards.

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